For more than 700 young players who competed Saturday in the Illinois K-8 Chess Championship at Illinois State University, chess also was a chance to earn a trophy.
The state contest was sponsored by the Bloomington-Normal Area Scholastic Chess Club. About 300 of the participants who took seats at the Bone Student Center were from the Bloomington-Normal area, according to Bill Barton, organizer of the event for the local chess club.
Students from as far away as Chicago enrolled in the tournament, which was divided into four categories for grades kindergarten through eighth grade. Starting this afternoon, trophies will be awarded to the top 25 participants in each division and the top ten 10 teams in each division. The top competitor in each division also will receive a trophy.
After the first round was over Saturday morning, students gathered outside the competition hall to practice for the next round or analyze the move that eliminated them.
Brandon Tran set up the board for a game with his father after losing the first match.
“I was one move away from checkmate,” said the sixth-grader from Kingsley Junior High in Normal.
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– GM Susan Polgar