The Edmond Sun

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November 21, 2006

Chess brings students to Edmond tourney

EDMOND — Sixty schools represented by 248 students descended upon Ida Freeman Elementary Saturday for the largest chess tournament ever in the state of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization’s tournament was to determine State Grade Championships. Ida Freeman walked away with state championship teams for both the fifth and third grades. Fourth-grade students placed second.

“It was a mad house but great fun,” Ida Freeman’s chess coach David Nichols said.

The remarkable thing was the third graders showed up Thursday wanting to enter the Saturday tourney and then walked away with the top team award for their grade level.

“In addition, three players who played on Ida Freeman’s fifth-grade team last year won the Sixth Grade State Team award for Central Middle School,” Nichols said.

The fifth-grade section had 67 players with 45 from Ida Freeman.

“Fourteen of the top 20 best players in the state were from Ida Freeman,” Nichols said, “and six of the top 10 were also from Ida Freeman.”

One other team entered from Edmond was Chisholm Elementary and individuals from Sequoyah and Northern Hills also entered.

“In our building kids play a lot,” Nichols said. “Chess club has provided chess boards for all levels. Teachers ask for them for indoor recess time on rainy days.”

The popularity of this club that only fifth graders may join is limited only by the time available for the coach.

“In an informal survey last year with first through fifth graders, we found if we opened our club up to everyone interested we would have 325 members,” Nichols said.

Fifth-grade chess club members meet Wednesday and Thursday during lunch and recess.

“We have about 65 students in fifth grade and 52 are in chess club,” he said.

The library is open from 8-8:30 a.m. each morning and fourth and fifth graders may come and play then.

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