On Friday, July 21, 53 students from northeast Oklahoma concluded their week at Chess Adventure chess camp. The camp was organized by volunteers associated with Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization (www.okschess.org) with the goal of keeping interest in chess going during the summer months.

Freedom Church in Owasso hosted the camp by providing use of their classrooms and gym. With some students traveling from as far as Jenks and Miami, the camp offered unique opportunities for students to receive chess instruction for all levels, participate in classroom tournaments, and experience chess-related activities.

On Thursday afternoon, every camper took part in a chess simul. For two hours, campers played on one side of the board against National Chess Master and Oklahoma Chess Association President, Chuck Unruh. In the interest of time, Chuck Unruh directed David Luscomb (Will Rogers High School, Claremore) to take 17 boards with the beginning players for David’s first ever official simul. Caleb Deal (home school, Claremore) earned the honor of lasting the longest in the simul with Master Chuck Unruh.

Throughout the week, campers worked for part of the day in teams.

The teams were evenly matched with players of differing chess experience. Campers chose their team name and created their own team hat. The more advanced players then took time to tutor their group members in hopes of leading their team to victory in the Friday team tournament.

A three-round team tournament was organized on Friday. It was directed by USCF Senior Tournament Director Mike Swatek; USCF Local TD Rod Whitlatch; USCF Club TDs Robert McDonough and Shawn Swatek; and former USCF TD Albert Rine.

At the awards ceremony, the honor of first place team went to the Chessmasters led by Kenny Lin (Country Lane Elementary, Tulsa). Team members included Charlotte Sparks (6th Grade Center, Owasso), Spencer Keller (CUE, Claremore), Aaron Canfield (home school, Tulsa), and Michael Fuhrmeister (home school, Miami).

Second place team was awarded to the Knights of the South Bronx led by David Luscomb (Will Rogers High School, Claremore). Team members included Kyle Dalton (Roosa Elementary, Claremore), Spencer Gotcher (Central Upper Elementary, Claremore), and Gregory Fuhrmeister (home school, Miami).

The third place team award went to the Knights led by Matt Dalton (Roosa Elementary, Claremore). Team members included Katie Tantakis (Jenks West Intermediate, Jenks), Christopher Glueck (All Saint’s Catholic School, Jenks), Matthew Bocanumenth (Jenks West Elementary, Jenks), and Joe Clifton (Roosa Elementary, Claremore).

Awards were also presented to the Most Improved Player from each class. From Julie Duncan (Collinsville) and Julie Luscomb’s (Claremore) beginner’s class, Jennifer Kontje of Cedar Ridge Elementary in Tulsa received the award. Trey Thomas from Roosa Elementary in Claremore was designated the Most Improved Player in Kay Dalton’s (Claremore) advanced beginner’s class. Zachary Smith from Jenks East Intermediate in Jenks won this award in Albert Rine’s (Chess Coach, Foster Middle School, Tulsa) intermediate class. Kenny Lin of Country Lane Elementary in Tulsa earned this honor in the advanced class taught by National Chess Master, Chuck Unruh, and Charles Unruh (Tulsa University).

Chess Adventure concluded this first year’s camp on a high note with positive feedback from parents. One parent and camp volunteer, Yoli Sizemore, wrote: “During the last few months, Timothy had lost interest in chess. This week he’s been very excited about it. He got some chess strategy books from the library and practices the moves every morning and evening. He’s anxious about going back to chess camp every day. On the way home from camp, he talks non-stop about all he learned and how much he enjoyed it.”

Another parent commented: “I want to sincerely thank you for the wonderful experience my daughter is having at Chess Adventure Camp. She can’t wait to get back each day. If you hold another camp next year please e-mail us. …You guys sure know how to make camp fun. Thanks again.”

You can learn more about all of the positive benefits of scholastic chess on the Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization’s website at http://www.okschess.org/benefits/.

If you have a K-12 student interested in learning how to play chess, a listing of Oklahoma scholastic chess clubs may be found at http://www.okschess.org/members/clubs.htm. You’ll also find a complete listing of scholastic chess tournaments for the upcoming school year at http://www.okschess.org/events/schedule.htm.

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