Lowell Elementary - Star Chess Team
This year the United States Chess Federation (USCF) held the National Elementary School Chess Championships in Denver and Lowell Elementary sent a team of two: Adam Ellner (4th grade) and Eddie Strong (5th grade). This was Adam's first Nationals and Eddie's third. Both had high hopes especially for the Bughouse Tournament in which they excel as a team. We arrived in Denver a day early and Adam and Eddie immediately set up their chess boards on the marble lobby floor. There they played Bughouse against all comers and held court from Wednesday through Sunday. It was a great scene as vanloads of chess teams passed through the lobby, especially from New York and Texas who sent the most kids. Arizona and Washington were close behind in the number of entrants. The diversity was tremendous with seemingly equal numbers of African-American, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, Asian and Caucasian kids as well as quite a few Native-Americans from Arizona. I kept waiting for the documentary film crew to arrive to film this amazing true American spectacle.
So there we were Thursday night as a huge team from Manhattan (Public School 139) entered the Lobby. Adam and Eddie were quickly surrounded by fifty kids waiting to take them on. They played for two hours. Adam and Eddie kept winning. Finally, one of the New York City coaches had enough watching his kids go down. He said, Å“I've got to play those guys. They're tough. He and a student went at Adam and Eddie and promptly lost four out of five games. It was raucous. It was loud. It was New York and Seattle.
The kids were having the time of their life and this was playing just for fun!
Now for the serious part. Sixty-four teams entered the official Bughouse Tournament. After four rounds, there were four teams from Washington State playing on the first three boards. Adam and Eddie were among them. When the dust had settled and the fifth and final game was over, a Washington State team had won first place with ten out of ten possible points. Adam and Eddie and five other teams had eight points. Due to the chess rating and tie break system, Adam and Eddie received sixth place and each came away with a trophy that came up to their ears. Wow, were they excited. Later in the tournament Eddie got a trophy for a twenty-fifth place finish in the K-6 under 1000 (rating) section with five out of a possible seven points. Adam got four and a half points in the K-5 under 900 section. Adam and Eddie had a great tournament and Lowell's team of two performed magnificently as competitors and ambassadors representing Lowell, Seattle and Washington State.
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