100+ students compete in first West Seattle Elementary-hosted chess tournament

(Everyone helped get 50 chess boards ready for play)

Story and photos by Judy Pickens
Special to West Seattle Blog

Since the first West Seattle tournament for elementary students, in 2013, chess has been proving its benefit in area schools. Now West Seattle Elementary has hosted its first state-qualifying tournament.

(Chess Mates coach Jeremy Higgins briefed players and parents about how the tournament would proceed)

The all-day scholastic event today drew 104 participants from schools across the city, including multi-grade teams from Fairmount Park, Lafayette, Alki, Holy Rosary, Genesee Hill, Roxhill, Arbor Heights, and West Seattle elementaries. At the end of the day, Chess Ratings Northwest updated each student’s rating based on performance after five rounds of play. Those who earn high-enough ratings in multiple meets will qualify for the state elementary tournament in April in Pasco, the largest state meet in the country.

West Seattle Elementary introduced chess in 2012. According to teacher Ritchie Garcia, the game of strategy is proving especially helpful for the school’s many English-language learners.

“Chess provides a different way for students who are not yet proficient in English to demonstrate their abilities, especially critical thinking,” he said. “They have the immediate reward of making a smart move and even winning.”

Chess is on the schedule every week in every classroom at the school, plus students can join the after-school chess club.

(Chess play starts early at West Seattle Elementary when younger siblings of players get interested)

Given that many West Seattle Elementary families are recent immigrants, only about a dozen students usually have funding to attend a tournament, Garcia explained. “By hosting, our club members were able to compete for free in a rigorous event and we could offer other students a discount on registration.”

2 Replies to "100+ students compete in first West Seattle Elementary-hosted chess tournament"

  • MJ December 9, 2017 (4:45 pm)

    Chess is a good game to train the mind.

  • Jeremy Higgins December 10, 2017 (2:20 pm)

    Thanks so much, West Seattle Elementary staff and volunteers! I’ve participated in organizing four separate state championship qualifiers in West Seattle schools, and each one has been a fabulous experience.

    Thanks to the parents, the local communities that support these schools, and thanks to the kids for being adventurers. 

    Every Tuesday from 4:30- 5:30 at the Highpoint Library, I I host “Drop in Chess for Youth.” Brand new beginners are always welcome! Or come and match up with a few of the state championship qualifiers! If your kid is interested in playing in scholastic events, I can help you figure out how to do that. 



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