On February 1st the Miami Indians hosted the Memorial Park Pirates for a chess invitational. Twenty-six students competed in the game of intellect and strategy, and the beginnings of a rivalry could be detected. This was the first time these schools had met for this event.
Coaches Doug Koerner from Miami, and Thor Whitlock from Memorial Park, cheered on the students and updated the scoreboard as the results of matches came in. Competitors refueled with pizza in between matches. The lunchroom of Miami was converted in order to host the three-hour event, and a large banner hung by the scoreboard in the middle of the room.
The invitational used a points system that combined tournament-style bracket play and open play where student could challenge any opposing player not involved in a match. Memorial Park got out to an early lead and held on to win with a score of 60 points to Miami’s 42. The final match in the tournament between Sam Brown of Memorial Park and Thalaytoo Roa of Miami was a real thriller, and attracted an audience from the rest of the players.
Even though Memorial Park was the 1st Invitational between the two schools, it is likely that they will meet each other again. Coach Whitlock was a teacher at Miami for 13 years, and his former colleague Coach Koerner appeared to relish the chance to compete against an old friend.
Future chess matches between the two schools should provide more thrills for the students and spectators, and it will be interesting to see which school can gain an upper hand in the battle of wits and strategy.