On Friday, May 15 Whittier was one of 8 elementary schools in Area 9 to participate in their annual chess tournament. Despite having no players in 7th or 8th grade, we did quite well. We came home with 2 trophies for individual achievement; there were no team trophies awarded.
Andy (Grade 6 ) won a second place trophy for players in his division (Skill level 2). Ramiro (Grade 6) competed against the top players (skill level 1) from each school. He won a third place trophy. The other players played well, too. Marissa and Alex ( both Grade 6 ) competed in their first tournaments. Jorge Carrasco (5-307), a tournament veteran, came close to winning a trophy.
A noteworthy highlight for me was Ramiro’s first game where he was pitted against the top player from Chavez. I watched it pretty much move by move and Ramiro played a near flawless game. As the opponents neared their endgame, Ramiro smothered the unsuspecting Chavez player by successfully advancing a pawn to the 7th rank threatening queen promotion. His only shortcoming was his failure to develop his king side rook efficiently to maximize support of the queening pawn. However, Ramiro (don’t let that tender face fool you) had his opponent so thoroughly bewildered that he wrecklessly sacrificed a valuable piece to capture this wayward pawn. From there, Ramiro ably executed masterful trades until – at that point down to kings and pawns – promoted another pawn, cornered the Chavez king and checkmated his foe.