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Building on Experience at the September Kids' Beginner Tournament

Tournaments designed specifically for beginners are held monthly, following the weekly Kids lessons on Sunday afternoons.

Nearly 30 students visited the Chess Club to compete in September’s Unrated Beginner Tournament for Kids -- most of whom came for Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan’s fun and educational weekly Kids Class, and were eager to show off some newfound knowledge.

The K-3 section featured good mix of returning players along with some fresh, confident faces.  On Board 1, Christopher Holley checkmated his opponent using the mighty popular Scholar’s mate.  Most of the time it only takes 4 moves to deliver the quick checkmate that targets the vulnerable f7 square, but Christopher accidentally put his bishop on d3 -- a square that didn’t aim at f7! So, he had to backtrack and, two moves later, was able to deliver the surprise checkmate. 

Board 2 featured newcomer Zachary Barrett who, according to his guardian/publicist, had never lost a game of chess and was ready to take the Saint Louis chess scene by storm! There is a first time for everything, however, and experience pays off as Kid’s Beginner Tournament veteran Sam Jerauld got the better of Zachary. 

The first round didn’t wrap up for a mighty long time, as another Kid’s Beginner Class veteran Sundaram Gurucharan went deep in his game against Kevin Dilly. Instead of going for checkmate and the win, Sundaram took a long time capturing all of Kevin’s pieces and, when he finally got them all, showed off the massive army that he had amassed --  all this, while his clock was running. 

He took too much time checking Kevin’s King and eventually Sundaram ‘s time ran out -- usually an instant loss, but not this time! The game was declared a draw as Kevin had no army left to deliver checkmate!

In Round 2, Christopher Holley once again went after the Scholar’s Mate attack on the weak f-pawn, but this time, so was his opponent! Youngster Praveen Vissa delivered a Queen check on f7 first, forcing Christopher’s King to flee to his home square to elude checkmate. Now with his own King safe, Christopher fulfilled his earlier promise by attacking the f2 square, forcing Praveen’s King to also flee to safety.  With a horrible looking position on the board, Christopher battled on and prevailed over his less experienced opponent. 

The second round also saw Sam Jerauld tally his second win, and Winston Gao was forced to use a lot of brain power to defeat Kevin Dilly, but got the job done in time. And Zachary Barrett won his first game at the Chess Club, putting his invasion on the chess scene back on track!

In round 3, Christopher Holley finally polished up his Scholar’s mate attack, securing the win in the most efficient way possible -- in just 4 moves! Meanwhile Sam Jerauld also improved to 3-0 with an impressive win over Winston Gao to set up the final-round match of undefeateds with Christopher.

Kevin Dilly proved all you need is determination -- and not much else -- to draw a chess game. His opponent, Gus Dorman, had a queen, rook, knight and two pawns to Kevin’s lone King. Gus’ army chased Kevin’s King in a ring-around-the-chessboard for a while, before Gus figured out just what he needed: MORE POWER! But after promoting several pawns, Gus’ four Queens attacked almost every square on the chessboard -- every square except where Kevin’s king stood: Stalemate! Draw! 

In round 4, Christopher had black for the championship against Sam, who quickly castled so Christopher could not deliver his trademark Scholar’s Mate. But in his haste, Sam did not see the early attack on his Queen, which Christopher gladly removed from the board. An early deficit indeed, though Sam would not give up. He played on and set-up a back row “Mating Net” with his rook and Bishop -- one that Christopher recognized just a move too late! Not realizing he he was in the web, Christopher let Sam deliver a come-from-behind checkmate for the Championship.  In this tournament, the veteran Sam, who was once known by the the moniker of “Sultan of Stalemates,” officially graduated to the “Conjurer of Checkmates.”

Sam won a USCF membership, no longer a beginner and ready for a bigger tournament! In his place, perhaps, comes the upstart Zachary Barrett, who used two bishops and two knights to checkmate his opponent.  You don’t see that every day.