Chess tournament draws 1,300 schoolkids to Mpls.by Curtis Gilbert, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — More than 1,300 chess players from around the country are competing in Minneapolis for the National High School Chess Championship.
It's called the High School Chess Championship, but there are actually a number of junior high students competing as well.
Minnesota is represented at the tournament by 300 students coming from about 100 schools around the state.
Robert McLellan, marketing director for the U.S. Chess Federation which runs the tournament, calls chess "the great equalizer."
"It doesn't really matter how much money your parents make, or where they come from or what language you speak at home. It's all based on skill and ability and mind power," McLellan said.
"And so you might be a guy in your 50s and been playing all your life, and you're going to get whomped by the next Bobby Fischer who might be 12."
The player to beat is 18-year-old Eric Rosen of Skokie, Ill. He won the tournament last year as a high school junior, and is ranked 162 out of nearly 50,000 U.S. chess players of all ages.
There's no cash prize or scholarship money at stake this weekend, but a trophy will be awarded.
McLellan said says kids learn important skills playing the game.
"You know in this day and age when kids' attention spans are lucky to last 10 minutes, you have kids playing for four hours on a single game," McLellan said.