BCCHS Chess Club 2021 School Championship Tournament

Anthony Acevedo, Staff Writer

Back in October 2021, Birmingham’s Chess Club held a tournament that lasted from Oct. 12 to Oct. 26. The rules that were set for the tournament were that each contestant was to play five games each and all moves were “touch move,” which is self-explanatory–even if you don’t mean to touch the piece, you can’t place it back where it was, you have to move that piece. Each player starts with zero points and with each win a player gains a point and plays against someone who has an equal amount of points. Some students had zero points by the end of the tournament because the competition was fierce.

Each game of the tournament lasted about 20-30 minutes, or from the beginning of lunch to the end of lunch. Some of the students who participated were recommended to be at the club room at the start of lunch but some students, as well as myself, showed up a little bit later due to having eaten lunch beforehand and because of that, the students who arrived late only had a small window to play and either win or lose a game. The top five players of the tournament were already playing games when I arrived for each playing session.  This is all a dilemma now because Covid-19 restrictions restrict eating and drinking inside classrooms, so clubs can meet outside or require eating and drinking to be finished before entering the classroom.

After three weeks, the tournament was over and the scores were posted on a tournament wall chart that was posted up on the board during and after the tournament.  The top five, who now make up the BCCHS Varsity Chess Team are Coby Dalumpines (12), first place and school champion with an undefeated score of 5-0; Angelo Dalumpines (11) in second place (4-1); Max Del Solar (12) in third place (4-1); Kal-El Smith (11) in fourth place (4-1); Shane Osikol” (12) in fifth place (4-1).  Tie-break points were utilized to determine place finishes when multiple players finish with the same score.

I was able to get an interview with Angelo and asked him a few questions regarding his performance during the tournament. I asked if he felt stressed at all throughout any of the games he played and he responded by saying, “the first few games.” Angelo also said he made a mistake with “a blunder against Shane.” For those who don’t know what a blunder is, it is a mistake that will negatively affect a player leaving them open to checkmate or a loss of material. I also decided to ask Angelo if there was any point where he had made a move and thought he might lose because of it. He said, “I’d thought I lost at the beginning of the game.”

I thought it appropriate to ask Angelo how he kept calm during the five games that were played and he said that he would play practice matches at home against his brother. Unrelated to the tournament, I asked Angelo if this year was his first time playing chess and he replied with “yeah, this is the first time.”

Three weeks after the tournament was over, Mr.Hughes, the chess club advisor, told the club that he would be receiving the trophies later that day. Once all the trophy winners were present at the chess club together, they were presented with the trophies and took a picture for the yearbook and the school newspaper.