We are proud to announce Idaho State Scholastic Champion is James Wei.
The Idaho State Scholastic Championship was held in March and was a success with champions crowned and an event that attracted over 150 players in the history books! This past year was a boon for chess with players online, over-the-board, monthly tournaments in most regions of Idaho, and numerous free events for Idaho players. All of the regional qualifying tournaments had record turnouts.
The State Scholastic Championship attracted K-12th grade players from all over the state including Kellogg, Rathdrum, Moscow, and Couer d'Alene in northern Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho Falls, and Pocatello in eastern Idaho, Burley, Twin Falls, Sun Valley, and Jerome in the South Central region, and of course Boise, Meridian, Eagle, and Nampa, and many more! "This was a fabulous event for kids that play chess, to meet other chess kids and compete in a fun and active atmosphere that we hope excites players to continue growing as chess players," says Adam Porth, President of the Idaho Chess Association.
We had numerous celebrities in attendance including 3 former Idaho State Champions (Kaustubh Kodihalli, Caleb Kircher, and Michael Henderson). NM Eric Hon performing analysis, the 3 current Idaho State Champions, and lot's of coaches and former chess players helping the kids out. Jeff Roland was photographer for the event (see link below).
The State Scholastic Championship is also a qualifying tournament where Idaho selects the Rockefeller, Barber, and Denker representatives that get to compete at a higher level nationally with other state representatives. Because of this our state champions are for grade level with our overall State Champion selected the following day in a tournament hosting the top three players in each of the sections - elementary, middle school, and high school.
It was clear that organizers were not prepared for the numbers of on-site registrants so we would always like to emphasize pre-registration is important to start events on time. The first round for the elementary section started nearly 45 minutes late! Most people were patient however because that is one of the pre-requisites of chess . . . patience! Never-the-less, tournaments get back on track and the event was over when it was planned to end...in the end.
Each round included raffle prizes: chess clocks, executive chess kits, and hardcover score booklets. Seniors that are graduating this year were also presented with varsity letter pins just before the high schoolers began their last round. The elementary and middle school sections were G/30;d5 and the High School sections started at G/30;d5 and then switched to G/60;d5 for rounds 3-5.
The State Scholastic Championship has become a prestigious scholastic event as players must work to qualify for the honor to compete here. Players could qualify by placing in the top 3 of their grade in regional tournaments or play in two or more regular ICA events that include all ages and abilities. In this way, players become more able to understand the nuances of tournament chess without the intimidation of being a first time player at State.
Our 2023 representatives include:
Denker Representative: James Wei (Boise)
Barber Representative: Kaustubh Kodihalli (Boise)
Rockefeller Representative: Whitney Engel (Pocatello)
1st place (by grade)
12th grade Josh Price (Kuna)
11th grade Layne Pickering (Mountain Home)
10th grade Ethan Samuelson (Pocatello)
9th grade Darren Su (Twin Falls)
8th grade Andrew Beck (Melba)
7th grade Luke Wei (Boise)
6th grade Ankita Sriraj (Boise) and Luke Makovsky (Meridian)
5th grade Olivia Ding (Idaho Falls), Sophie Ma (Idaho Falls), and Lucas Loughlin (Ketchum)
4th grade Candice Liang (Meridian), Liam Nosarev (Boise), Jessie Li (Moscow), and Ivan Lawler (Boise)
3rd grade Josiah Stout (Nampa) and Eddy Song (Twin Falls)
2nd grade Elijah James (Boise)
1st grade Roy Li (Moscow), Adithya Sriraj (Boise), Tatum Dodge (Bosie)
Kindergarten Milo Davis (Boise)
The Tournament of Champions was held the following day with the 1st-3rd place holders invited to compete for the office of State Scholastic Champion. In all there were 22 invitations due to co-champions. James Wei snatched the State Scholastic crown with a decisive 5.0 tournament! 2nd place went to Linus Wannamaker (Moscow) and 3rd place went to Kaustubh Kodihalli and Josh Price. Congratulations to the winners and to everyone that participated.
Next year, we are planning on switching the rooms for high school and elementary sections. And we are in the process of streamlining payment and tournament registration so that we can handle the walk-ins without disturbing the start of the tournament. I am also hoping to get corporate sponsorship this next year for players to receive a commemorative participation medal, similar to what players receive at nationals. This would also keep the fees for players lower.
Our volunteers were outstanding and we certainly appreciated the help: Jay Simonson, Kyra Schoenwald, Kyra Dorman, Jeff Price, Desmond Porth, Zack Semancik, Tilly Backstrom, Michael Henderson, Josh Price, NM Eric Hon, Jeff Roland, Peter Clark, Mark Makovsky, and others. Without their dedication, this event would not be as grand as it was. Thank you parents and coaches for supporting your kiddos and the Idaho Chess Association!
We hope that everyone enjoyed their experience (though brutal for the parents - we are talking about the players here) and we hope to see you next year.