Wooster Students Head to National Middle School Chess Championships

(April 05, 2018) – Eight Wooster City School District students will travel to Columbus, Ohio, on April 27-29 to participate in the 2018 U.S. National K-12 Chess Championship at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. This is the first time Wooster will compete in the national tournament since 2010.

The Wooster students who will be competing include eighth-graders Dakota Rowland and Jarrius Riblet, seventh-grader Ethan Keating, sixth-graders Isaac Michener and Gokul Selvaraj, fifth-graders Joshua Bode and Tony Li, and fourth-grader Roshan Selvaraj.

“We are excited to take advantage of the fact that the championship is being held in Ohio this year,” said Dr. Dennis Helmuth, Wooster City Schools chess club advisor. “This will be a massive tournament with nearly 1,500 participants. Seeing chess sets fill up the entire main hall of the convention center will be quite a sight!”

Each entrant will play a total of six games: two on Friday, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. Entrants will receive one point for a win, 0.5 points for a draw and zero points for a loss. The team’s total score at the conclusion of the tournament is based on the top four finishers from each team.

“The tournament is also divided into sections by playing strength,” said Helmuth. “Two of our students (Dakota Rowland and Tony Li) will be playing in a higher division.”

Wooster’s chess club has been preparing for the championship by playing games at chess club meetings and practicing at home each week. The club also has instruction time at the beginning and end of each chess club meeting.

 “Chess teaches attentiveness, thinking before acting and logic skills,” said Helmuth. “Studies have shown that when students take up chess, their grades in school improve. It also emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and mutual support. It’s a great alternative to video games!”

Beginning on the last Tuesday of September and running through April, Wooster’s chess club includes 16 regular participants. All of the entrants for the national tournament have successfully competed in the Canton Scholastic Chess League (CSCL) throughout the year.