Casa de Ajedrez wins chess tournament in Orange
Last updated 7/18/2023 at 12:07pm
A special challenge chess tournament was held in Orange on Saturday, July 15, between clubs from Beaumont and Sulphur. The tournament at the First Presbyterian Church of Orange was very close and came down to the last couple of games to determine which team was the winner.
The Casa de Ajedrez, Spanish for House of Chess, from Sulphur played the Beaumont Chess Club in four rounds with eight games in each round format. Eight club members represented their respective club in the head-to-head games of chess.
Games were timed with the players getting thirty minutes to move their pieces against the opponent during a game. The winner of a game got a point for their club and if a game was a draw a half point was earned for both teams.
The Beaumont Chess Club grabbed the early advantage winning five games in the opening round. The only draw or tie game of the tournament occurred in the first round to make the score 5.5 to 2.5 in favor of the Beaumont Chess Club.
The lead stayed at three as the two clubs split the eight games of round two with four wins for both sides. Opponents were rotated so no player faced a member of the other team twice.
The next round proved to be a turning point in the tournament. Casa de Ajedrez won five of eight matches to close the gap to 12.5 to 11.5 in favor of the Beaumont Chess Club with one round to play.
The club from Sulphur took three of the first four games completed in round four to take the lead. Casa de Ajedrez closed strong winning three of the last four games as well to capture the championship 17.5 to 14.5 and claim the trophy.
As the winners of the tournament Casa de Ajedrez got to take home the Chess Club Battles King's Cup. A plaque will be added to the perpetual trophy designating the winning club.
A key player for Casa de Ajedrez was Minh Tran who won all four of his games. Tran is only 16 and has played chess for nine years placing him in the top one hundred for his age bracket.
Tran used to play chess just for fun, but enjoyed the competition of the tournament and the team spirit. "Having a team and fighting for a team was a new experience for me which was fun," Tran replied.
Joining Tran as the only other player with four wins during the tournament was Ed Alciatore of the Beaumont Chess Club. Winning three of four games they played were Stuart Cart of Casa de Ajedrez and Bart Halbert with the Beaumont Chess Club.
Director of Casa de Ajedrez Andy Rivera helped organize this first challenge chess tournament. Rivera indicated, "We're hoping to get a lot of other chess clubs involved. This was our first, it was very exciting. I know for a fact our team members practiced a lot for months. We came together to practice theory, practice online, and it was a lot of fun it was exciting."
President of the Beaumont Chess Club Kirk Tribes echoed the appreciation of Rivera for those that helped organize the chess tournament. "Hats off to Sulphur they didn't give up and in the end that's the difference that sets you apart. It was an awesome tournament thanks to all of the club members that showed up and gave their hard earned efforts. We are just so thankful for the hard work that Michael Hunter and Andy Rivera put in to make this event possible. We also thank very much the First Presbyterian Church of Orange," Tribes expressed.
In addition to the sixteen competitors in the chess tournament there were club members who did not play and family members who came to encourage the players and a few non club members that visited during the tournament which had the opportunity to play some chess, learn more about the game, and even took a tour of the more than a century old historical First Presbyterian Church. Tribes added, "We're really hoping this will reignite the passion and get folks to come out on both sides in Sulphur, in Beaumont, and in Orange to play chess.
The challenge has already been issued by the Casa de Ajedrez to a chess club in Lafayette, Louisiana. Rivera believes it will be possibly three to six months before a tournament can be arranged with the other chess club. He is hopeful that the chess clubs can play tournaments against each other on a regular basis with the Chess Club Battles King's Cup going to the winning club of each tournament until the next event maybe held every three to six months.