For the first time, students from kindergarten through 12th grade and adults will compete in an open chess tournament through the Rapid City Scholastic Chess Club.
The club will host its first open tournament from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, March 19, at Bible Fellowship Church.
Nathan Walstrom, president of the club and a South Dakota Mines student, said the tournament will be non-United States Chess Federation rated. The entrance fee is $10 with a maximum of 36 entrants.
“It’s just a good way to get some of the local residents that are adults that want to play chess and have more easy access to a game,” Walstrom said. “It’s a little bit different than the online games that a lot of us have gotten used to playing over the past couple of years.”
Walstrom said the divisions will be split up into kindergarten through sixth grade, kindergarten through 12th, and anyone outside of high school. Kindergarten through 12th would allow kindergarten through sixth graders to play an older crowd, and each group would be able to play college level students or older in the outside of high school category.
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Walstrom said the club will also host the South Dakota Scholastic Championship for the first time in several years on April 9 at West Middle School.
He said the last time West River hosted the tournament, he was competing in scholastic chess.
“It’s good that our club has garnered enough attention from the Rapid City and western community that they’re looking to move some of the tournaments back over here,” Walstrom said. “It’ll be good for our scholastic kids to be able to experience play styles from kids on the other side of the state.”
The state tournament will be for kindergarten through 12th-grade students and be United States Chess Federation rated. Walstrom said there is an additional expense with being a federation member, but there will be forms to fill out and register at the time of the event. There’s also a pre-registration form on the club’s website.
The club officially began in November 2021 and has had up to 50 players at a training meeting, or when the group learns about different strategies or refines their chess knowledge. Walstrom said they hosted their first tournament in December.
Registration forms for both tournaments are at rcscholasticchess.weebly.com.
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