The cry of "checkmate" rang out loud and clear in Chico today, as more than 100 students competed in some serious games of chess. It was the Sacramento Valley Scholastic Chess League Championship, hosted by Chico Christian School. The kids come from all over the area, and compete regularly in tournaments.
From Kindergartners to High Schoolers ... the players agree that practice makes perfect:
Neal Dow Second Grader Lukas Nevarez says, "You get to learn new moves, and it helps your brain"
Neal Dow Fourth Grader Braden Hass says, "I practice and I learn new strategies and moves, and I just get better and better"
Chess League Director Steven Oberlander says, "As you give kids the basic rules of chess and introduce them to some intermediate tactics they begin to see how they can win with those tactics and the game takes on a whole different meaning and joy to them."
The game of chess dates back thousands of years. Because the league is part of the U.S. Chess Federation each player in the league, no matter what their age, is ranked internationally.