Chess players to battle at Cedar Bluff Middle tourney Saturday

Tracy Haun OwensFeature, West Knox

An American came this close to winning the World Chess Championship last month, as close as anyone in this country has done in five decades. It’s a pretty sure bet that the chess player who will break this drought is already playing – maybe even at a scholastic tournament near you.

The Cedar Bluff Middle School Chess Club will host the second annual Cedar Bluff Scholastic Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the school,  707 North Cedar Bluff Road. Check-in is 8-8:45 a.m., and the first round starts at 9:30 a.m.

More than 120 players from kindergarten through 12th grade participated in last year’s tourney, says parent volunteer Oscar Martinez. He and his wife, Coleen, parents to two boys, organized the chess club at Cedar Bluff Elementary School and are helping sponsoring teacher Nadine Raines with this tournament. Son Josh will be playing in the tournament Saturday.

Martinez says that chess, besides being a fun social activity, has been proven to sharpen critical-thinking skills in young players.

“The first move you look at may not be the best move,” he says.

There are other tournaments in the area, including the Secret City tournament in Oak Ridge.

Martinez says the tournament is especially looking for more players in the K-3 and 7-9 ranges. Players can register online. Cost is $15 by Dec. 6 or $20 after Dec. 6 (on-site registration is available). Proceeds benefit the Cedar Bluff Middle School Chess Club. Chess sets will be provided to students; students may bring their own chess clocks if desired. Good Eats and Treats food truck will be on site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For info, email Martinez.

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