Oakland Center hosts statewide chess competition

Students ponder their next moves.

The game of chess originated in India almost 1,500 years ago. Although the names and rules have changed since then, the competitive interest in the game has withstood the test of time.

This was demonstrated Saturday when high school and junior high students from across the state gathered in the OC for the Michigan Junior High and High School Team Championships.

The annual competition, hosted by the Michigan Chess Association, was started in 1976. This is the fourth year that it has been held at OU.

“The fact that there’s a food court here and there’s a lot of space to spread out really lends itself to this type of event because between games,” said Jennifer Skidmore-Smith, who was responsible for organizing the event through the MCA. “The kids have a lot of down time.”

Skidmore-Smith and her husband Mike Smith, who oversees the high school section, also said that it is much easier to go rent the OC than to go to a high school for as many competitors as they have each year.

The following are just a few quick profiles of some of the players that could be found at the tournament.

Cameron Pender, 17

Plans for after high school: Saginaw Valley State University, studying accounting

Other hobbies: basketball team, golf team

Michael Hursh, 17

Plans for after high school: Michigan State University, studying business

Other hobbies: football team, Boy Scouts, church youth group

Ian McDowell, 17

Plans for after high school: Grand Valley State University, studying engineering

Other hobbies: travel soccer team

Kaleb Ethridge, 17

Plans for after high school: University of Michigan—Flint, studying business

Other hobbies: basketball team, soccer team, church youth group