WHITE PLAINS – Dylan Brown chased the king across the board, moving his pieces closer, tightening the noose. The mover of the doomed plastic monarch, Morgan Lawless, shuffled it forward then back, before a final step into the corner.
“I was trying to play for a stalemate,” said Morgan, 12, a student at Scarsdale Middle School, explaining why it can even be fun to lose in chess. “I like that there are so many different tactics. There’s not one strategy that always wins.”
Morgan and Dylan, 13, joined more than 200 local students today to compete in the 2009 Westchester County Scholastic Chess Championships.
In its seventh year, the tournament, sponsored by the National Scholastic Chess Foundation, drew entrants from all grade levels, representing 50 schools.
They gathered at Ridgeway Elementary School in White Plains to compete for trophies, plaques, certificates and medals. But the game isn’t just about the prizes, said Sunil Weeramantry, executive director of the nonprofit chess foundation. He said more schools are making chess a part of their curricula and enrichment programs.
“There’s been an explosion of interest, many more kids are playing,” said Weeramantry, whose group provides chess instruction in more than 70 schools.
“Schools are seeing a variety of academic benefits from chess,” Weeramantry said. “Particularly, increased concentration and critical-thinking skills.”
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