| Apr 07, 2005

Feature article,April 7, 2005

Feature article April 7, 2005

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North Addington hosts the first ever North of Seven Chess Tournament

Elementary students from as far away as Sharbot Lake and Napanee bussed up to North Addington Education Centre in Cloyne last week for the North of Seven Chess Tournament. Over 200 students, from Grades 1-8 participated in the tournament, which was a qualifying event for the Eastern Ontario Regional Tournament. which was slated to take place five days later at HMCS Cataraqui in Kingston.

Barb McLaren, who is teaching core French at NAEC this year, organized the tournament. Barb lives in Sydenham, and has been involved in many childrens chess tournaments as a parent. Her children attend school at Harrowsmith PS, and I thought since Im at NAEC this year Id get one going here.

So she called Chris Hargreaves, a History and Geography teacher at QECVI in Kingston, to help out. Chris has organized school chess tournaments for the past eighteen years, and he was more than happy to work on one at NAEC.


This tournament fills in the northern part of the board for us this year, Hargreaves said, joining with tournaments in Sydenham and at three locations in Kingston to give students from throughout the board a chance to compete.

Hargreaves says chess is a good way for students to learn skills. It teaches Geometric skills and encourages analytical thinking, and it shows the immediate consequences of actions, this teaches players they must think before they act.

Last year, about 320 players participated in the Eastern Regional tournament, and with this new tournament at NAEC we might see about 360 in the regional event this year.

Over the years, Hargreaves has noticed that chess has become more popular in the grade 4-6 age group, and interest has dropped off as students reach the high School grades.

There are lots of other competing interests among that age group these days, Hargreaves said.

Indeed, the NAEC tournament had originally been set up as a 1-12 tournament but a lack of participants from the home school scuttled that idea.

Nonetheless, as the tournament started, enthusiastic players scowled and grinned as they battled each other for supremacy. Each grade level had an older student monitoring the results from a score table. After each game, the scorer was informed about the results, and that person had the task of setting up further matches.

In some of the grade levels where there were 30 or more players, it was imperative to make sure that the top players eventually met each other to determine the overall winner. Between 10 and 1:30, the players played 5 to 8 games each, taking a quick break for lunch, in an event that sometimes looked chaotic but was inexorably moving towards a fair determination of the winners.

In the end there were medals for the 1st and 2nd place players, and an invitation to the regional tournament for the other strong finishers.

A couple of older gentlemen, members of the Kingston Chess club were on hand to play some of the winners from grades 6, 7 and 8.

The Grade 8 champion, from Prince Charles Napanee, played one of the Chess Club members to a win and a draw.

I had to work hard for that draw, the Chess Club member said afterwards.

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