Gazebo Gazette

The Pass Christian Public School District held its first PCPSD Gifted Chess Tournament on Friday, April 19th, 2024 at the J.W. Randolph Center. Participants came from all four district schools including DeLisle Elementary School, Pass Christian Elementary School, Pass Christian Middle School, and Pass Christian High School. 

Chess is a higher-level thinking game. It is a game of visualization, calculation, strategy, tactics, evaluation/analysis, openings, endgames, and discipline. Chess is a part of the gifted program and challenges students in a way that no other game can. It improves cognitive skills (including concentration, pattern recognition, decision-making, algebraic and geometric thinking, problem-solving, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking) improves self-confidence and self-worth, increases attention span, increases memory capacity, and it’s fun! 

Chess is a game that students can play for the rest of their lives. It crosses languages, cultures, and age barriers. A 90-year-old man can play a 10-year-old child. It provides an opportunity to bridge gaps between diversities that may not otherwise unite.

In conjunction with Jeff Bolhuis, part of the Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association, the district gifted teachers (Sarah Badeaux, Jane Bunn, and Paula Lacoste) and the high school Chess Club Sponsor (Ashley Ladner) provided a competitive and enjoyable experience for 35 students from the district. 

After a brief lesson of tournament protocol provided by Mr. Bolhuis, students went on to compete in four rounds of chess. Mr. Bolhuis uses the Swiss Style Method ensuring that all students participate in every round with the exception of  “Buy” games. This is usually due to an odd number of participating players. Students sit out for the round and proceed to the next round receiving one point to their total.

The method of scoring for the tournament included each player receiving one point for a win, no points for a loss, and one-half a point for a stalemate. (A checkmate occurs when the king is in check and has no means of escape from capture- not by moving the king out of harm’s way, blocking the attack, or capturing the piece causing the check.  A stalemate occurs when the only move that can be made on the board puts the king in check but the king is not actively in check.)

Categories consisted of fifth grade, sixth grade, and seventh through twelfth grade. The competition was followed with awards and recognition of Dr. Philip Terrell’s contribution to the chess tournament through his Dr. Philip Terrell “Excellence in Education” Grant. This grant was awarded to Paula Lacoste and used to purchase chess games, chess timers, and tournament medals.

Presented to Dr. Terrell from the PCPSD Gifted Program was a portrait painting created mostly by students in the program. In attendance to receive the recognition were Dr. Terrell and his daughter, Tyra Bailey. 

Winners from the various categories are listed below:

5th Grade: (Gifted Teachers: Sarah Badeaux & Jane Bunn)

  • 1st Place: Blake Holman (Gold)
  • 2nd Place: (3-way tie)
    • Charlie Hurst (Silver)
    • James Strawhorn (Silver)
    • Gene Wong (Silver)

6th Grade: (Gifted Teacher: Paula Lacoste)

  • 1st Place: Cael Fryer (Gold)
  • 2nd Place: Jordan Taylor (Silver)
  • 3rd Place: Izzy Milevsky (Bronze)

7th/8th Grade: (Gifted Teacher: Paula Lacoste)

  • 1st Place: Daniel Johnson (Gold)
  • 2nd Place: Adrian Rodriguez (Silver)
  • 3rd Place: Aiden Rice (Bronze)

High School: (Chess Club Sponsor: Ashley Ladner)

  • Kolbie Brassfield (Gold)
  • Gabriel Dupree (Silver)
  • Jacoby Johnson (Bronze)