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Queen City Classic Chess Tournament challenges 700 area kids

Posted at 3:46 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 21:56:21-05

CINCINNATI — Nail-biting, hand-tapping and careful strategy. No, these aren’t stressed-out adults; we’re talking about super-smart kids.

The 19th annual Queen City Classic Chess Tournament wrapped up Saturday. Up to 700 kids walked away smarter and with a trophy in hand.

Shallom Kata is 8 years old. Kata said the trick to getting good at chess is to keep playing.

“(Chess) exercises your brain so you can get better and better at it. The more you play it the more you get better,” Kata said.

Kata walked away with some hard-earned glory.

“My dad wants us to come here and try to get a trophy each time so we can get better at chess each time I come here,” Kata said.

That feeling of winning is one that 17-year-old Justin Storn has experienced before.

“It felt great because it was a lot of hard work that paid off!” Storn said.

According to the U.S. Chess Federation, Storn is a Candidate Master: a player holding a rating above 2,200 out of 2,800.

“It was a lot of hard work because there’s a lot of studying that goes on behind the scenes in chess,” Storn said.

Storn was also there to cheer his classmates on.

Storn encouraged a fellow competitor to keep an eye on the outcome of their games.

"The best way to improve is to figure out what you did wrong and try to improve it," Storn said.

For 9-year-old Logan Kilgore, chess is about more than just winning.

“I don’t go out too often, so I like playing strategic things a lot and chess is one of them!” Kilgore said.

The two-day event was honoring 8-year-old Tani Adewumi, who learned to play chess in a homeless shelter. Adewumi said chess is what helped him and his family escape homelessness. He received the Shining Knight award Friday.