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Chess tournament draws local kids

Both the intermediate and primary Manzanita Chess teams took home first-place team trophies as well as numerous individual medals at last weekend’s Third Annual Manzanita Invitational Chess Tournament. The two coaches pictured are Chad Baitinger, left, and Rob Findlay.

"All that matters on the chessboard is good moves," said infamous chess legend Bobby Fischer.

Nearly 150 students representing six different schools converged on Manzanita Elementary this past weekend to show off some good moves at the Third Annual Manzanita Invitational Chess Tournament. Students from Kingman Unified, the Kingman Academy of Learning, the Arizona Virtual Academy and some who are currently being home schooled participated.

Divisions were split by grade level with one for students in kindergarten through third grade, one for students in fourth and fifth grade and one for students in sixth through eighth grade. The best players of the day received medals and the best teams earned trophies.

"A team's score is calculated by adding the scores of its five highest-scoring players, with the best possible team score being 25 points," said Rob Findlay, the coach of the Manzanita Elementary intermediate team and the director of the tournament.

Seven team trophies were awarded.

In the primary division (K-3), the Manzanita Elementary team coached by Chad Baitinger came in first with a score of 22 points. Coached by Brian Lape, the Hualapai Elementary team earned second place with a score of 16.5 points, and the KAOL team, which is coached by Chuck Snelling, placed third with a score of 14 points.

In the intermediate division (4-5), the Manzanita Elementary team coached by Findlay took home the first-place trophy with a score of 20 points. The KAOL team, which is also coached by Snelling, came in second place with a score of 19 points. Coached by Scott Larsen, the Palo Christi Elementary team came in third with a score of 17.5 points.

The lone trophy awarded in the junior high division (6-8) went to the Eric Oestmann-coached Kingman Middle School team.

Medal winners in the primary division:

• First place, Jack Ford of Manzanita Elementary

• Second place, Aaron Fluegge of Manzanita Elementary

• Third place, Gracie Woods of Manzanita Elementary

• Fourth place, Maya Kaulfman of Manzanita Elementary

• Fifth place, Aaron Borker of Manzanita Elementary

• Sixth place, Alex Green of Hualapai Elementary

• Seventh place, Sabdiel Mayo of Palo Christi Elementary

• Eighth place, Eddie Longbrake of Hualapai Elementary

• Ninth place, Kimber Privett of Hualapai Elementary

• 10th place, Chase Fluegge of Manzanita Elementary

Medal winners in the intermediate division:

• First place, Buddy Ray Blake of Palo Christi Elementary

• Second place, Rye Samson of KAOL

• Third place, Jed Gilliam of Manzanita Elementary

• Fourth place, Logan Rosenbach of Manzanita Elementary

• Fifth place, Victor Longbrake of Hualapai Elementary

• Sixth place, Cody Flowers of KAOL

• Seventh place, Logan Gomez of Manzanita Elementary

• Eighth place, Anthony Kuc of KAOL

• Ninth place, Nick Taflan, a home schooled student playing for the Manzanita team

• 10th place, Page Cody of Manzanita Elementary

Medal winners in the junior high division:

• First place, Nick Gross of Kingman Middle School

• Second place, Nick Oestmann of Kingman Middle School

• Third place, Time Obiedzenski of Kingman Middle School

• Fourth place, Paul Jones of Kingman Middle School

• Fifth place, Brian McKenzie of Kingman Middle School

Findlay said each year the tournament seems to run smoother. He attributes that to all the support the coaches, parents and schools provide.

"The best part for me is giving out medals and trophies at the end of the tournament and playing chess with the kids at the weekly chess club meetings," Findlay said.


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