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The City Journals

Chess Tournament Draws Kids from All Over Utah to Columbus Center

Oct 07, 2016 03:08PM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw  | [email protected]

The chill of autumn only means one thing for chess aficionados. It’s almost time for the 9th annual chess tournament at the Columbus Center. 

Think your son or daughter might have what it takes to become the next chess grandmaster? Well, you can bring him or her on down to the center Saturday, November 5 to the Columbus Center and find out. 

Drawing hundreds of children ages 5-18 to the historic South Salt Lake facility, the event has taken on a life of its own over the years. 

“Starting with about 80 kids, the tournament now draws over 150 kids each year and it gets bigger every year,” said Myrna Clark, the event’s organizer. 

Even South Salt Lake residents come to play, added Clark, the city’s Recreation Deputy Director. 

The tournament draws players from all walks of life and all areas of the state, Clark said. 

In years past, the event has even welcomed players like Kayden Troff, Utah’s youngest grandmaster ever. He stopped by two years ago, Clark added, to talk to the kids and play some chess. 

For those unfamiliar with Troff, the West Jordan native (now 18) won the world championship for ages 14 and younger in 2012. Two years later, Troff earned his grandmaster title at the tender age of 16. And one month later, he became the U.S. Junior Chess Champion. 

Is Troff the next Garry Kasparov? Only time will tell. In the meantime, you never know where the next Troff might pop up. He or she might even come from South Salt Lake. 

“The [chess] event is always one of the highlights on our busy holiday calendar,” Clark added. “It’s something we always look forward to hosting.” 

The tournament will feature several different age groups: kindergarten through second grade, third through fourth grade, fifth through sixth, seventh through ninth and 10th through 12th grades. 

This is a non-rated, five-round event, according to Clark. Players will be paired by their scholastic ratings and the use of a clock to keep time is optional, she added—provided that both players participating in that 1v1 battle agree to it. 

Trophies will be handed out to the top five places in each grade and to the top teams at the tournament. Also, each player will receive a participation medal regardless of their finish. In addition, home schooled students must play for the school they would attend. 

All players participating in the event must pre-register by November 2 by 5 p.m., Clark said. Early registration can be paid online at the South Salt Lake Web site at Admission is only $10 when you pre-register or $15 at the door. Checks may be made payable to South Salt Lake Recreation. Scholarships are available to South Salt Lake residents with proof of residence. 

For more information, please contact Myrna at 801-483-6076 or email her at [email protected]