Seventh Grade Students Organize Chess Tournament


Submitted Article and Photo
Twenty students in the Nandua Middle School FACS class took a unique approach to practicing Virginia Work-place Readiness Skills by learning the game of chess. An in-class tournament was held Nov. 1 and 2. The tournament was the brainchild of seventh grader Austin Shrieves, who recruited the assistance of Athletic Director Mike Bono to help with brackets and Alan Silverman, the Nandua Chess Club coach, to be the lead observer and officiator. FACS instructor, Jennifer Kidwell, was an observer as well. The tournament had five rounds of play with winners in each bracket advancing towards a two-person finish.
Martin Savage was the winner in a nail biter in the final round against Akeely Stern. Savage’s win is a testament to the unpredictability of chess. Martin was knocked out of the tournament the first day but, due to the absence of a player, won a random selection to get back into the tournament for the second day. He went on to win three rounds and claim the top prize.
All Virginia career and technical education classes are required to teach 21 workplace readiness skills. Many are soft skills ranging from decision making, critical thinking, and conflict resolution to sportsmanship. Chess is a natural outlet for all of these. At the end of the tournament, Silverman said, “Kids learn life success through skills of chess, as was evidenced in this classroom.”
Students started the second day by presenting Kidwell with a rose to thank her for her efforts and ended with a group photo and handshakes all around.
Nandua Middle and High students, as well as local home-schooled students, interested in learning and playing chess are invited to join the Nandua Chess Club. The club meets every Thursday in the Nandua Middle School library from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact Jennifer Kidwell at 787-7037 or Alan Silver-man at [email protected].

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