A couple of retired math teachers got together and organized a chess tournament for students K-12 in Cache Valley, including students in Franklin County, Idaho. The tournament will be held Saturday Feb. 9 at the First Presbyterian Church at 200 West Center Street in Logan.
Tournament Director Bruce Bohm, a retired South Cache math teacher and chess club advisor, said they are trying to bolster chess in schools. He is hoping for a bigger turnout than last year’s 70 participant tournament.
“I think the most exciting thing about chess is students can make decisions and not have any dramatic consequences,” he said. “In life, a wrong decision can have devastating effects.”
He said playing chess teaches students to have better logic, helping them make good decisions.
“I love the game and love the kids,” Bohm said. “We had a decent turnout at the tournament last year; we hope to have more this year.”
He said they will be using the Swiss System because it is fair and someone who loses the first round can still go on to win the tournament. There will be five rounds; some of the matches will last three minutes and others could go up to 40 minutes.
Warren Pugh moved to the valley five years ago with a car loaded with chess sets and distributed them to area high schools and middle schools.
He met Bohm at South Cache Middle School and they shared a love for the game. The two decided to start the tournaments.
Pugh is also a retired math teacher from Washington State, and brought chess boards to his first day at school.
“Without asking, students started to go to school early to play the game,” Pugh said. “In the ’80s we began competing throughout Washington playing the state’s best. That was not part of the plan. There was no plan. I simply loved kids five days rather than one. Still do.”
An anonymous donor donates some money so they can give cash prizes.
Pre-registration is important so they can get started right away, Pugh said.
To pre-register, email Bohm at firstname.lastname@example.org before Feb. 6, with your full name, birthdate, grade, address, and text phone number; otherwise, there is a $10 entry fee, if space is available.
For questions about the tournament call: (239) 233-6259 or (435) 890-5214.