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The City Journals

SSL chess tournament returns with a vengeance, draws almost 100 participants

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Brian Shaw

A student participant mulls his move at the tournament. (Photo/Chris Brooks)

The annual South Salt Lake chess tournament returned to the Columbus Center Nov. 4 after a one-year hiatus, according to Myrna Clark, deputy recreation director and the person in charge of the event. 

“Last year, we canceled the tournament due to conflict of schedule with another tournament in the valley,” said Clark, who added that she was “skeptical about this year” and so she kept an eye out on the early registration online.

The Friday before the tournament, however, Clark said she saw that only 25 players had registered online. 

After Clark made a few phone calls to area schools though, the numbers increased exponentially. 

“However, by the night before we were at 75 [participants], and by closing of registration the day of we paired 97 students for the tournament.” 

With 97 students ready to go at the Columbus Center, the chess tournament was just as good as it was before—if not better. 

From South Jordan to Brigham City, participants came out in droves. Most age groups had more than five kids participating in each—some even more. 

Rowland Hall captured the K-6 grade team title overall, while Pleasant Grove narrowly nipped Box Elder out of Brigham City for the grades 7-12 team crown. 

Other notables, according to Clark, were Olivia Jian, a third grader who was “hoping to up her game at the tournament.” 

Clark added that Jian had requested to enter the upper grades for better competition. Jian finished the tournament with four wins before taking a zero on the last round due to a bye request. 

Clark said the tournament committee awarded Jian with the 11th-grade first place trophy “for her commitment and competitiveness in chess.” 

Also notable, according to Clark, was Ryan Suarez, who, unlike Jian, was a newcomer to the tournament. 

“During the rounds [of action] Ryan was learning all about the game, how the tournament goes and rules. He gave up a win for a draw in one of the rounds to help an opponent earn points at the tournaments,” added Clark. 

Suarez was awarded the tournament’s Good Sportsmanship trophy for what Clark said was a “willingness to see the difference in being competitive and having some compassion.” 

Clark also said she was pleased to welcome several volunteers to this year’s event. 

“Kaylie, a student from Westminster College, volunteered at the chess tournament which was very helpful for us to run the tournament,” she said.