Chanute – November 9, 2019. Testing Mettle Yields Medals.
Despite missing key players from last month's 2nd place tournament outing, Iola Chess still managed to place 3 players in the top 25. The November 9 Chanute High School tournament is the largest HS tournament in the SEK each year.
A slow start hampered the team, but the experienced team members responded. Setting a goal for success, Bobby Lewis claimed a personal best with a record of 4.5 points and placed 5th overall. But success is not measured in besting the competition. "I feel like I have improved, but without my team, it would not be as great of a victory. I just wanted to have fun. No matter the outcome I could enjoy it with friends."
Damien Dryden was elated with his personal best 4 points and a 19th place finish. This year was a vast improvement over his first tournament, one year ago, "Considering I only won one match (and that was a bye round!) and I won 4 this year." Being in the chess club for a year has helped by exposing players to different styles of play. "Trading techniques have definitely helped me improve a lot."
Tournament newcomer and lone senior Andre Quinn edged his way into the medal category with his 6th round win to finish in 25th place with 3.5 points. While other players had 3.5 points, his "strength of schedule" proved to be the tiebreaker. Each win scores a point, while a draw earns a half-point.
Wins were hard to come by for returner Thomas Flemming, (2 points) and novices Dennis Smith (1 point) and Trey Wallace (1 point), but they gained valuable experience.
Checking the Competition
(Arma, KS) On Saturday, October 5, the Iola Chess Club brought home a second-place medal. Not bad for only their second tournament. Led by senior captain Eason Cheung, the squad posted 11.5 points through the first four rounds, just behind top-ranked Chanute with 13 points. One point is gained for a win, zero points awarded for a loss, and a draw nets the player a half-point. The top four individual scores for each team are compiled to determine a team score. Bringing six players maximized the scoring opportunities for the team.
Despite the strong start, fate savaged the chess players, as all six students dropped their 5th round match, falling to 4th place in the team scoring. Playing from behind was tense “The competition was intense. Playing in the tournament was different than playing during weekly club time, Cheung noted. “Every match I had to give it my all as the opponents I faced were unique in their own way.”
The Iola High School Chess Club has not existed for several years but began in the spring semester of 2018. Playing with friends, and not being stuck in seminar had its advantages, but several students wanted to see how they would fair in play outside of the school.
“Tournament play is a whole new level. You don’t know your opponent or their style of play. But it is how you get better, get an official UCF ranking, and hopefully, bring home some hardware, ” commented Levi Meiwes. Three students tried a tournament in late 2018, only to realize how little they knew. A few other students got their first taste of competitive chess in the spring. Agreeing to meet multiple times this summer, several students watched videos, played each other, and talked strategy. It seemed to pay off.
In the final round, the Mustangs pulled off 2 wins, a stalemate, and a loss, adding 2.5 points, which was just enough to leapfrog Columbus and Cherryvale to regain second place.
Team members in attendance include Cheung, Damian Dryden, Thomas Flemming, Bobby Lewis, Levi Meiwes, and Micheal Price.