GOSHEN — Walking into Chandler Elementary School's cafeteria all that could be seen were elementary school students sitting down, concentrating on what move to make next as part of the annual Goshen Elementary Chess Championships that was held at Chandler Elementary School on Tuesday.
“This is a team tournament representing (most) of the elementary schools in the Goshen system,” said Joe Riegsecker, organizer. “At stake are bragging rights and two traveling trophies, one for best team and one for best team of third/under students.”
Winning the 5th grade/under division was Chandler, while the 3rd grade/under division was a tie between Chandler and Prairie View Elementary School. A “traveling trophy” in the older division was first awarded in 1993; a comparable trophy for the younger division was first awarded in 2005.
They had six teams in the tournament in the “open” section. Those teams included: Chandler, Parkside, West Goshen, Model, and Waterford. There are also four teams in third/under, which included, Chandler, Parkside, Waterford, and Prairie View, according to Riegsecker.
“There will be about 40 children involved (four per team, a few alternates),” Riegsecker said.
According to Riegsecker, there are a variety of students that point to the academic benefits of chess. “I figure anything that encourages kids to sit quietly and think has to be good.”
Players on the Chandler 5th/under team were Quinn Shreiner Landes, Kyan Miller, Brady Park, Will Richardson and Ian Saner. Quinn and Kyan won all three of their games. The team’s individual score was 12-0.
Players on the Prairie View 3rd/under team were Lian Espinosa, Noah Subera, Lewis Yoder and Jaden Espinosa. Lewis and Jaden had 3-0 scores; both are in kindergarten.
Players on the Chandler 3rd/under team were Isaac Moore, Aiden Saner, Jake Morningstar and Makai Hochstetler. Aiden scored 3-0.
Other players in the tournament with 3-0 scores were Allison Hochstetler-Norris of West Goshen (in the 5th/under division) and Jordy Miller of Parkside (in the 3rd/under division).
“I think of a tournament as something like a concert for music students,” Riegsecker said. “It's a chance to put into practice what you've been studying. And it is fun.”
Reigsecker sees chess in the same light as sports, music, and drama. “Chess isn’t necessary for a child, but something that can enhance their life.”