Saturday, May 28, 2011

PWNED! III Youth Chess Tournament

We had a hunch that turnout was going to be robust when we received 17 advance registrations (our first PWNED! tournament, in contrast, had only 15 participants). But there was still something incredible about the crush of signups this morning, toward the end of which it was beginning to look as if we were going to pack the house. In the end, we'd drawn 42 players -- a huge increase over our previous high of 27 -- with all three age groups well represented.

The Freeport/Carl Sandburg Middle School Pretzel Kings were there, of course, dominating the grade 4–6 section (Milo Collier, Austin Rucker, Noah Watson and Garrett McDonald grabbed first through fourth place, while Marius Dornhagen-Schradermeier finished eighth), but there were also large first-time contingents from Empire Elementary School in Freeport and North Boone and Dakota high schools, as well as two competitors from Freeport High School, also represented for the first time.

Even more amazing, three players came all the way from Naperville to participate! One of them, Nicholas Schwebe, won the grade K–3 section; Farah Tolu-Honary (Empire) placed second, while Jaxon Shuey (Forreston Elementary -- another first!) took third. Nadine Didier and Zach Kauffman (Freeport MS) reprised their recent Rockford Chess Challenge triumphs with perfect 4.0 scores in the grade 7–12 section; John Werkheiser of Pearl City, our most frequent flier (he's participated in every Route 20 Chess Club event since National Chess Day last October -- 10 in a row!), finished third. (Complete results may be found on our tournament results page.)

We're now faced with an awkward question: Are we about to outgrow our space? One Freeport Public Library meeting room (we need the other for skittles space) can accommodate 48 players. Will we need to change format, or registration procedures, or something else, to ensure that nobody is turned away at PWNED! IV? Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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