Pawn stars in the making



November 14, 2019 - 10:13 AM

CHANUTE ? Despite missing key players, Iola High School?s chess team still managed to place three in the top 25 finishers Saturday at a Chanute tournament.

A slow start hampered the team, but the experienced team members responded.  

Setting a goal for success, Bobby Lewis claimed a personal best with a record of 4.5 points and placed fifth overall.  

But success is not measured in besting the competition, he said.


Iola High School?s Bobby Lewis competes in a chess tournament in Chanute Saturday. PHOTOS COURTESY OF PAUL MILLER


?I feel like I have improved, but without my team, it would not be as great of a victory,? Lewis said. ?I just wanted to have fun. No matter the outcome, I could enjoy it with friends.?

Damien Dryden was elated with his personal best 4 points and a 19th place finish, a vast improvement over the same tournament a year ago in which he won only one match. (He won four this year.)

?Trading techniques have definitely helped me improve a lot,? Dryden said.

Tournament newcomer and lone senior Andre Quinn edged his way into the medal category with his 6th round win to finish in 25th place with 3.5 points. While other players had 3.5 points, his ?strength of schedule?  proved to be the tiebreaker. Each win scores a point, while a draw earns a half-point. 

Wins were hard to come by for returner Thomas Flemming, and novices Dennis Smith and Trey Wallace, but they gained valuable experience. Smith joined the team after his transfer to Iola in early October.

The Chanute High School tournament is the largest high school tournament in southeast Kansas.

Iola High School?s chess team members are, from left, Trey Wallace, Dennis Smith, Damiean Dryden, Bobby Lewis, Andrew Quinn and Thomas Flemming.