Kids compete in Alabaster Scholastic Chess Tournament

ALABASTER- Kids from all over the state of Alabama competed in the ninth annual Alabaster Scholastic Chess Tournament at Thompson Intermediate School on Saturday, March 4. According to organizer Caesar Lawrence, 52 students from kindergarten through 12th grades participated.

“This was open to kids in public school, private school, and who are homeschooled from Center Point to Montgomery. To get kids involved in chess, you have to teach them how to play it and give them a chance to showcase what they know through tournaments,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he has seen a greater interest in chess from kids and parents than ever before.

“More kids are playing chess, and they’re having fun doing it,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said Chess helps kids learn how to think critically and make good decisions.

“It teaches them how to make a game plan so that they can accomplish what they want,” Lawrence said. “All of us plan what we’re going to do. If you have a plan and you execute it, you’re going to be successful.”

Parent Mary Lowery said playing chess teaches kids sportsmanship and respect.

“That’s why I like that my son plays chess. He’s so competitive, and he is learning how to lose gracefully,” Lowery said. “I like him involved in this rather than playing video games. It helps him academically and cognitively.”

TIS fifth grader Sadie Currie said playing chess helps her develop skill that are applicable in several ways.

“It helps me in soccer a lot, because I’m a defender. In chess, you have to defend the pieces. In soccer, you have to defend the goal,” Sadie said. “It helps me cool down a lot.”

Currie is currently a part of the TIS Chess Team, and said she always has fun when playing chess.

“This is my school, so I want to represent it well. We also want to get another team trophy,” Sadie said. “I like to compete a lot, because you get to think a lot. It’s kind of like having your own castle that you control.”

Lowery said Lawrence, who also serves as the TIS chess team coach, did a great job organizing this event.

“He’s so positive and encourage with the kids. He tells them if they lose, not to worry about it. He says that it’s not about winning, it’s about having fun and learning from your mistakes,” Lowery said.

South Shades Crest Elementary School student Raghavan Madabushi and Hayden Harding of Bumpus Middle School tied for first place in the Rook division. In the Novice division, Thompson High School student Harrison Edwards placed first. Zac Arledge of TIS took first place in the Primary division.

Lawrence said Caesar Chess holds monthly chess tournaments at various locations around the state. The next tournament is scheduled for Saturday, April 29 at Montevallo Middle School.