By Demi DUENES
Mountain Avenue Elementary School chess club won the first place trophy at the Glendale area chess tournament on May 31. The event was held at Lincoln Elementary School and drew more than 20 chess clubs representing schools from as far away as Orange County.
Mountain Avenue’s chess club players could be found every Wednesday at practice. Max Nelson, a fifth grader at Mountain Avenue, has been a member of the chess club for three years and played at his first tournament on May 31. Max was 5 years old when his father and grandfather taught him how to play, and he practices with his father at home regularly.
Max recalled being excited and nervous about the tournament, adding, “I never knew we were going to win.” He said that the chess club has made him smarter and helped him make new friends.
Among his favorite things about chess is how “strategic you can be, thinking ahead of your opponent, and it makes you think harder.”
Another club member is second grader Harrison Connors, who felt the opposite of schoolmate Max.
“I knew we were going to win,” Harrison said. Even though it came as no surprise to him when Mountain Avenue won first place, he still was ecstatic.
Harrison has been a member of the chess club for one year and practices chess at home with his brothers. When asked why he loves the game, Harrison replied that it’s “a strategy game, you can take your time, and it’s fun.”
The first place title was held for many years by R.D. White’s chess club, until this year when Mountain Avenue pulled ahead with many outstanding members including Max and Harrison.