SCHOOLS: LANGE MIDDLE/COLUMBIA
By CAMILLE PHILLIPS
Lange Middle School hosted the annual citywide elementary and middle school chess tournament Saturday, Feb. 19. This year 118 students participated, breaking the record number of players for the second year in a row.
Tournament director Charles Ward was honored for his 12 years of dedication to the tournament, 11 of which he served as tournament director. Ward’s focus was on making chess accessible to kids in Columbia. He said the value of chess is that it requires them to focus on something that is difficult and takes objective thinking.
“The thing that impresses me is that we get 120 kids in here and when it comes time to play they’re quiet,” Ward said. “That’s a major message.”
The kids learn chess for various reasons. Nicholas Reznick, a sixth-grader at Lange, started playing after he saw Harry Potter play wizard chess. Hans Heinrich “Max” Wetter, 6, and Hans Jacob Wetter, 9, play a game of chess with their father, Andrew Wetter, every other day. But the tournament gives them another reason to stick with the game.
That’s what makes the tournament so great, said MU freshman Jacob Amann. “It’s the only exposure that a lot of Columbia kids get to chess – the only tournament we have,” he said. Amann was a volunteer referee this year, and has been involved with the tournament since he was 5.
Read the whole story, including a list of this year’s winners.