A.M. Got up early and ran 10 miles in the dark. Then took the whole family to the Utah Elementary Chess Championship. Jenny, Julia, Joseph, Jacob, and William played. Benjamin helped as a volunteer official. Stephen and Matthew did the best they could to not cause trouble. Sarah and I with the help of Benjamin, Jenny, and Julia did the best we could to keep them out of trouble.
Jenny got 4 points out 6 placing 24th out of 83 6th graders. I think she was the second highest placing girl. She said she felt bad checkmating the boys - she had not played one single girl. I told her she was doing them a service by teaching them how to win against somebody their level.
Julia got 4.5 points out 6 placing 12th out of 123 4th graders. Again playing no girls. I think she was the highest placing girl.
Joseph got 3 points out of 6 placing 41st out of 99 2nd graders. This was better than his performance in the last tournament, He is a little stubborn and is reluctant to play strong players because he does not like to lose, but he learned his lesson watching his siblings score higher than him. I think he is beginning to understand that when a stronger player beats you he teaches you how to win against your peers. Ironically, if you do not like to lose, you should seek opportunities to lose, and then you will stop losing. Chess is a great way to teach that principle, Benjamin eventually learned it.
Jacob got 4 points out of 6 placing 13th out of 45 kindergartners. In practice he was getting brutally beat up by Joseph on a regular basis, but then what Joseph did to him he did to his opponents when it mattered. I was quite impressed with his performance.
We were not certain if we should sign William up as his knowledge of the chess rules was fuzzy and his attention span rather low, but he wanted to play and we could not say no. Being only four years old he was the youngest participant in the kindergarten division. He lost his first game, then in the second game he found his match - a five year old girl named Sarah that also barely new the rules. The game was fun to watch. Sarah took William's queen illegally with her queen jumping over pieces to capture to which William did not object, then William pushed his pawn two squares forward on the move that was not first for the pawn and she did not object to that either. Then William put Sarah in check, but she could not figure out how to get out of it. The rules of the tournament are that if you cannot figure out how to get out of check, your opponent wins, so that earned William his only point for the tournament. In his third game he got tired and stopped playing which gave his opponent the win. After that we withdrew him from the tournament figuring he's done enough already. But he did manage to come back with no emotional outbreaks and more than zero points, which was about the best we hoped for at his stage of development.
The tournament also had a team competition among schools, but we were allowed to enter as a family. The rules are that your top four players score. We ended up scoring 15.5 points taking 22nd place out of 64 teams. It felt good to outdo more than 2/3 of the field with most of them being schools. To rub this in, if we spent as much per child on education as does the government, it would have sent our family into bankruptcy a long time ago. Can we have some of our taxes back?
Benjamin told us some interesting stories from observing the games. The most notable one was where the players managed to get out of stalemate (which would require moving the king into check or allowing him to stay in check) three times. He was not allowed to say anything - the player were supposed to figure out on their own if the moves were legal or not, and the volunteer official could say something only if asked.
P.M. I ended up doing 4.5 miles running with the kids. William did 0.5, Jacob and Joseph 1, Jenny and Julia 0.5 - they both were very tired, Benjamin 3.5.