April 2008 Scholastic SideAuthor: Hank Anzis
We just closed out the 2007-2008 IASCA Scholastic season with the Iowa Scholastic Team Championships and Youth Trophy Tournament at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids. Congratulations to our team champions: Ames High School, Iowa City’s Northwest Junior High (coached by Greg Schmidt), and our Youth Trophy Tournament winner Kristian Stephens of Winterset. Counting the Youth Trophy section, there were 102 players in attendance. I hope you will take the time to read the tournament accounts on our website’s scholastic news page. It was a fine year for IASCA Scholastic chess, with an increase in attendance (although we are still lagging behind the attendances we had under my predecessor, Don Ronnfeldt), participation ribbons for all the major tournaments, and the new parents section. Thanks for all your support this past year. You can see all of this year's scholastic champions listed at chess.com's Iowa Group
On Saturday, I will be helping Tim McEntee direct our IASCA Beginner Open at the Golden Teapot in West Des Moines, Saturday April 5th. This tournament is open to all players rated under 1200 as of the March rating supplement and helps to support the IASCA, which runs so many of the scholastic events we all enjoy. There will be 19 trophies for players of all rating abilities and I hope to see you there. All attendees will receive the April, 2008 issue of our State Chess magazine, En Passant. This issue features pictures and articles of many of the scholastic events and players of the last 3 months. It is an excellent keepsake for parents and grandparents alike.
On Saturday, April 12th, Pete Karagianis of the Iowa Chess Center will be holding a K-8 chess tournament with sections for rated and unrated players. Please contact Pete for more information.
On April 19th and 20th, the IASCA will be holding our 2008 Iowa Class Championships at the Iowa State University’s Microbiology Building in Ames. The tournament is geared towards players rated over 1200, although players rated over 1000 will be competitive in the Under 1400 section. On Sunday, April 20th, we will be holding our IASCA annual meeting and conducting annual elections. This is your chance to have a say in IASCA affairs by joining and either sending in an absentee ballot or attending the meeting and meeting the board members and candidates yourself. Also at the same time, Iowa’s USCF delegate and legendary Ames chess coach, Roger Gotschall, will be directing the Iowa Closed Championship, which matches the top 6 players from our adult chess season in a tournament to determine our champion. Even if you do not want to play over the weekend, you are more than welcome to come and watch.
Finally, on Saturday, April 26th, Jim Hodina will conclude his successful Prairie Scholastic Series at Prarie Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Please contact Jim for more information.
As you may have heard over the weekend, I will not be running for re-election to the IASCA board and also will be stepping down as IASCA Scholastic Director effective as of the April meeting. That means this will be the last of the 29 scholastic sides I have written. I initially took the position as a way to pay back the people who ran tournaments for my children, and now it is time after 3 years to make room for new people with new ideas. I intend to spend a little more time playing and hope to help plant the seeds of tournament chess in areas that the IASCA has not yet reached or lost contact with. When I accepted this position in November of 2005, attendance was trending downward, and I asked for and received a mandate to try new things. Prizes for top scoring girls, parent sections, prizes based on rating instead of age, naming co-champions, and providing trophies for all players who were tied for one at an IASCA state championship event are among the results of that mandate. Thanks to the IASCA webmaster , Rusty Davis, I have been able to provide timely tournament reports and notifications, including this series of monthly Scholastic Side articles. Because of Buffalo Center’s Jack Ralls, we have been able to put pictures on www.chess.com’s Iowa Group for you to share with your children and relatives. Thanks to the efforts of Ben Munson of Des Moines, Chuck Lierman of Ankeny, Jim Jones of Prairie High in Cedar Rapids, the Marshalltown Salvation Army, Grinnell Middle School and College, Ling and Shannon Zhou of the Golden Teapot, among others, I have always managed to find free tournament sites and have used that savings to provide more trophies, medals, and ribbons for the players. As you know, tournament day can often be crazy and I was blessed to receive the help of people like Joe Stull, David Noe, Robert Vance, Roger Gotschall, Rich Newell, Tim McEntee, Soma Chaudhuri, Jeremy Madison, Ben Munson, Jim Hodina, Ben Anzis, John Flores, Matt Anzis, and many others who have always been willing to lend a hand by directing a section, put away boards, handle the computer, giving players advice and somebody to look up to, and correct me when I make one of my many mistakes. But most of all, I feel very privileged to have gotten to know so many of the parents and children that make up Iowa Chess. People have often expressed their amazement to me that I can remember so many of the players and their parents by sight, but it is only because you are all so memorable to me. I hope to see many of you at tournaments in the future and if you need any advice or help in setting up tournaments or helping your child improve at chess, I hope you will feel free to send me an email or give me a phone call. With your continued participation and support, I predict a fine future for Iowa Scholastic Chess!!