Monday, March 28, 2011

March Madness in Montlake Terrace?

Given that we are in the season that basketball fans refer to as "March Madness", I want to describe a miraculous chess tournament finish in terms that can be appreciated by any basketball fan.  Imagine a basketball team down by 10 to a superior opponent with less than a minute to go in the game.  When all seemed lost, the team suddenly plays at a level that none could have imagined to tie the game and send it into overtime.  There, in overtime, our team crushes the opponent to take the title. 

This very scenario played out on Saturday, March 19 at the WA State Elementary Team Championships held in Montlake Terrace.  In fourth place, with one match left against the first place team with 2 undefeated kids at 4 wins and 2 at 3 wins, our kids showed no fear.  One by one, our kids came out victorious and took 3.5 points out of a possible 4 from the first place team.  Our #1 and #2 boards handed their #1 & #2 their only loss of the day on that last match.  We split the #3 match and won the #4.  This propelled us into a  "speed chess" tiebreaker for 3rd place. 

Our kids, who have never played "speed chess" before were poised and fearless.  Each started slow and were behind in the openning few minutes.  Suddenly, our #2 (Kobe) yelled "checkmate", shortly followed by another "checkmate" from our #1 (Rohan).  Having lost our #4 (Kenney) match, we were down to our Ryan, our #3 board.  When a checkmate on Ryan was inevitable, Ryan brings in his knight and executes a perfect fork on 2 rooks.  Play of the day for Ryan.  Still in deep trouble, Ryan is chased relentlessly but somehow evades capture to run out the clock for win #3.  It was pure excitement for the parents and kids that had to privilege of watching this speed chess tiebreaker. 

We are very proud of these kids and what they have been able to accomplish in the year three of Frank Love Chess Club.  We owe much of our success to their dedication to train weekly with coaches Collin and Elliott from Chess4Life.  Just look at these happy faces...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Tournament Success

Rohan Skariah(4th Grade) and Roshan Skariah (First Grade) won the First places for the a) Grade 4 - Grade 6 (U1000) & b) Kindergarten - Grade 1 (U1000) sections respectively in the March Month's Chess State qualifier tournament hosted by Chess4life held in Bellevue on 3/12/2011 (Saturday).
Rohan received 4.5 points out of 5 (undefeated - winning 4 games and one in a tie) and won first place under Grade 4 - Grade 6 (U1000).  Roshan received the first place under Kindergarten - Grade 1  (U1000) sections by winning all 5 games.   
Together they won 9.5 points (Winning 9 rounds and one round in tie out of the total 10 rounds), and won the second place in the School team trophy (adding up all points for the players in each school).  They were the only two kids represented Frank Love Elementary school this time.

Congratulations to Rohan and Roshan!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chess4Life Report from Coach Elliott

Dear Chess Parents,

Congratulations to Rohan Skariah from the Spring Fling -  bringing into class his impressive trophy! Nice work!! 
This week we worked as a group on several important concepts associated with finding Active Moves.  First, Active Moves are defined as moves that put the opponent in Check, Capture a Piece, or Threaten to do one of the above. These moves are very important to look for because most games are won (or lost) due to finding (or missing) an Active Move!

Next, we played "Three Checks You're Out!!" - to reinforce looking at all checks, this variation is simply the following: Whoever accomplishes 3 checks in a game first, wins! Students had great fun doing this!

We also worked on finding captures (and targeting specific pieces) by playing "Extinction Chess" - we chose Knights as the pieces to become 'extinct' - and in each game, whoever managed to capture the opponent's knights first, won!

Finally, I'm attaching a position that we used to illustrate how Active Moves can easily win games! This position comes from the Spring Fling tournament, on board 1, round 3 - and white could have won if only he found the best active move! Can you see it? (or remember the variation that wins?)

Note - for answers, please ask one of the students from my class. :) Or if enough people are wondering, we can post the answers next week. 

Also - kudos to Frank Love students - already 5 students have qualified for the elementary state championships!! Way to go team! Remember the last chance to qualify is April 16th!!

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Best wishes - and as always, let me know if you have questions.