Pelham's First Ever Scholastic Chess Tourney Set for November 16
Early Bird Discount Ends November 4; Pelham Resident and Sibling Discounts Also Available; See Flyer & Registration Attached
Pelham: Destination Chess
By: Anaga Dalal
Four years ago, the idea of Pelham hosting its own chess tournament in a region littered with powerhouse chess teams was wishful thinking--at best. But in less than two weeks from today, that dream becomes a reality.
On Saturday, November 16, the Pelham Middle School will host the town’s first chess tournament with participants from around the county and the state. “We finally have home field advantage,” says the pioneer of Pelham’s chess programs, Mike Ellenbogen. “For years, our children traveled to many schools in the Tri--State area to compete. Now, chess players from beginners to masters will be coming to compete on our turf.” In the competitive arena of scholastic chess tournaments, this is a big deal. Pelham has arrived!
Ellenbogen considers chess an intellectual competition compared to the physical competition that usually fills parents’ Saturdays. He has taught chess in Pelham for the past ten years. Ranked a “Candidate Master,” he’s been teaching chess for more than 15 years and competing in tournaments for 25. Affectionately known by his students as “Mr. E,” he has coached several local schools to National Chess Championships and in recent years has catapulted this town’s growing chess team to first place finishes at the Westchester County Championship and second place in the New York State Championship.
Ellenbogen estimates over 125 participants at the Pelham tournament, which will offer both unrated and rated sections, and will include kindergarten through high school-aged players.
“The timing of our first tournament could not have been better,” says Ellenbogen. “We had the strong support of the PTA Council for the residency programs plus a supportive new Superintendent in Peter Giarrizzo.” Ellenbogen is quick to also thank the support of parents volunteering for the Pelham Chess Committee and school administrators who, in the past few months, have helped organize the event. All sections will play four matches, with the exception of the highest rated section that will only play three matches due to longer time control. There will be proctors, refreshments, trophies, and an awards ceremony.
The goal, meanwhile, is to encourage participation by Westchester towns with well-established programs like Bronxville, New Rochelle, Yonkers and White Plains, as well as New York City schools such as Dalton and Hunter. As with other tournaments, the home team is expected to be well represented given the convenience for participants. The tournament represents an opportunity for Pelham children to compete against students across the county, test what they have learned and is likely to encourage local kids who might not otherwise travel for chess tournaments to participate.
The town’s first tournament promises to expand opportunity for local children to hone their competitive chess skills and ultimately helps to raise the profile of chess in Pelham. “Most importantly,” says Ellenbogen, “chess teaches kids how to focus, make tough decisions, learn from their mistakes, and concentrate in pressure situations such as the timed games at state championships.”
Registration for the tournament is open! Players are encouraged to take advantage of the early registration and sibling discounts: $30 per player postmarked by 11/4; $5 discount for sibling(s), 2nd player or more per family; $5 discount for Pelham resident. For more information on Pelham’s Chess Tournament, including start times and how to register, please email firstname.lastname@example.org