Elijah Schaal wins Holy Trinity Yuletide chess tournament.

Elijah Schaal wins Holy Trinity Yuletide chess tournament.

Cheers to a new year, chess players!


And I want to say a special thanks to all who participated in the recent Holy Trinity Yuletide chess tournament. It was a great success, with 24 K-12 players in the 5-round tournament, many of them first timers.

Congratulation to Elijah Schaal, a Sophomore at Valley Catholic High School, who won with a score of 4.5 out of 5, just edging out his friend Levi McClure who came in second place. First under 1,000 was Joseph Ayoub and second was Luke Oliphant. J.J. Ladue, a first timer, took first under 600 with Paulo Gemoranon in second place.

There was a special raffle drawing for tournament triple weighted chess pieces, board, score book and carrying bag. $50 value. It was won by Rex Forehand, who was also playing his first tournament. Good job Rex!

A great tournament needs a great tournament director and David Murray is one of the best. His tournaments are run smoothly and professionally. We had no problems, rounds started on time and any questions were answered quickly and to everyone’s satisfaction. We will ask David to direct all our upcoming tournaments. Thanks, Dave!

Helping in the tournament room answering questions and watching the games were Dave and Gary Beller. They also helped with clean up after the tournament. Thanks, guys! I can always count on you.

The backbone of any tournament is the volunteers who willingly take on a long list of tasks. It starts with Natalie Shick in the front office who calls for volunteers and assigns them where they are needed. Rosemary Schaal organized and ran the snack and pizza concession stand helped by other parent volunteers who are always there to do whatever’s needed. Thanks, volunteers!

The Yuletide tournament is not a large-scale event but it does have an important goal — to contribute all profits to chess students so they can attend the state tournament in Seaside. And to provide an easy onramp for players who haven’t played in tournaments before. It’s fun for young players of all levels.

Hope to see you all there next year!


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.