Mississippi College

Statewide Chess Tournament Comes to Mississippi College

September 25, 2013

Chess lovers around the globe focused on the drama surrounding the world chess championship in 1972 when American Bobby Fischer defeated Russia’s Boris Spassky to win the crown in Iceland. Spassky was the 10th world-class chess champion from 1969 to 1972 before losing his title.

This fall, a new generation of young people interested in the 1,500-year-old game will tests their skills in an October 12 tournament at Mississippi College, part of National Chess Day.

Expected to participate will be 250 of the state’s best scholastic chess players, from elementary school through high school. The registration entry fee is $15 if submitted by October 8th or $25 after the deadline.

It’s definitely a price worth paying for a growing number of Mississippians devoted to the game year-round.

“I like the challenge of it, the mental stimulus of it,” says Rick Cook, coach of the Peeples Middle School chess team. Several years ago, Cook traveled with his Peeples squad from Jackson to the national chess team championships in Sacramento, California where the Mississippi school finished in 4th place.

Peeples Middle School will be among the teams entering the competition at Anderson Hall in the B.C. Rogers Student Center that Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the games to begin at 10 a.m. In the Magnolia State, there are chess clubs operating in Ridgeland, Jackson, Starkville, Hattiesburg, and Biloxi. Schools from most of these regions will be coming to the MC tournament.

Cook, who teaches social studies and gifted students at Peeples Middle School, serves as president of the Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association. He wears another hat as Byram’s alderman-at-large.

Mississippi College is stepping up its interest in chess competition. Last year, MC organized a chess team led by president Josh Eddie of Mobile, Alabama. The Mississippi College Choctaws squad will attend the event, and lend a hand.

Cook believes interest in chess is growing nationwide. Last year, there were 5,000 students of the game at the national scholastic chess championships.

It’s the first time Mississippi College is hosting the 2013 Grade Level Championships. The tournament is open to all Mississippi students, from kindergarten through the 12th grade.

For more information, contact Rick Cook at rcook@jackson.k12.ms.us or 601.316.1315 or go to http://www.mcachess.org. People wanting to learn more about chess should contact the United States Chess Federation at 1.800.903.USCF (8723).

Photo: Photo by Adriana Lopez Sanfeliu, courtesy of US Chess Federation

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