Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

179 Youths Turn out for Chess Tournament; Winners Advance to State Championship

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

179 Youths Turn out for Chess Tournament; Winners Advance to State Championship

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer

BRUNSWICK, Ga. -- Student chess players from throughout South Georgia earned top individual and team awards Saturday during the Golden Isles Scholastic Chess Tournament in Brunswick.

The all-day tournament at Burroughs-Molette Elementary School attracted 179 players in kindergarten through 12th grade from South Georgia and Northeast Florida. The youths represented home school associations as well as public and private schools.

The Golden Isles tournament was the fourth and final one in a Grand Prix series. The winners were determined by calculating their scores from each of the four tournaments. The top three teams in each age division advance to the Georgia State School Team Championship March 1 in Atlanta.

The students competed in four divisions: primary, which is kindergarten through third grade; elementary, fourth and fifth grade; middle school, sixth through eighth grade; and high school, ninth through 12th grade.

The competition, sanctioned by the United States Chess Association, is about more than winning, said Vernon Eckleberry, a veteran scholastic chess coach and Golden Isles tournament director.

"We teach and reinforce the highest-level chess skills, but our major product is good sportsmanship and the ability to think logically, which transfers to every facet of the students' lives," Eckleberry said.

The individual Grand Prix champions and scholastic teams advancing to the state finals are as follows:

The Grand Prix champions had the best individual scores after the four-tournament season. They were primary: Travis Harris of the Home School Association; elementary: Brian Pittman of Oglethorpe Point Elementary School; middle school division: Robert Davis of Brantley County Middle School in Nahunta;and high school: Kenneth Bennett of Pierce County High School in Blackshear. …

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