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Kenosha Chess Celebrates a "No School Chess Tournament" with Harborside Academy

posted Nov 15, 2015, 4:02 PM by Allan C   [ updated Nov 15, 2015, 6:05 PM ]

The Kenosha Chess Association partnered with local KUSD charter school Harborside Academy and several local businesses  to offer students a chance to have fun and work their brain on a day off from school on October 30, 2015.  The tournament was a great success, with forty-eight students participating from twenty different schools (including home school students).  All grades were represented from first through twelth grade, with one brave first grade player.  The players generally played in sections based on their grades, with separate sections and prizes for K-2, K-5, K-8 and K-12.  Numerous prizes and awards were given out to the participants, including twelve individual trophies, six team trophies, five sportsmanship prizes, and seven runner-up prizes (ties for Third Place).  

Harborside Academy provided a beautiful playing area, with the gymnasium used for the tournament games and the first floor cafeteria using for the skittles room (waiting area, game room and lunch room).  Separate areas in the gym were used for the combined K-2/K-5 section, the K-8 section and the K-12 section, which allowed each section to run on a separate schedule.  Spectators were allowed in the gymnasium to watch the tournament games.

Participants traveled from some distant schools including Chicago, Waukesha, Thiensville, Grafton and Mequon.  For around 15 participants it was their "first ever" chess tournament.  Players had to practice new strict rules such as the "touch-move rule", which says that if you touch a piece, you have to move it; and if you touch an opponent's piece, you have to capture it.

The tournament was run as a Swiss-style format, which has no elimination.  All players get to play each round.  Each round, each player is paired with an opponent who has approximately the same win-loss ratio.  For example, a player who had won the first game and lost the second game, in the third round would be paired against an opponent with a similar score.  The Swiss-style tournament format allows all players to enjoy five rounds of chess, while at the same time the top players  gradually work their way to the top of their sections.  The tournament also enables almost all of the players to win at least one game, because in the later rounds players should be paired against other players close to their same skill level.  A computer pairing program is used to manage all the scoring and game assignments.  The computer also assigns colors (black or white) each time a player plays a game.  The computer attempts to alternate each player between playing white and black.  It also tries to balance out the total number of times a player is assigned to play white or black.  If there are ties for final trophies, the computer automatically calculates tie breaks.

The tournament was run as a combined "individual/team event," meaning that each player would play their games separately in their section, but the top four scores from the players from each school are automatically combined to create the "team score".  Two or more players from the same school in the same section counted as a team, but there is "strength in numbers" and the more players on a team, generally the better they will fare in the team standings.  The computer also automatically calculates tie breaks between teams.  The team competition was stiff, with ties for First and Third place in the Upper Division (the combined team scores from the K8 and K12 sections).

Surprising the high school section players, fifth grade home school player Adam Bareket from Chicago defeated all five of his opponents, finishing as the Champion in the K-12 section.  Adam elected to to "play up" into the high school section, instead of just playing against other players in the K-5 section).  Congratulations Adam!  

In the K-8 section, Shantanu Chaudhuri was the Champion with five straight wins, from Long Middle School in Grafton.  In the K-5 Section, Jack McCarthy was the Champion with five straight wins, from West Elementary in Zion.  And in the K-2 section, Ethan Benzaquen took home first place, with 3.5 points (two wins, one draw, and one forfeit win).

Individual Trophies and Prize Winners:

K-2 Section:  First - Ethan Benzaquen (KTEC West).  Second - Aya Bareket (Home School).  Third - Zachary Rizzo (Pleasant Prairie Elementary).  Sportsmanship - Stephanie Chen (KTEC West).

K-5 Section:  First - Jack McCarthy (West Elementary, Zion).  Second - Lutice Wasko (Oriole Lane Elementary, Thiensville).  Third - Dylan Bezotte (Forest Park Elementary).  Tied for Third (on tie breaks):  C. J. Meo (Pleasant Prairie Elementary), Lucas Kubisiak (KTEC East), and Jake Thomas (Harvey Elementary).  Sportsmanship - Lauren Chen (KTEC West).

K-8 Section:  First - Shantanu Chaudhuri (Long Middle School), Second - Sean D'Souza (Waukesha STEM), Third, Timothy Li (Bullen Middle School).  Tied for Third (on tie breaks):  Les Vilchis-Gallardo (Lincoln Middle School), John Cargille (All Saints Catholic School), and Ian McCutchan (Harborside Academy).

K-12 Section:  First - Adam Bareket (Home School).  Second - Shyam Mehta (Indian Trail High School).  Third - Gable Schidt (LakeView Technology Academy).  Tied for Third (on tie breaks):  Hunter Wellens (Tremper High School).

Team Trophies:

K-2/K-5 Sections:  First Place - Pleasant Prairie Elementary (C. J. Meo, Stasio Romanovic, Tyler Meo, Zachary Rizzo).  Second Place - KTEC West (Ethan Benzaquen, Stephanie Chen, Lauren Chen).

K-8/K-12 Sections:  First Place - LakeView Technology Academy (Gable Schmidt, Thomas Cargille, Seth Zgorzelski (Peterson), Jordan Lattimore, David Glogovsky, Mat Krug, Luke Schaffrick).  Second Place (on tie breaks) - Indian Trail High School (Shyam Mehta, Vincent Mackay, Zach Claypool, Noah Schaffrick).  Third Place - Lance Middle School (Xavier Smiley, Daniel Plutchak, Lukas Jensen, Wayne Jackson).  Fourth Place (on tie breaks) - Harborside Academy (Chase Hartnell, Maria Cargille, Kyantai Mason, Erik Diaz).

The Kenosha Chess Association had excellent volunteer support for the event.  Tournament Directors are the chess equivalent of referees.  They help ensure players get to the correct board, record their scores, answer player questions, point out illegal moves, review checkmates and stalemates, and resolve any disputes that arise in the course of the games.  Thanks to our volunteer Tournament Director staff!

Typically scholastic tournaments cost around $30 per player to conduct, including covering costs of prizes, playing site, and staff.  Through volunteer support and strong community partnerships, the Kenosha Chess Association was able to provide this tournament free of charge to all the players and families who participated.

This was only possible through the generous support of our local business sponsors, Crawford Orthodontics ( and Thomas Eye Care (  Please consider visiting their web site, and please express your thanks for their support for this unique community event.

Additional pictures can be viewed or downloaded at this link: