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  • Jay Simonson

East Idaho Regional Scholastic Chess Qualifier Is Huge Success

57 scholastic chess players from 31 different schools (and several who are home schooled) congregated in the Salmon River Suites, Idaho State University Student Union Building, in Pocatello, Idaho, 21 January 2023. There were students from every grade, kindergarten through 12th grade. This writer had 1825 paper flyers printed, and personally delivered 25 flyers each to 45 schools in the Bonneville and Idaho Falls school districts. 700 paper flyers were taken to the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District which distributed them to all schools (possibly 30) in the district. Starting three weeks before the event, I emailed a flyer to 29 public school districts and 29 charter and private schools. Obviously, these efforts paid off. Last year, the East Regional Scholastic Qualifier boasted 28 players, and was deemed a big success. This year’s turn out, more than double last year’s, is nothing but a HUGE SUCCESS!!!

Because there were so many students (and parents) who registered late Friday night or who had not yet registered, the Tournament Director, Jay Simonson, and his assistant, John Eisenmenger had several challenges in getting the tournament started. Peter Clark, from Twin Falls, Idaho, showed up with four of his children, and was put to work immediately helping to straighten out the registrations. 25 students needed to be entered into the computer for pairing. 15 still needed to pay. Several parents were registered instead of their student children. It took about 1½ hours to get everything sorted out and begin the tournament.

This was a five round Swiss System tournament in three sections: k-5th, 6-8th, and 9-12th. The tie breaks were: Solkoff, Cumulative, Cumulative of Opposition, and Modified Median. Thanks to the clocks which Peter Clark brought with him, we had clocks for almost all of the High School section and enough clocks for the first six games in each of the other two sections.

The K-5th section finished first. Sophie Ma, with 5 points was clear 1st Place in the section. Sophie was the only one in all three sections to earn a perfect score of five. There was a tie for 2nd thru 4th Place at 4 points. By tie breaks, Everett Hauge won the 2nd place trophy, Olivia Ding won the 3rd place trophy, and Lucy Clark was awarded 1st place in Grade 5. First Place (there was only one) for Kindergarten was won by Emma Abenroth. 1st grade winners were: Bronson Dodge, 1st; Evelyn Bowers, 2nd; and Grayson Renz, 3rd. In the second grade, Ezra Clark won the 1st place trophy, William Thompson won the 2nd place medal, and Max Turner and Nathan Abenroth tied for 3rd place. By tie breaks, Max won the 3rd place medal and Nathan won a “Qualified for State” medal. In grade three, Dallin Tarbet was 1st; Annette Wang was 2nd; and Tatum Dodge was 3rd. First Place in grade four was Eloise Helms. There were no other 4th grade players. As mentioned above, Lucy Clark won the 1st place 5th grade trophy. There was a three-way tie for 2nd thru 4th places. By tie breaks, Ryker Duffin received the 2nd place medal, Saxson Ackley received the 3rd place medal, and Ethan Bowers received a “Qualified for State” medal.

With 4.5 points, Hayden Egbert won clear First Place in the 6th thru 8th grade Section. Isaac Burke won the 2nd Place trophy, and Ethan Riordan won the 3rd Place trophy. There was one sixth grade player, and Ezra Turner won 1st Place. In the 7th Grade, Christian Swift won 1st; Owen Clark won 2nd; and Johnathan Wollen won 3rd. The 8th grade contest ended in a tie for 1st and 2nd Place. Tie breaks decided that Blaise Turner took home the 1st Place trophy, and Ronald Ackley won the 2nd Place medal. 3rd Place was claimed by Xela Gunnell.

Coleman Codd, with 4.5 points, was clear First Place overall in the High School (9th thru 12th) section. Tie breaks determined William Miller won the 2nd Place trophy, Delia Groves won the 3rd Place trophy, and David Gordon won 1st Place in Grade Eleven. Ninth Grade winners were: Ethan Swift, 1st Place, and Joaquin Ekcan, 2nd. The 10th Grade contest ended in a tie for 1st, and a 5-way tie for 3rd Place. Tie breaks awarded 1st Place to Ethan Samuelson and 2nd Place to Jerek Flora. Jaeryc Eastman won the 3rd Place medal. William Ford, Lydia Clark, Nolan Ma, and Jocelyn Barron each were awarded a “Qualified for State” medal. In the 11th Grade, David Gordon won 1st Place, as noted above; Caleb Lowrey won 2nd; and Isaac Muldowney won 3rd. Even though all seniors (12th Grade) automatically qualify to play in the State Scholastic Chess Tournament, no less than five seniors played in the East Idaho Regional Scholastic Chess Qualifier Tournament. In addition to William Miller and Delia Groves, who placed 2nd and 3rd in the section, Jacob Jensen won 1st Place for the 12th Grade, and tie breaks decided 2nd Place belonged to Lane Grose, and 3rd Place was earned by Collin Sinkovic.

Madison High School, from Rexburg, Idaho, showed up with no less than 10 students who played in the tournament. The top four player’s scores from each team are used to decide which school wins the Top School trophy. Madison High School won this trophy by amassing 16 points. There was no award given for other high-scoring teams, but this writer wants to recognize some of them. Peter Clark’s home school, Princeton Conservatory, from Twin Falls, Idaho, with four students, gained 11.5 points. John Evans Elementary School, from Burley, Idaho, with 5 students, scored 10.5 points. Three schools each earned 9 points total: Alturas International Academy, located in Idaho Falls, Idaho, with only 2 students; Pocatello High School, Pocatello, Idaho, with 3 students; and Franklin Junior High School, Pocatello, Idaho, with 3 students.

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