A chess rendezvous at Seaside: Interview with Chad Lykins

A chess rendezvous at Seaside: Interview with Chad Lykins



Every spring, the top scholastic chess players meet at Seaside to find out who is the best. This year 257 players came from all over Oregon to play. They ranged from first graders to high schoolers with 16 different sections. The three top players qualify for three national tournaments. Representing Oregon will be Zoey Tang at the Denker tournament, Austin Tang at the Barber tournament and Varun Lyengar at the Rockefeller tournament.

I recently sat down with Chad Lykins, Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation President, who was in charge of the tournament, to find out the details.

Larry: When did you become part of the Seaside tournament?

Chad: I was Chief Tournament Director in 2021 and 2023 and Assistant Chief Tournament Director in 2022. I couldn’t run a tournament this size without an incredibly generous and hard-working group of 20-30 volunteers and beside myself I had Maolong Tang, Phil Schapker, Gabe Franklin, and Mike Myers as Assistant Tournament Directors.

Larry: Who were the sponsors that helped?

Chad: Rose City Chess, Puddletown Chess, and Best Chess Set Ever.

Larry: I saw that you made changes to the prizes. Can you tell us what they were and why?

Chad: Medals were dramatically upgraded to custom die-cut medals in the shape of Oregon instead of generic off-the-shelf medals used at other events. This is just a very rough estimate, but we estimated that by moving from plastic cups to wood plaques, we were able to cut the amount of carbon generated by our awards by 95%. 100% of giant plastic trophies end up in landfills within 20 years, most much sooner. Medals and plaques can be hung or flat-packed for long-term memories.

And for the first time, Grand Champions from each age group are being invited to the State Capital to be recognized by the Oregon State Legislature.

Larry: That sounds like a great change! Meeting with the state legislature will be a highlight for the kids and something to tell their classmates about.

Chad: We hope to do it every year.

Larry: What does a player need to do to be able to play at Seaside?

Chad: It’s very simple — play chess games! 15 lifetime US Chess rated games, 8 US Chess rated games since the prior championship. There are a number of chess websites that list tournaments. Any US Chess rated tournament in Oregon will qualify.

Larry: Anything new planned for the 2024 Seaside tournament?

Chad: We have ideas for enhancing Blitz and Bughouse side events. The tournament will probably be staying in Seaside for 2024. USCF will be the only rating system used–no more NWSRS events accepted as qualifiers. A couple of surprises might be revealed later.

I’ll be looking for you next year at Seaside!


For more information on upcoming tournaments and summer chess camps, checkout Rose City Chess at rosecitychess.com and Puddletown Chess at puddletownchess.org.


Why learn chess?

Simple: It’s a great mental workout that helps children perform well in the classroom. Chess is a logical game where kids have to plan ahead and adjust to new situations. But most of all, it’s fun!

Larry Ball (Coach Larry) teaches students of all ages at the Steinitz Chess Academy in Beaverton. For more information, email Larry at larryball48@yahoo.com.