Usually when one loses a game of chess, it’s easy enough to play a rematch right on the spot. Whether to redeem a reputation or simply to keep the fun going, one of the many joys of chess is that there will always be another game.
For Aptos Middle School Student Austyn P., however, scheduling a rematch against longtime rival Eason L. took a year of patience, practice, and perfecting his moves.
The highly anticipated rematch between these two rising stars of the game of Kings and Queens was the pinnacle moment of the 6th Annual Aptos Middle School Fall Chess tournament, which took place from Oct. 17-Nov. 8.
Founded in 2013 by Aptos 6th and 8th grade Math Teacher Claude Clermont, the Aptos Chess Club has become a welcoming space for Aptos students who are curious to learn more about the game, expand their knowledge and skills, and take a much-needed break from the digital world that often consumes their attention.
“It’s an immense release for kids who are searching for alternatives to the electronic pollution they’re experiencing on a daily basis,” said Clermont. “This is a game that has zero percent luck involved, thus requires complete focus and intellectual activity.”
Phones and electronic devices are banned from the tournament to preserve the sanctity of the game and prevent outside distractions from taking attention away from the complex drama unfolding in each match.
For the duration of the tournament, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students are invited to compete against each other in preliminary rounds that are designed to encourage as many games as possible. Once the preliminary rounds are over, a bracket-style playoff determines the winner.
As it did in years past, the 2019 Fall Chess Tournament playoff bracket brought together two competitors, quite familiar with each other and the challenge they faced. On one side of the board: last year’s champion Eason L., and on the other: last year’s runner-up Austyn P.
Expectations and speculations rippled through the crowd of spectators, eager to know the answer to one of life’s (and chess’) most persisting questions: is history doomed to repeat itself or are we agents and underdogs of untold destiny?
From the first moves of the match, it became clear that Austyn’s second-place finish last year was not, in fact, the end of his story. The confidence and skills he had developed over the past year through the Chess Club helped him soar to victory and 1st place in this year’s fall tournament.
A hearty congratulations is certainly due to Eason L., Ian W., and Quing G. for finishing 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively, and to all Aptos students who participated in the tournament. Win, lose, or stalemate, everyone can agree the purpose lies not in victory, but in the pursuit of learning and improving. After all, you can always play another game.