Idaho is stepping up its scholastic game with a number of changes to the program. The most visible change is that students are attending regional qualifiers in order to qualify to compete in the State Scholastic Championships that are designed to choose Idaho’s representatives for the Barber and Denker Tournament of Champions. The representative for the National Girls Tournament of Champions and the Polgar Foundation Girls Invitational will be named at the Idaho Girls’ Championship . Another addition is the use of ratings for pairings to insure a more equitable tournament.
There were a variety of opportunities to qualify for the State Scholastic Championships. Players were qualified to play in the championship if they scored 3.0 or above in any of the regional qualifiers (ERST, WRST, NRST, SCRST), 1st - 3rd place in your grade at the qualifiers, or were in their senior year of high school. The Idaho Chess Association also offered alternate means of qualification by playing in one of the rated open tournaments, or simply played in the Idaho Closed.
The State Scholastic Championships were separated into a K-8th grade tournament, 9-12th grade tournament, and a State Team Championship. Organizer and Scholastic Coordinator, Alise Pemsler reaffirmed that the level of scholastic chess has actually increased and says, “there are now more opportunities for kids to play at a variety of different levels.”
The 9-12th grade Scholastic State Championship was held at the Riverside Hotel in Boise on March 4 for thirteen competitors. The high schoolers were all pleased to only be playing other high schoolers as the tournament room was quieter and the skittles area was less chaotic. The room and setting befitted the importance of the event and players felt privileged to be there. All players were also fitted in an Endgame T-shirt that was gifted to them by the Endgame T-shirt company.
Jeff Roland, former ICA President, attended and was the guest of honor that opened the tournament with the first move, e4. Jeff was also a participant in the very first ICA scholastic tournament over 30 years ago! Seth Machakos, from Boise High School won the tournament with a perfect score of 5.0/5 points. Dylan Porth and Thomas Reisig tied for 2nd and 3rd place! Seth will be able to attend the National Denker Tournament of Champions held in Norfolk, Virginia this summer. Top players in each grade:
9th Wesley Nyblade
10th Nathan Phipps and Andrew Kitterman
11th Jeffrey Gorven
12th Ian Lockhart
In the K-8th grade Scholastic State Championship, 83 players competed to be Idaho’s National Barber Tournament of Champions representative and grade level state champions. Kevin Xu and Forrest Zeng of Boise won the tournament with a perfect 5.0 score and are Co-champions. Bryan Li followed closely with 4.5 points.
The venue proved to be excellent with the top three boards played on the stage of the Boise Senior Center recreation room and several rooms available for the families and friends of the players. The top players for each grade included:
K Colton LaTulippe
1st Luke Wei
2nd Daniel Yang, Miles Hollist, and Daniel Liu
3rd Audrey LaTulippe
4th James Wei
5th Sara Hollist, Yadira Fernandez, John Bueno, Andrew Baumann
6th Daniel Fernandez
7th Temiloluwa Aderogba, River Shepard, Otto Olson, Samuel Pinson, Celeste Hollist, James Liu
8th Jonathan Geyman
The next tournament is the Girls’ State Championship on April 29, held at the Community Campus in Hailey. Team Championships are May 6 at Jerome High School. The State Scholastic Champion will be selected from the winner of an invitational tournament among Seth Machakos, Thomas Reisig, Dylan Porth, Kevin Xu, Forrest Zeng, and Bryan Li.