During this past Summer, the RVCC tried an experiment designed to encourage talented local youth by providing a more rigorous training type of atmosphere than many kids playing chess are used to. We selected four special young players for this training regimen. The players in these two events were Om Patel, age 13, perhaps the strongest scholastic player in Roanoke County Schools. Aiden Taylor, age 14, the 2nd strongest player in Roanoke City schools, and young Josh Lewis age 12, probably the strongest 12 year-old in the entire Roanoke Valley. Rounding out the field is the rapidly rising 15 year old player Christian Dotson, one of the strongest teen players in Roanoke County.

The events took place on Wed. evenings from 2-8 pm at the Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea Coffee Shop over at Tanglewood Square. The coffee shop is located at the corner of Ogden and Starkey Roads, SW. The dates for these events were June 3, July 1, and August 5.

The first one was an unrated training tournament in which the students used drill sheets that contained their opening repertoires. Both players played out the sheets to their end; often to around move 15-20. They then began their games from that point and started their clocks. This training tournament was in the format of a 6 round, double RR event that was held on the June and July dates with a time control of Game 30~SD 5 sec. delay.

On Aug. 5th, the kids played training games without their drill sheets at a time of Game 15 ~10 seconds Increment. In the double round robin, the standings were: 1st Om Patel, 2nd Josh Lewis, 3rd Christian Dotson and 4th Aiden Taylor.

In the one-day August event, the standings at the end were these: Om Patel and Christian Dotson tied, followed by Josh Lewis. Aiden was on vacation in the Caribbean and couldn't jet back to Roanoke to play in this event ! ( Imagine that...)

All in all, my observation was that ALL of these young men have a bright future in chess if they continue to play and study. The title of these two events was billed for 'Future Masters'. Based on the impressive games that I saw, this is not idle hyperbole; I think that everyone of them can actually achieve that title ! The tournaments were directed by NM Russell Potter. Much appreciation to both Mike Huff for ALL KINDS of help and a BIG thank you to Gary Myers for helping the kids with rides and filling in for several of the games when needed. Great work guys !

In conclusion, the RVCC has decided that due to the excellent turnout, it will continue to offer chess the first Wed. evening at the coffee shop on October 7, November 4, and Dec. 2.

We will of course, continue with our weekly Saturday afternoon meetings at the Co-Op from 1-7 pm. We hope to see you on any Saturday and the first Wednesday of the Fall months !

- Submitted by Russell Potter