K-12 Nationals - A City Discovered, Jewels and Memories Claimed

05.05.10 MECA President Andy Bryan travelled to Columbus, Ohio to chaperone the John Bapst Memorial High School chess team at the 2010 National K-12 Championships. In this report, Andy shares with us his observations of the tournament in words and images.

The main tournament room at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, the site of the 2010 National K-12 Chess Championships.

Eighteen hours in the car and arriving into the 15th largest city in the country, I expected some stress, but no, the traffic was negligible and the hotel was easy to find. Walking into the Hyatt I realized that I was back at another Nationals. There were players pushing pieces in the lobby and others examining games with more anxiety than usual. The real games would begin the next day. After scouting out our room for the next few days, we had the first of many fine meals in Columbus.

On Friday morning we walked outside and realized that this Ohio capital was going to be an easy place to explore. Right away we found a jewel - The North Market. Here were delicacies to satisfy any appetite. We staked our claim and knew we would return for more feasts. Now we had to return to the chess venue.

The first day went well for the Bapst students. Deanna Power led the way with two victories while Aaron Spencer, Maggie Bryan, Daniel Honeycutt, and Kurt Eyerer all were even at one win and one loss to start the seven round marathon. They were upbeat and looking forward to making gains on Day Two. Meanwhile downstairs in a more congested room the All Girls Tournament was starting, and I was volunteering helping TD's by pointing out questions and becoming an enforcer at the door to keep distractions to a minimum. (For an excellent read and some interesting observations on this tournament, click here. My fellow volunteer had many of the same views as I did.)

As we all know, these tournaments are intense and there are few easy games and opponents because ratings for scholastic players can be very deceiving. The second day was going to follow this form. But first the day started well .. at the Food Court.. with great breakfast choices at great prices. It's very important to eat well on tournament days. Maggie responded on Saturday with wins in Rounds 3 and 5, Kurt drew much higher rated opponents and was able to come away with two draws, and Aaron held his rating by beating one lower rated opponent and falling to two opponents who were rated 2130 and 1919. The 2130, Prashantha Amarasinghe, was one of ten players to share first with 6.0 points. Unfortunately Deanna and Daniel went scoreless on Day 2. Deanna started off by losing to the eventual U1200 Champion, Samuel Stephens, who was one of only two players to finish with a perfect score of 7.0 over the three days. Meanwhile Anna Bryan from the Airline School (battling from bronchitis) managed a win and a loss before taking a bye in round five to bring her total to 1.5. The second day was not the day the players had hoped for, but there were two more rounds ahead and chances to move up in the standings.

Sunday presents its own challenges at these events, and my advice is to stay focused, remember that everyone gets distracted on the last day, and take advantage of your opportunities. Aaron, Maggie, and Daniel made the most of their opportunities and finished with two wins. Anna was starting to feel better and took two draws, while Deanna ran into tough customers and Kurt was distracted by an early get-away flight time. Aaron disposed of his higher rated opponent in the last round in quick fashion, Daniel made a pretty sacrifice that led to his last round victory, while Maggie stayed the course with black and defeated a higher rated opponent in her last game. Maggie's victory was particularly sweet since it allowed her to move into an 18th place tie that assured her a trophy. Coming off two disappointing results the past two years, she was able to score 5.0 and solidify her rating at 1489.

This event was wonderful regardless of the results. The ballroom was spectacular and being able to look down on the games was fascinating and much better than looking from the aisles. The city had a hometown feel that wasn't provided in Atlanta or Nashville. I would encourage anyone to attend at event here and not be disappointed. We drove through Ohio State University and were thoroughly impressed with the campus. We saw a live-size replica of the Santa Maria (for the tourists) and marveled that someone would set out on such a small ship. The only complaint was that there weren't enough cars to give it that big city feel - that was fine with me.

After one more good meal Monday morning we headed north to visit colleges and explore the countryside. It was beautiful; no rain until Maine, a spectacular Lake Erie, a black bear in New York, a visit to Cooperstown, and colleges that were very appealing and friendly. We won't soon forget our Columbus trip, our own discoveries, and our newly acquired memories - our own treasured jewels.

USCF Crosstable of this event

Trophies abound!

Parents, coaches and spectators were treated to this bird's-eye view of the playing room.

Dan Honeycutt (grey shirt on right) during one of his games

Kurt Eyerer

Deanna Power

The catwalk above the tournament room

Columbus's North Market...

...where cuisines from around the world were available.

Thanks to Andy Bryan for contributing to this report and congratulations to the John Bapst Memorial High School chess team for their fine performance!


Great report, great job by the kids. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Andy,

I enjoyed the photos and the write up on the whole experience. I am glad the students did well. Job well done!!

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