Digital Access

Digital Access
Access daily-chronicle.com and all Shaw Media Illinois content from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more!

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Local

Chess tournament brings day of quiet competition

4-year-old Joey Dziaba of Cortland reacts Saturday while participating in a year-end DeKalb Chess Club tournament at the First Congregational Church in DeKalb.
4-year-old Joey Dziaba of Cortland reacts Saturday while participating in a year-end DeKalb Chess Club tournament at the First Congregational Church in DeKalb.

DeKALB – The strategy and logic of chess are what keep Nathanael Kozinski drawn to the game.

Kozinski, 17, of DeKalb was one of about a dozen people that participated in a year-end chess tournament with the DeKalb Chess Club on Saturday at the First Congregational Church in DeKalb. He learned how to play the game when he was younger but got more serious about chess tournaments about two years ago.

“If you make a mistake, it’s your own fault, not someone else’s,” he said. “And I like being able to out-think my opponent.”

When they had to talk, chess players whispered to one another so as not to disturb other players. Bill Feldman, who organized Saturday’s tournament, said he’s amazed by the number of skill sets it takes to become a good chess player, and the abilities of younger players continue to impress him.

“It fascinates me how much kids enjoy the competitive aspects of the game,” he said. “The young spirit seems to really thrive on that. ”

Steve Dziaba of Cortland brought his two daughters, Alex, 7, and Joey, 4, to participate Saturday. He said Alex had been playing chess for a few years, while his youngest had been playing for about six months. They got involved with the club after Alex showed an interest in chess through a school club, he said.

The game has taught both of his daughters lessons beyond strategies to beat opponents, Dziaba said.

“Before we allowed [Alex] to join, we wanted her to learn to be a good sport,” he said. “We wanted to make sure she understood the nature of the game, and that it’s OK to lose so she grasped that basic knowledge of competitiveness.”

The first local tournament of the year took place in early 2011, when about 30 people competed. Since the club has become affiliated with the U.S. Chess Federation and the Illinois Chess Association about a year and a half ago, it has been able to host rated tournaments.

Players accumulate ratings throughout their lives, and ratings define a player’s level of accomplishment and is an indicator of their expertise, Feldman said. Grand master chess players have ratings above 2400, while some of the top players have ratings above 2800, he said. However, Saturday’s tournament was just for fun, Feldman said. Players competed for medals, but no ratings applied. Feldman said he wanted to draw in a mixture of people and give new chess players a chance to get a feel for what to expect when competing in a tournament.

“It’s a lot of fun to see these young minds grasp these concepts,” he said. “It’s a lot to keep active in their minds, even for adults.”

The tournament was also a draw for more seasoned players like Don Reyes of DeKalb, who has been playing with the DeKalb Chess Club since it started.

He’s been playing the game his whole life but got more serious in the 1990s.

One of the reasons he enjoys participating in tournaments is meeting new people of all ages, races and cultures. Plus, it helps sharpen the mind.

“It keeps my brain going,” he said. “It’s food for the brain.”

Loading more