Summer chess tournaments come to Whatcom County | news

WHATCOM — Whatcom County’s young chess players are invited to join Northwest Washington Scholastic Chess summer 2022 grand prix chess tournaments.

The first tournament of the series will take place Saturday, July 9, at 9 am sharp at the Ferndale Public Library, at 2125 Main St.

During this first tournament of the summer series, each player will receive a free chess book, according to Randy Kaech, organizer and founder of Northwest Washington Scholastic Chess and the summer grand prix chess tournaments for youth.

Kaech has been playing chess for most of his life and has been coaching the Ferndale High School chess team for 20 years. Offering summer chess programs for the community of Whatcom County has also been a long time commitment of Kaech’s.

“I would go across the street from my place of employment, which was the Ferndale Post Office, and give lunchtime lessons and it eventually evolved into a series of tournaments each summer,” said Kaech. “So the current summer series has sort of evolved over the years into the form it is today, which is a grand prix series of tournaments.”

For this year’s summer chess series there will be six tournaments, with players allowed to play as many and as little as they want, according to Kaech.

Kaech hopes after players come to the first tournament that it will draw them back to compete in others.

“The first one if [a player does] well on it, might give [players] incentive to keep going and earn the grand prix trophies, which are conferred on those who rack up the most points over the course of all six tournaments,” said Kaech. “But also for the first tournament, every single participant gets a prize, which is not normally the case.”

This year’s tournament has more generous prizes due to a donor and players can win a wide variety of prizes, according to Kaech.

Kaech organized the summer grand prix chess tournaments to give kids a place to play chess and practice their skills, stating his favorite part of the tournaments is seeing the light bulb go off for kids after they increase their visualization skills or being able to use a tactic or plan they had not employed before.

According to Kaech, studies have shown kids benefit in many ways from playing chess, with social and academic improvements, teaching logical thinking and concentration and helps with various subjects in school.

“Providing the tournaments is just a means to get the benefits of chess out to the students,” said Kaech.

Another benefit of chess and reason why Kaech hosts the summer chess tournaments is allowing kids to learn valuable life lessons.

“You have to think before you act, you have to always consider things from the other person’s point of view,” said Kaech. “You have to learn how to be a good sport when you’re winning or losing because if you are not making friends, you’re doing it wrong.”

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