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Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
From left to right, Angelo Fatta (Canajohaire) plays Declan Burtt (Amsterdam); Christopher Burgess plays Noah Horning (Fort Plain), Stasya Mead (Amsterdam) plays Logan Brant (Johnstown); Thomas Shang (Amsterdam) plays Cameron Musmacher (Canajoharie).

Joshua Thomas
Volunteer Ted Arndt views the game being played between Thomas Shang (Amsterdam) and Cameron Musmacher (Canajoharie).

Joshua Thomas
The first round of the Mohawk Valley Third Annual Regional Schools Chess Tourney gets underway. At the front table is David Mead, right, (Amsterdam) playing Philip Hans (Amsterdam) and Emily Brittan (Amsterdam) playing Isaac Tamsett, right, (Canajoharie).


Four-county Chess tourney sees growth in third year

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 - Updated: 7:53 PM


C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- On Saturday, the Mohawk Valley Third Annual Regional Schools Chess Tourney took place at the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie. Last year's attendance was easily doubled as the competition was open to 4th through 12th grade students from Hamilton, Fulton, Montgomery and Herkimer counties.

The first two years, participants had to be members of a club or group, said  Amsterdam Chess Group Advisor Christine Eggleston, who stated of herself and Canajoharie/Fort Plain Chess Group Advisor Libby Arndt and volunteer and former Canajoharie/Fort Plain advisor Ted Arndt, "we realized a lot of schools don't have clubs and groups, and we were excluding home schoolers and kids who don't have that advantage."

The Canajoharie/Fort Plain group prepared for the tournament each Thursday during the winter and fall, while the Amsterdam group has been playing every other Thursday since October "just to prepare for this tournament," said Eggleston.

Ted Arndt, who was previously advisor to the Fort Plain/Canajoharie group, which altogether contains 30-35 students, spoke about some of the most important things kids learn leading up to the competition. "One of the drills I show everyone is the Knight's Tour," he said, which is a "way to get very familiar with how to manage a knight." Kids also learn about the four squares at the center of the board -- the crossroads, of which Arndt stated, "if you're dominant in the crossroads, you're dominant in the game."

Arndt said that other important lessons include the fact that the bishop can be equated with an archer, and is essentially a long distance tool. And the "finishers", said Arndt, are usually the rooks and queen.

Chess, explained Arndt, is not just a self contained game of skill, but one that has the power to influence various facets of life and behavior. "It's about patience he commented," adding, "It's very empowering. People equate Chess with brain power, and so when kids learn the game of Chess, I think it gives them more confidence."

He also pointed out that there's a correlation between Chess and math, and between Chess and art.

After several rounds, Christopher Burgess, a fifth grader from Fort Plain, won the competition. Placing second was Declan Burtt, 7th grade, of Amsterdam. In third place was David Mead, 10th grade, of Amsterdam. In fourth place was Matthew Travis, of Fort Plain.

Eggleston noted appreciation of the fact that the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library offered the use of their facility for free. While she said that the Fort Plain Free Library provided a wonderful location for the event in its first two years, the expansiveness of the new space will hopefully allow the competition to grow into the future.


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