Scott County Chess Club Hosts State Chess Championships

Student teams from across Mississippi gathered in Scott County this past weekend to compete for state chess championships and opportunities to represent the state in national competitions.

More than 70 players of all skill levels came to Roosevelt State Park in Morton, where the Mississippi Chess Association hosted the 2022 Scholastic Team Chess Championships. Public and private schools, plus a home school association , sent several teams of 4 players to compete in sections such as K-3, K-5, K-8 and K-12. Some individual awards were also given.

Franklin County Chess Teams were the biggest winners taking top prizes in three of the four sections. Overall winners include:

K-3: first place, Franklin County; 2nd place, St. Augustine (Ridgeland)

K-5: first place, Franklin County; 2nd place, CHECmate (homeschool association)

K-8: First place, Madison Middle School; 2nd Place, Franklin County

K12: first place, Franklin County; 2nd place, CHECmate

The Scott County Chess Club served as the resident host and provided support for the two-day event which began early Saturday morning and ended late Sunday afternoon. It is also the second chess tournament held at Roosevelt State Park since the club’s inception in 2018.

Chris Allen Baker, coordinator and founder of the local chess club, said the state tournament is an economic benefit for the Morton-Forest area. “In addition to funds provided to Roosevelt State Park for space rental, players, their coaches and their families ate at local restaurants and stayed in lodging facilities for two days. It was a win-win combination for everyone,” Baker said.

The Mississippi Chess Association became aware of the state park amenities when a member of their board of directors and school events coordinator attended a tournament held in November by the chess club.

“The Tournament Director saw what we have here and was impressed with what we could offer as an ideal venue for chess events,” Baker said. “There are a few details that need to be worked out for future tournaments, but we are excited about the possibilities and more people are now aware of what we have to offer. This is another example of the opportunities that exist by bringing in people in Scott County and providing the same opportunities for our residents to participate in the game of chess.

There were no local school teams in this tournament, but that’s something Baker said he hopes to change as the local club grows.

“We have students who can play chess and many of them learned the game from their gifted classes in recent years before COVID-19. The East Central Talented and Gifted (ECTAG) program in which our local schools participate has included chess among its activities. We need to help students develop those skills and continue to provide them with those opportunities,” Baker said. “Many students can benefit from failures in many ways that can help them become stronger in other areas of their lives.”

The individual school tournament will take place in Ridgeland at the end of next month and local students are eligible to participate. The Scott County Chess Club is already planning its next tournaments at Roosevelt State Park for May 14 and November 5. The club meets regularly on the first Saturday of each month at Forest Public Library (9am-11am) and Foothills in Forest (1-3pm).

For more information, email inquiries to [email protected]

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