COQUILLE — COVID-19 messed up sports but chess competitions are rebuilding with tournaments now on the Internet.
It is much tougher as chess now requires visualizing boards in 2D rather than 3D, requires technology to support wi-fi, zoom meetings and chess.com. Now mistakes include accidental mouse drops of pieces. Cheating is much harder to regulate. Coquille chess players have been learning to negotiate these technological challenges and still have fun playing chess.
Coquille Chess Club and some weekend chess tournaments have been via Zoom and chess.com. The Smalltowners (Coquille Chess Clubs and Friends) have been participating in the 2020 Worldwide Chess Leagues, playing college and club teams from all over the world weekly to improve chess skills. There were cancellations of state and national events since COVID-19 reared its ugly head in March, but apparently the United States Chess Federation is now going to transition to the online environment for national events.
Last week, Joshua Grabinsky was invited to the Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions which will be played online July 25-26. The Oregon Chess Federation used his USCF rating to determine eligibility as one of the highest-rated high school chess players. He is also the Oregon state co-champion of all ages determined during the February Oregon State Championship tournament. He will be the single Oregon high school representative for this prestigious Denker National Tournament.
The Denker Tournament goals and core values are that every chess player in grades 9-12 have the opportunity to qualify for this event. Only the top player of each state is invited, providing recognition for their acheivement in their state. It provides an opportunity to prove they are the best in the country and opens the door for other opportunities for them. The winner of the tournament will qualify for the U.S. Junior Championships and the World Youth Championships and win a large cash prize.
As the United States Chess Federation transforms to this new environment, Joshua will be required to attend a training session via zoom the weekend before the event and demonstrate that his cameras can monitor his room and his computer area. Games will be monitored to make sure computers are not used to cheat. He will be playing a total of four games per day, each round allocated up to 3.5 hours of playing time. The hardest part will be the transition back to slow chess as most online tournaments are fast.
Good luck Joshua Grabinsky! He is our smalltown surprise at this national event.
Stage 5 Worldwide Chess League results for Coquille Chess Club and Friends:
June 28: lost to Burlington Ambush USA
July 5: lost to Gibraltar Chess Nuts
July 12: lost to Yachaz Tech Chess Club
July 19: played Cuban United Chess