Chess champs

Participants at the recent 2016 Memorial Chess Tournament in Flagstaff pose for a photo. (Courtesy photo)

Jaiden Smith, sixth grade, Sinagua Middle School set a new record for the Northern Arizona Chess Center as one of the biggest upset winners, with an 810-point difference during the 2016 Memorial Chess Tournament, taking place on National Chess Day at Puente de Hozho on Oct. 8.

Jaiden, who was rated 1,226, beat someone who was rated 2,002.

Another amazing situation was Malcom John, eighth grade, Sinagua Middle School, who played in two sections. If he took a bye in each section, he could actually play in both. Since the Open section began on Friday with two rounds and had twice as long game times, he could accomplish his goal.

Malcom went on to score 4 and a half points in both sections, and came in 5th place in the U1000 section with 3.5 points. Jaiden won the student section of the open tournament with 3.5 points and Malcom was second.

There was a four-way tie for first in the U1000 section, as each player had four points. Using tiebreakers, Max Kendall, fourth grade of Montessori, was first place, Caleb Russell, fourth grade, Killip, was second place and Robert Hamblin, Chinle Junior High School, was third. Michael Vasquez, first grade, Killip, came in fourth. James Briggs and Cortney Reagle tied for first in the open section with four points.

There were three other sections. In the U500 section, winner Clay Begay and runner-up Jace Pinto were both from Chinle Junior High School. Clay pulled off a perfect 5.0, winning all of his games. Michael Alghazouli, seventh grade, Sinagua Middle School, was third.

The K-5 Under 300 section saw Deshawn Henderson, fourth grade, Killip, in first. He also won all of his games and had a perfect 5.0. Alexa Cardenas, third grade, Killip, came in second and Beckett Zeigler, fifth grade, Puente de Hozho, was third.

There was also a non-member section for those who have never played before. Natalie Whitehat, second grade, Killip, came in first and won a one-year membership with the United States Chess Federation.

The memorial tournament remembered Steve Stubenrauch and Marty Schneider, who both had a great impact on northern Arizona chess. The second biggest upset winner went to Sebastain Martinez, third grade, Killip. He beat someone rated 289 points higher than he was.

Find tournament results and information about future tournaments at


Load comments