Lancaster-Lebanon Elementary Chess Tournament

Lancaster-Lebanon Elementary Chess Tournament


Due to the game’s academic value and
appeal to students, IU13 worked with National Master, Thomas Magar, to create resources
to share with elementary schools interested in developing or improving student chess clubs.
IU13 hosted the first Lancaster-Lebanon Elementary Chess Tournament in 2011 in order
to bring students together for diverse competition and learning. Due to its success, this chess
tournament has become an annual event, thanks to the support of the Lancaster-Lebanon Education
Foundation and IU13 Nonpublic School Services. Each year, students are introduced to a
formal, yet relaxed, tournament setting. Participants will meet students from varying grade levels
and schools as they compete in a game they love. Goals for the tournament include building
self-confidence, problem-solving skills and strategic thinking. While skill levels vary,
students all understand the game and arrive ready to play four rounds of chess. Each year,
registered teams receive tips on how to prepare for the tournament, as well as the USCF rules
that will be used for the event. However, since this is a beginners’ tournament, it
is not USCF rated. The purpose of the annual tournament is
to encourage schools to get elementary students involved in playing chess because it is a
fun way to develop important cognitive, problem solving and decision making skills. Bringing
80 students together for this exciting tournament at IU13 creates a positive competitive environment
and gives students valuable experience in an official tournament setting. From 9 AM – 2 PM, students are focused
on following directions, understanding tournament rules, developing new chess strategies, and
making connections with students from other schools. Teams of four students play four
individual matches. As students conclude each match, they are released to a quiet room where
they can enjoy practice games with other students. Each round lasts 45 minutes with some of the
students taking every bit of that time to wrap up their match. Between matches, students
are given an opportunity for public speaking as they share with the entire group their
thoughts on why they play chess and what they like best about the game. Pictures with music. At the close of each round, scoring is
completed, and new matches are posted. Each team has a selected captain who offers guidance
and direction in placing teams for the coming round of competition. It’s rewarding to
watch the leadership skills build throughout the day as captains and players become more
confident of the procedures. The start and finish of each match are highlighted by a
firm handshake that builds good sportsmanship. The best way to share the value of this tournament
is to quote the students who have participated. Take a moment to enjoy the learning reflections
from students, grades 1-6. Pictures with music As much as the students love the competition,
this tournament is focused on learning. Guidance is offered and questions answered so students
leave with a better understanding of the game and ways they can improve their strategic
thinking. Students learn from the tournament director,
each other and their coaches who are available to work with them throughout the day, between
matches. Pictures with music 18: And National Master, Marty Frank, offered
his time in 2016 to coach students throughout the day. Pictures with music You have to appreciate the sportsmanship
created at this event! Students notice it and comment on it each year! Pictures There is a great deal of research supporting
the academic values of chess and many PA Core Standards for Math are reinforced through
playing this strategic game. And the students take note of how it helps
them think and learn… It is evident in their comments at the close of each tournament. Pictures with music Prizes are offered to winning teams and
also to top individual players. Every student goes home with an official program and a certificate
of sportsmanship. In a continued effort to support learning, educational books are distributed
that can be used to build chess libraries in participating schools. Each year, winning teams go home with
big smiles and a great sense of satisfaction. A big thank you goes out to Mr. Thomas
Magar who travels from Pittsburgh each year to lead our tournament. He has been with us
since 2010 when IU13’s chess journey began. As a former teacher and active chess tutor,
Mr. Magar strongly believes in the academic value of chess and enthusiastically shares
his passion for the game. This tournament is supported by the Lancaster-Lebanon
Education Foundation and IU13 Nonpublic School Services. T-shirts have also been provided
by Mr. Joe Zimmerman and they make the day even more memorable! Students and coaches
appreciate all special touches that make this tournament unique. For more information on this annual event,
call 717-606-1822 or email [email protected]

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