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"Chess Adventure Camp" a True Adventure

By Rachel Farell

campers take a break from studying chessMany people may not relate the word "adventure" to chess, but for ninety Oklahoma youngsters last week, chess really did become an adventure. For the second consecutive year, school age players were invited to spend the week at "Chess Adventure Camp", a camp created especially for kids to increase their knowledge of chess, spend time with their friends, and just have fun!

Active scholastic chess players are constantly searching for ways to improve their skill level at this game. Rarely is there an opportunity in Oklahoma for serious players to gather and learn together in less stressful conditions than found at a chess tournament. "Chess Adventure Camp" was the perfect venue for novice through advanced players to flex their mental "muscles" and hone their chess skills.

premier section morning tournament Oklahoma scholastic players were excited to learn from local National Chess Master Charles Unruh during the camp! Along with the competent teaching of Charles Unruh, Jr., John Cope, Albert Rine, Kay Dalton, and Gelareh Abulwerdi in the additional classes, the instruction was very valuable. Throughout the week, campers of the premier class (consisting of the most advanced students) were able to participate in a morning tournament, followed by several intense hours of training with Chess Master Unruh, and also a mix of activities with the rest of the campers.

While the premier class soaked up the information given during the camp, there was also a chance each day to train younger players. This proved beneficial for both groups - the younger players were able to learn from the sessions, and the members of the premier class learned lessons in leadership, and also solidified their understanding of the concepts.
team members practice together in preparation for the team tournament
During the week, the ninety participants were divided into 14 teams. Each team practiced together, and even made team hats, in order to compete in a team tournament at the end of the camp. The tournament was a wonderful activity that allowed students to implement the lessons they had learned from their instructors, as well as gain the experience of playing in a chess tournament under the actual rules. The camp also awarded trophies to the top three finishing teams, much to the excitement of the campers.

Three scholastic chess players from Jenks were among the team tournament winners. Austin Eades (Jenks West Intermediate) assisted his team the Conquering Kings by earning a perfect 3-0 score during tournament rounds. Each on his team took home a first place trophy. Jonathan Chou, also from Jenks, played for the Poisoned Pawns and helped his team mates take home second place trophies. Audrey Eades (Jenks) played in her first tournament to receive honorable mention medals by surpassing 8 other teams in the competition.

Chess students studying strategy in Mr. Rine's classMany kids of all ages were inspired to play chess. Parents were also excited about stoking their child's enthusiasm, as chess has proven to be a tool that nurtures critical thinking skills, logic and reasoning abilities, and problem solving, just to name a few. Coaches as well as students would agree that this year's "Chess Adventure Camp" was a great success, and there are high expectations for a big adventure next year.

The "Chess Adventure Camp" was held this year at Rejoice Christian Academy in Owasso, organized by the Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization. For more information on "Chess Adventure Camp", or scholastic chess in general, please visit the OSCO website at www.okschess.org.

About the author: Rachel Farell is the oldest of 13 in a family of scholastic chess players. She was Oklahoma's representative to the Annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls for both 2006 and 2007. Her sister, Michelle, is the 2008 Oklahoma representative.


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