Local Student Runs Chess Tournament at Library

Park County Chess Open

36 chess players faced off in the 2018 Park County Chess Open for cash prizes of $50, $100 and $150 Feb. 2 and 3. Players of all ages and years of experience were allowed to compete.

“I’ve been playing for three years. My oldest brother has been teaching me since I was little, but I haven’t done much outside of just family,” said 16-year old Tracy Miller from Powell.

Chess is a way to spend time inside without staring at a computer or TV screen.

“Chess is important because it builds strategy and problem solving, and to play you have to see steps into the future. It doesn’t rot your brain like video games do,” said 12-year-old Montana Strunk who has been playing for two years.

 The game teaches strategy, pattern recognition, and etiquette as it is played.

“I think the most important part of chess is sportsmanship. You can learn chess and you can play really well, but at the end of the day you can win or lose, but it doesn’t matter without sportsmanship. It’s a game to learn, and if you lose you always learn something,” said Tao Cook, a CHS senior.

The tournament started Friday in Grizzly Hall at 3:00pm with the first round, and the second, third and fourth rounds were held on Saturday starting at 9:30.

“I would like to thank the Park County Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library for helping me do this,” said Bradley Fick, the eighth grader who started the tournament after competing in a chess tournament in Cheyenne, Wyoming this October.

The Park County Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library provided the prize money, food for lunch and snacks, and the Grizzly Room for the tournament, and the winners decided to give $25 to everyone who did well.

“Every person who got two and a half wins in the tournament got $25 because the two winners [Joe Luna and Brian Walker] decided to split it between everybody,” said Fick.

Fick hopes to have more chess tournaments in the future, including one in late spring or during the summer.