By DOUGLAS W. MOTLEY
The chess tournament – Rumble on the Rim – that took place at Rim of the World High School on Oct. 15 found some 50 student chess wizards playing against one another.
This, the ninth such tournament held in the school’s cafeteria in recent years, unfortunately yielded no big prizes for the 10 Rim High School competitors who often reign supreme.
According to tournament organizer, retired teacher Keith Martin, this second tournament held this year at Rim High had a record number of players show up to compete in four different categories, ranging from first to 12th grade. The first group consisted of first through third-graders, ages 6 to 8; fourth and fifth-graders, ages 9 to 10; sixth to ninth-graders, ages 11 to 13; and 10th to 12th graders, generally ranging in age from 14 to 17.
Students in the Rim High School chess club practice their skills in Steven Hartranft’s classroom during lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hartranft said he usually has anywhere from 10 to 20 student players show up each time.
According to Coach Martin, learning to play chess at a young age enables them to improve and develop cognitive skills, including memory, logical and critical thinking, concentration, problem-solving and visual processing. It also helps them develop life skills such as creativity, verbal communication, reading comprehension, self-discipline and sportsmanship.
Saturday’s tournament was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and end by 2 p.m. However, this one didn’t end until around 3 p.m. due to several ties that needed to be broken to determine who the winners were. There was an hour break at noon for lunch, which consisted of pizza, assorted chips and drinks.
The first group to finish competing was the sixth to ninth grades. Capturing the first-place trophy was eighth-grader Ashwin Karthik, who is home-schooled by Mission of Vista Charter School in Riverside. Ashwin told The Alpine Mountaineer that he had learned how to play chess from coaches Kevin and Victor. “Thanks to my coaches, I was able to win.” Second place went to Alec Pulido, who was followed by third-place winner Huver Reyes-Rios.
Next up were the first through third-graders. Winning a third-place trophy was Blake Gutierrez; the second-place trophy was won by Ferris Frank and capturing the first-place trophy was 8-year-old third-grader Eligh Reynolds, who is home-schooled at Granite Mountain Charter School in Lucerne Valley. Asked what he has learned from playing chess, Eligh said, “It’s kinda like martial arts – sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.” When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, Eligh replied, “I want to be a Grand Master when I grow up.”
In the fourth and fifth-grade group, third place was won by Odin Villareal, second place went to Abby Salorius and first place was captured by Ishaan Iyer.
In the 10th to 12th-grade group, third place went to Auitran Martinez. First and second place were captured by Huezan Moreno, who was locked in a tie with another student (name unknown). Those who did not win trophies were given ribbons.
Rim students participating in the tournament included: Holiday Aguirre, Ayden Bartlett, Micah Duvall, Michelle Minier, Miles Pace, Emily Salazar, Martina Urrutia, Rebeca Viramontes, Tomas Viramontes and Diane Zhang.
Rim High chess coach Keith Martin gives instructions to first, second and third-graders, prior to competing. (Photos by Douglas W. Motley)
Riverside Youth Chess Association President Dr. Steve Morford (L) watches as Ashwin Karthik, who in eighth grade, captured the first-place trophy in the sixth to ninth-grade category.
Eight-year-old Eligh Reynolds shows off his first-place trophy.
Participants in the fourth and fifth-grade group proudly display their ribbons and trophies.
Chess Coach Keith Martin (L) and Rim High chess club sponsor Steve Hartranft (R) pose with the nine Rim High students who participated in last Saturday’s Rumble on the Rim chess tournament.