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Chess champs of the middle school

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Jamestown Middle School sixth-grader Lucas Schlepuetz, back-left, emerged from a field of 27 competitors to win the Nov. 29 chess tournament. He is pictured here Monday with second place winner Cadence Scobee, front, third place winner Braxton Perkins, right, and Anna Denault, 6th grade language arts teacher and chess coach. Tom LaVenture / The Sun 2 / 3
Jamestown Middle School students compete in the semester chess tournament on Nov. 29. Organized by the school's new chess club the event attracted 27 competitors with sixth-grader Lucas Schlepuetz winning first, followed by Cadence Scobee in second and Braxton Perkins in third. Tom LaVenture / The Sun 3 / 3

Sixth-grader Lucas Schlepuetz emerged from a field of 27 competitors to win the chess tournament on Nov. 29 at Jamestown Middle School.

It was the first semester tournament since the club formed in mid-September. Three students placed out of 27 competitors from the sixth and seventh grade.

Lucas said he enjoys playing chess against other people but didn’t really think he was a champion. He credits the chess club with teaching him to be a patient and disciplined player who does not take wild chances.

“The strategies to checkmate people are very interesting,” Lucas said.

Cadence Scobee, second-place winner, said there is a logic to chess that teaches how to think more and to think ahead. People tend to have more unpredictable strategies than a computer chess game that moves more predictably, she said.

“Everyone has a different strategy,” Cadence said.

Sixth-grader Braxton Perkins won third place and said he enjoyed chess competition. He learned to play a couple of years ago but the chess club brought it to a new level, he said.

“You try to figure out what other peoples strategies are and try to counter their strategies with your own,” Braxton said.

Each student played four rounds in the tournament and won a point for each win. The four students with the most points competed for the top three spots.

Anna Denault, sixth grade language arts teacher, started the chess club that meets Thursdays after school in room 331. She wanted to instill interest in chess so some of the students will eventually join the high school chess club that is coached by her husband and JHS math teacher Jacob Denault.

“Chess club has been a fun way for kids to compete and the tournament was an especially fun way to kind of compare their skills and see where they stand in comparison to others in practicing those strategies that they have been working on here in the club,” Denault said.

The group are mostly sixth-graders and love the competition, she said. What’s better is that the kids handle the pressure and losing just as well because chess teaches patience and sportsmanship along with critical thinking skills, she said.

“You should have heard how quiet it was in my room for the tournament,” Denault said. “For having around 30 people in there it was so quiet.”

Donors helped out with chess boards, she said. The club is looking for donations to get timers to be more official with their games, she said.