On Saturday, Jan. 16, the skies were blue, the sun was bright and clouds were sparse. It was the perfect day for kids to be outside and enjoy the weather.
But for 52 kids from the Oregon Trail School and Parkrose school districts, spending time outdoors took a backseat to a chess tournament inside the friendly confines at Firwood Elementary School.
“He just loves playing chess,” said parent Paul Owen, whose son played at the tournament. “It was either this or skiing today, (and) this was better, he said.”
The tournament, co-sponsored by the Oregon Trail School District’s Talented and Gifted Program, comes only one year after Firwood’s principal, Michael McKinney, started a chess club at the school.
“You learn one skill or strategy, you get to a certain level, then you need to go look at what’s the next level,” McKinney said. “There’s a huge world in chess … just as big as you want to get.”
McKinney and volunteers set up rows of tables with chess sets in the school’s gymnasium, and despite some glitches with the software he used to pair up contestants, the event became a huge success.
“What I really like about chess is that, like, when you play it, you’re brain gets smarter, so you train your brain,” said Scott Weer, a second-grade student at Firwood.
Parents were also very pleased to have the opportunity for their kids to attend the tournament and to have an educational activity.
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