From Huntingtown, Marylands Chess Wizards
by Ariel Brumbaugh
Calverton School fifth graders are Marylands top chess players. In January, Calverton schoolers from kindergarten through fifth grade matched their moves against 16 other teams in state championship competition.
To win, every player competed in four games. Team A players Brennen Cheung and Peter Spaulding swept all of their games, giving their team of fifth-graders eight of the 12 wins. That made them Maryland State Scholastic Chess Team champions.
|Krishan Saini plays on a computer against himself.
Team B fifth-grader Wills Posey, fourth graders Arjun Saini and Ashton Wolfley, and second grader Teddy Secor won fourth place.
Team C fifth graders Will Bunn and Sean Harding and second grader Krishan Saini settled for ninth place.
Soon Calverton chess team will be traveling to Portland, Oregon to compete against other top-ranked elementary school teams in national competition.
The Game of Chess
Two royal families battle each other across a black and white checkered board. Each king and queen are supported by two bishops, two knights, two castles (or rooks) and eight pawns. Each piece can move only in its special way. The object of the game is to capture the other players king in a move called checkmate. To checkmate, players must corner their opponents
king in a move the king cannot escape from. Catching the king is a game of strategic thinking.
|Calverton Schools Chess Champions Team A: Fifth Grade Brennen Cheung, Ben Secor, Jonathon Tipton and Peter Spaulding.
Playing with Wizards
Calvertons Chess team practices for two hours on Tuesday afternoons. I followed the victors to their home, Calverton School, get some pointers. There I witnessed the fastest game of chess some 10 minutes long I had ever seen.
I could actually see some of the players calculating their next moves in their heads, eyes shifting all over the board looking for possible traps.
When my turn came to play, I was crowded by amused chess players watching my feeble efforts. I was told that I could win in seven moves, which amazed me because I didnt know what I was doing next.
I took 30 moves, but I didnt win that game.
Tips from the Champs
In a play called castle, a player can switch positions of rook and king in a single move. Also remember to try and get pawns to the opposite side of the board, where they can be replaced
with a captured piece of your choice.
|Chess wizards give junior reporter Brumbaugh advice on her next move.
Keep your eyes open for capture traps and places where you can corner a piece.
Youre never too young to learn
Brennan Cheung, fifth grade, has been playing since Pre-K , taught by his father and cousin. With his team of fifth graders, hes a Maryland state champion.
Second grader Krishan Saini is ranked as his schools top second grader. He learned the game from his older brother Arjun, now nine. In his third competition, Krishan beat players his brothers age.
Cool Kids Stuff
Saturday, March 2
Get the Kids out of the House
Bored kids? Get the kids out of the house on a scenic Winter Doldrums walk w/Ranger Bob. Wear sturdy shoes. No singing the blues allowed. 10am @ Kinder Farm Park, Millersville. Free; rsvp: 410/222-6115.
Wondering how folks used to tell time before clocks were invented? Come make your own sundial and learn how to count the hours of sunlight. 11am-noon @ Battle Creek Cypress Swamp Sanctuary, Prince Frederick. All ages. $4/family w/discounts rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Sunday, March 3
Learn how to grow all the herbs needed to spice up pizza in your own herb pizza pot. Ages 6-12 w/adult. 11am @ Homestead Gardens, Davidsonville. $10; rsvp:
Dance on Broadway (Sort of)
Local choreographer Nena Keller-Demack gives kiddies a taste of what it would be like to dance on Broadway in this workshop. Ages
8-12. 1-4pm @ Cade Center, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold. $35 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/757-2281.
Tuesday, March 5
Kindermusik teacher Gail Trafelet sings w/the little ones. 10:30am @ Borders, Bowie: 301/249-9188.