Students get their chess on

Thirty students representing public and private schools from around the island gathered at the Princeville Resort to compete in Kaua‘i’s first interscholastic chess championship.

Hanalei Elementary School students Amari Walker and Ryan Walker tied for first place in the elementary school division, with home-schooled student Kiran Abrams taking third.

Fellow Hanalei Elementary School students Waipuna Le Puulei and Lawson Nerenberg placing fourth and fifth.

In the middle school division, Ben Lockyer of Chiefess Kamakehelei Middle School took home the first-place prize. Home-schooled student Gabriel Abrams took second, Tanya Gomez of Hanalei took third, Justin Vegawa of Kapa‘a Middle School placed fourth and Marina Tangelder of Hanalei took fifth.

The winners received a variety of gifts donated by the Princeville Resort, Bethany Hamilton, Andy Irons, Titus Kimimaka, Knockout Sportswear, Ching Young Village Variety, Bali Hai Photo and Hanalei Music and Video.

“The Princeville Resort not only hosted this chess event, they provided breakfast for the children, and donated the grand prizes totaling six nights at the hotel,” said event coordinator and founder Terry Moeller in a press release. “I have participated in many chess tournaments, but never one as elegant as this. Several parents expressed to me their deep appreciation of hotel manager, Kelly Hoen, for her generous support of youth chess on Kaua‘i.” The chess program has been around for nearly three years, but this was its first interscholastic tournament.

“I would like to also recognize Hanalei Elementary P.T.S.A., which has supported my chess program in their school for the past three years. When they first began most of the children did not know how to play, but with their recent experience Hanalei Elementary did quite well overall,” Moeller stated.

Fourth-grader Walker split the first two games against Kokora before the two eventually stalemated in the third and the deciding match.

“I never imagined I could win this tournament. My opponent, Ryan Kokora, was a good chess player. We played best two out of three blitz games for the championship,” Walker said. “Chess is not like anything else I have ever played. It’s a brain game.” Senator Gary Hooser, who worked with Moeller in crafting a Senate resolution encouraging chess in the classroom, will be providing Senate recognition certificates to the winners of the event.

“Children learn through trial and error and in chess they learn that every move has consequences.

This can be applied to life’s lessons. We make a move and the world responds,” stated Moeller.

For more information on the event, contact Stephanie Reid of the Princeville Resort at 826-2286.

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