Education

Chess tournament planned for Minneapolis school children

The Minneapolis Schools' Student Activities Department will hold a chess tournament for students in the Minneapolis School District, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday, February 21.

Called the "Check-It-Out" Chess Tournament… The Minneapolis Schools' Student Activities Department will hold a chess tournament for students in the Minneapolis School District, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday, February 21.

Called the "Check-It-Out" Chess Tournament, the event is co-sponsored by the H.B. Foundation, a Minnesota nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting chess for its cognitive and academic benefits for children.

This is the school district's ninth "Check-It-Out" Tournament, says Director of Student Activities Pam Olson, who organizes the event.

"In the past, we have had one tournament a year in February," she said. "This school year we added one in November and more than 280 students attended. It's a very popular event."

Olson says that the tournament attracts beginners, experienced players, and those who have never played the game.

"Everybody competes, even if they have never played before," she says.

Students compete in four divisions at the tournament, k-3, 4-6, 7-8 and 9-12, with trophies awarded in each division. In addition, the district and foundation have established a special category to attract more girls to the tournament and Chess, awarding trophies to the top girl in each division. Even parents can participate by playing each other, and the tournament gives an opportunity for adults to teach other adults to play.

"It's different from all the rest of the competition I play," says Elliot Altbaum, 11, Minneapolis, about the tournament. "It has more of a laid back feel. It's based more on fun."

A sixth grader at Lake Harriet Elementary where he participates in the chess club, Elliot won the 4-6 grade division at the November tournament.

The Check-It-Out Tournament is free and students are asked to register through their schools. Tournament officials supply the boards and the sponsoring H.B. Foundation donates chess sets and gift certificates to Games by James for drawings from among student participants.

February 9, 2004
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