By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT – Around 40 students from private and public schools in eastern Iowa and western Illinois gathered for a chess tournament hosted by All Saints Catholic School on March 24.
George Meister, local director for the chess tournament and All Saints coach, said this was the first time the school hosted a tournament. Students were from kindergarten through ninth grade.
“Chess teaches students to think, learn strategy and problem solve,” Meister said. It almost always helps increase grades in school due to learning these ways of thinking, he noted.
He pointed out that overseas many countries require students to learn chess.
“I want to promote chess. It encourages children to learn and be educated.”
This is Meister’s second year coaching All Saints students.
He said a number of tournaments are offered around the Quad-City area, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Clinton.
It would be Meister’s dream to host three or four tournaments annually during the school year. “It’s tough to plan in the summer because we have to compete against vacations and other sports.”
Roger Kromphardt, coach for Rivermont Collegiate, Kid’s Choice and Hopewell, all in Bettendorf, agrees that playing chess helps increase learning.
He encourages children of any age to learn chess. And the Illowa Chess Club has events in which youths just show up to play. He noted that more schools across the United States require chess to be offered in schools to help increase learning.
For the March 24 event, Kevin Hyde, a national chess tournament director, was on hand to instruct on pairings’ set up, basic rules and to field a question and answer session prior to the start of the tournament. “He made sure the rules were followed,” Kromphardt said.
All participants received a medallion and trophies were given to top finishers.