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Four-move Fireworks in October Kids' Beginners Tournament

On Sunday, October 20, as the up-and-coming Saint Louis Rams were busy defeating the reigning World Champion Seattle Seahawks, 18 new pawn pushers also believed anything was possible as they began their quest to chess superstardom.

In the K-3 Section, the familiar face Christopher Holley was up to his old tricks again, attempting to checkmate his opponents utilizing the four-move Scholars Mate. The quick checkmate is delivered when the white Bishop and Queen team up against the vulnerable f7 pawn. Christopher’s first opponent, Jake Getty, managed to block the Christopher’s intentions by moving his knight in front of f7, but Christopher found an alternative route! He moved his Queen onto the same diagonal as his Bishop and created a battery, and this time Jake didn’t defend properly -- light’s out!

In round 2, Christopher had the black pieces, but stayed devoted to his early mate attack by flipping the strategy and trying to attack Oliver Leeds on f2 instead. Oliver was able to prevent the early attack by defending his weak pawn, but it only slowed down Christopher’s plans -- soon, the black queen found her way to that magic f2 square and finished the game.

Christopher attacked and won his third game using the same methods but, in round four, his opponent Lathan Levy was ready to defend Scholar’s Mate -- and did so, with success! But with his four-move attack not an option, Christopher was forced to fall back and rely on his own chess instincts -- not an opening trap -- and eventually prevailed as October’s Kids Beginner Champion. He won an annual membership to the Chess Club and has officially graduated to the next level of competition: Christopher says he plans on competing in the United States Chess Federation and will play in the next Scholastic Tournament “Turkey Day Bash” on November 15.

In the first round of the fourth-grade and older section, Devin Fleming took a while to promote a pawn to a second queen, but when he finally got it on the board, he put it to good use fast -- checkmating his opponent two moves later. Devin decided that the dual queen strategy was a good one for round two, pushing another pawn to promotion and using his two ladies to deliver his second checkmate of the day.

However, Devin’s third-round opponent, Owen Crews, has been taking chess classes taught by an Expert - who must have taught him that allowing your opponent to get two queens is no good! Without a clear path to a pawn promotion, Devin seemed helpless to mount a successful attack and soon dropped his undefeated streak.

After three rounds, the only player left with a perfect score was veteran Robert Mize, a Metro East Montessori student from Granite City, IL who takes chess lessons as part of the CCSCSL’s Scholastic Intitiative. Mize made quick work of his final-round opponent, scooping up nearly all of the opposing pieces in less than a minute.