Burgeoning chess masters at play during the 2018’s inaugural Auburn School District chess tournament. COURTESY PHOTO

Burgeoning chess masters at play during the 2018’s inaugural Auburn School District chess tournament. COURTESY PHOTO

Registration open for second annual youth chess tournament

Next month, young eyes and minds will come to Auburn Mountainview High School to test their chess chops against peers.

To set kings queens and bishops, knights and rooks and pawns in motion over alternating squares of black and white.

The Auburn School District’s second annual chess tournament rages from 4:30 to 9 p.m., May 23. Registration is now open.

Last year, 53 elementary school students from five schools snatched at the invitation, and tournament director Pat Montgomery hopes for more of them this go-around.

“We have 14 elementary schools, and seven of them have chess programs,” Montgomery said.

Couple of things different from last year.

For one thing, there’ll be two tournament rooms instead of one.

“Also, last year parents couldn’t see the games happening. This year, we’re going to try to get a camera feed to some big monitors so everyone can see what’s going on in there,” said Montgomery.

At the end of each of the four rounds, Elliott Neff, a national chess master, and the founder of “Chess for Life,” a national chess promoting nonprofit in Bellevue that teaches kids to play, will bracket the winners and losers of each round. And when all the fussing and fighting is done, tournament officials will dole out awards and honors.

Not only does Neff’s organization teach the young ones to be better players but also how to take a patient, strategic approach to life’s challenges, to think ahead and to work together.

Using methods honed over decades, Neff and his coaches have helped thousands of students master their game, along the way producing 10 national champions and numerous regional champions.

“Chess develops critical thinking, that’s the main benefit people go to. It’s known for that,” Montgomery said.

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