Chess Club competes in winter tournament

On Jan. 28, 2019, the Chess Club’s Winter Tournament concluded.  There were 15 Chess Club members who participated in this event.

The tournament was active from December 2018 to January 2019.  All students in the Chess Club participated in ranked matches for three weeks during this time.

The adviser of the Chess Club, Wesley Rogers, is responsible for everything that goes on in the club.  Rogers had to plan a procedure for the tournament.

“The six students with the top records moved on in the tournament.  The first and second seeds got first round byes for a single-elimination finals tournament,” Rogers said.

Rogers also needed to schedule the days for when the tournament would take place.

“The tournament took place during regularly scheduled Chess Club meetings every Monday from 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in room 301,” Rogers said.

Four students placed in the Chess Club Winter Tournament.

“Dillan Dantos, a ninth grader, placed first in the tournament.  The second place spot was awarded to Milo Wilkins, a ninth grader.  There was a tie for third place between Simon Chen, a ninth grader, and Randy Fernandez, an eighth grader,” Rogers said.

Some students wonder how to join the club.

“Chess Club is open to all students at the Altoona Area Junior High School regardless of previous experience playing chess,” Rogers said.

Two out of the four students who placed in the tournament were Simon Chen and Dillan Dantos.

Chen tied with Fernandez for third place, and he really enjoyed the tournament.

“I thought the whole competition was stunning.  The close moves that needed to be made in some games were really intensifying and exciting,” Chen said.

Chen is glad to give out tips to inexperienced chess players.

“The only thing one has to do is to play more.  By playing more, one will become more experienced and aware of the mechanics and strategies of the game,” Chen said.

Dantos placed first in the tournament, and the tournament was very difficult for him.

“Competing in the tournament was very nerve wracking.  I had to concentrate very hard on facing everyone to even have a chance at winning.  Even if you’re winning, your chances of winning could plummet down to the ground by performing one false move,” Dantos said.

The stress and anxiety of Dantos skyrocketed as the tournament advanced.

“In the brackets I was low and had to face two people before getting to the finals.  The finals were very difficult and took over 35 minutes to play,” Dantos said.

Dantos is skilled in chess and has many strategies to perform better.

“For people that want to get into chess, I would recommend playing chess on the internet with the free time you receive in class.  On some websites it shows you the moves of all the pieces, and it has different skill levels to play on based on your skill.”

Joining Chess Club is a huge recommendation for Dantos if one desires to perform better at chess.

“In Chess Club we mostly come in, sit down and relax with our friends while playing chess.  Chess can be intimidating to play at first, but anyone can be great at it! No one needs to be super smart to play chess,” Dantos said.

The Chess Club encourages students who have an interest in playing chess to sign up.  Stopping down at room 301 and signing up for the club is a great suggestion from the Chess Club for junior high students next school year.