Submitted By Jason Gordon
The 4th-Annual Comal ISD Chess Tournament was a resounding success, with approximately 275 students from across the district making moves and countermoves playing one of the world’s most popular games.
Students in grades K-12 participated in the event at Smithson Valley High on February 25. It was a part of the district’s chess initiative that began four years ago. The number of participants shattered the previous record set last year.
Many of the district’s campuses have opportunities for students both inside the classroom and during their free time to learn and practice the game of chess.
“The tournament was amazing,” said Josh Recio, Coordinator for Academic Programs. “It was competitive, students applied critical thinking skills, strategy and perseverance, and they got to meet and play against kids they’d never met before from across the district. It was great to see them talking in line to their new friends after a match.”
Teacher Sandy Boldway also said the tournament was a big hit.
“Kids love chess,” said Smithson Valley Middle G/T teacher Sandy Boldway. “Because of the fact we received a district-wide third-grade chess initiative in 2013, we have a huge chess club at the middle school level now. The same applies to the seventh-grade initiative that started at the same time; that’s why we have so many high school players here now.”
Boldway said it’s not just the older students who have caught the chess bug in Comal ISD.
“Even the kinder and 1st-grade kids who participated in the tournament were soaking everything up and that was fascinating to see,” she said. “At every grade level our students are learning thanks to this amazing game.”
Student Zach Ohlenforst was competing in his second chess tournament.
“Chess is a game where I’m always learning new strategies and seeing how they work on my opponents,” Ohlenforst said. “After this experience, I’d love to enter more tournaments and will definitely continue to play chess.”
Everyone who participated played five matches. The top five finishers in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12 received trophies.
The winners were: (Grades K-2, 1st-5th place) Henry Ferris, Tessa Schroeder, Maverick Fisher, Jack Schroeder, Connor Hutchison. (Grades 3-5) Dakota Fisher, Xavier Williams, Luke Schroeder, Jaxon Alder and Ryan Lopez. (Grades 6-8) Mason Mock, Jordan Nielsen, Beck Hudson, Joshua Butler and Ian Morris. (Grades 9-12) Cage Clark, Kevin Mullins, Chance Tucker, Taylor Isley and Michael Falato.