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Chess still a favorite game among Nevis students

Nevis student Logan Funk concentrates before moving a piece during a chess match. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)1 / 3
Bennett Mitchell moves a chess piece during the Nevis Chess Club tournament. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)2 / 3
Jordan Kowalke contemplates a move. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)3 / 3

By Anna Erickson

Nevis elementary students continue to learn chess and enjoy the classic tabletop game.

Sharon Gunkel, librarian at Nevis School, said Chess Club started in 1999 and has consistently had between 20 and 30 students participating in the media center after school.

“I always felt that chess was good for their brains,” she said.

The club is for students in first grade and up, although some kindergarteners have joined with permission if they show they can stay on task and understand the principles of the game.

After learning the basics, students start to develop strategies and compete with other students.

Gunkel puts together a bracket tournament in March with students competing each Tuesday after school. Students are grouped with others at their same skill level. Each week some students move onto the next bracket.

“The matches are by luck of the draw,” she said.

Fourth-grader Ethan Lewis has been in Chess Club for three years.

“It’s fun because you actually have to learn the game and it takes practice,” he said.

Fifth-grader Derek Lindow also likes the challenge.

“It works your brain and you get to play with your friends,” he said.

Fifth-grader Jordan Kowalke has started to learn some strategy.

“In the second year I figured out how to get the king in the corner and now I can win,” she said.

Fifth-grader Mary Zimmerman joined the Chess Club for the first time this year. She has learned the basics and practices at home.

Most of all, kids have fun playing with their friends. It’s not just about the competition.

“I think it’s fun to play. I learned how to move the pieces, how to do check and checkmate,” said second grader Joe Houchin. “And I get to play with my friend Eli.”

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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