Washington Elementary Chess Championships

Last weekend, I went to the WA Elem. Chess Championships. There, I dealt with shorter time control, inexperienced judges, and more.

This year, the State tournament took place in a rodeo in Pasco, WA.

Of course, we were not sitting in an out door rodeo. We had a roof over ourselves, and the moment we walked out of the arena, it felt like we were in a conference center.

They had air conditioning, food, everything you expect. Except that we were in the middle of the desert.


The first problem we ran into in Pasco was a bull it was huge and was holding up the traffic. I could see damage for a long time, cars trampled… A few problems with my little April 28th joke. On bull? Trampled cars? No way!

Okay, to reality. The first problem we ran into was that the hotel room that we had reserved was a non-smoking room, but they gave us a smoking room! We had to go find another hotel, and we ended up staying up until 11:00 PM on the night before State.

Luckily, we didn’t run into any problems until we got to the Trac Center, which was hosting State.


When we got to the Trac Center, we signed in and found a table. But, we were supposed to sign in the night before. We were only one of the hundred families that didn’t sign in. That did pose a problem though, which was that everybody now needed to sign in, and it took them forever to get the pairings set up, let alone start the first round.


Once the first round finally started, I took my PDA in and got it all set up so that I could record my moves that I played with it. But, right before the round started, a judge came up to meĀ  and said that I couldn’t use it. He said I could only use a Monroi. I ended up losing that game on time, because it takes me longer to notate by hand, and we had less time than I was used to.

The thing is, when I write down the moves I make, which is called notating, by hand, I have to go through a brain process. This process was taught to me by my coaches for the 2-hour games, and it turns out, only for the 2-hour games.

And the reason I couldn’t use this process? Because I was playing games where each side had 25 minutes, not 2 hours.

After the first round, I went with my dad to go talk to the tournament director about using my Dell PDA. He said it was fine with him, but it also had to be fine with the tournament director. My dad said that he had thought that the guy we were talking to was the TD, but it turns out he was the tournament organizer, not the TD. We got the actual TD to sign our “pass” for using the PDA.


That was really the last major problem that occurred during the WA Elem. Chess Championships for me. That is, except for the hundreds of little problems that popped up in my games.


From all this, I learned that I need to be able to cope with different situations, talk it out, and take advantage of my rights.

If I had not talked to the judge, I probably would have had 1 out of 5 points, instead of my 3 out of 5 that I had in the end.


Now, the next major tournament I have is the National Elementary Chess Championships, and I’ll keep you updated on that!