Mansfield Chess Club tournament

Winners of the Mansfield Chess Club Chess Tournament: Left to right:   Second Place Haley Hessman (5th grade), Third Place Ian Minatani  (10th grade), Caiden Price First Place Winner (10th grade). (Provided Photo / Leilani Beck)


By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent


The Mansfield Chess Club, comprised of elementary through high school students, held an end of the year Chess Tournament. The group of chess players began learning the game of Chess in February. Every Monday at 4 p.m. students from all grade levels gather in civics and history teacher Luke Hall’s classroom to learn and play Chess.

Hall said, “I offered my room for them to play Chess weekly because it provides a relaxed learning environment, so students can understand the strategies of the game. As it became known that we were learning Chess, more and more kids of all ages became interested. We have a nice mix of ages.”

The Mansfield Chess Club included: Landon Flaget (2nd grade); Jack Hessman (4th grade); Carter Shafer (9th grade); Gabe Gilpin, Haley Hessman (5th grade); Caiden Price, Austin Hessman and Ian Minatani, (10th grade).

During Chess Club vegetable trays, snacks, and prizes were provided by the Mansfeld Booster Club. “We appreciate the generous donation of $200.00 from the Booster Club for snacks and prizes, thank you,” Mansfield Chess Club sponsor Leilani Beck said.

Players were paired up by, “The first round winner plays another player who won the first round, then we figure out the placings of each player based on that,” Beck said.

“First place got first dibs,” Beck said.

After first place winner picked out their prize, all other Chess Club participants also recieved a prize.

Carter Shafer said, “It’s good to learn from those who know how the game is played. They know what they are doing. Playing Chess has helped improve my thinking and analytical skills.”

The Mansfield Chess Club competed against Bridgeport School in two Chess Tournaments this past year. Beck said, “We were very excited and a little scared about Chess competitions with another school.”

Caiden Price said, “It’s been a lot of fun and enjoyable to be a part of the Chess Club. If you don’t know what you are doing, as I did, I am learning on the fly. If we have it next year I will definitely be back to learn more.”

Winner Austin Hessman’s Chess playing strategy is to, “Run it down the ‘mid’, Hessman explained, “This means to make the board pieces the shape of an arrowhead formation to win.”

Hall noted that, “Chess Club provided a great opportunity for our students to participate in a non-athletic extracurricular activity, and de-connect from the digital devices, at least for a little while, and learn good sportsmanship.”

At the end of the day, “We all do it for fun,” Hessman said.


Mansfield Chess Club players, tenth graders Austin Hessman, and Ian Minatani consider their strategies to win at the Mansfield Chess Club Tournament held May 21, at Mansfield School. (Empire Press photos/ Adrienne Douke)