News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 15, 2012
DIS Chess-a-thon draws out local talent for all-night event

Andrew Wendell takes a break from the chess-a-thon

Andrew Wendell, bottom left, takes a break from the chess-a-thon, as do other players, clockwise, Andrew Pappienne, Macy Brown, Maya Brown and Nathan Thompson.

Photo by Jessica Brophy Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Dick Powell

On Thursday, November 8, the Deer Isle-Stonington Chess Boosters put on the largest Chess-a-Thon in its history with over 50 K-12 chess players and numerous others—former students, members of the Ellsworth Chess Club, or parents or relatives participating. The elementary school cafeteria was set up for 72 players and it wasn’t enough. In the Simul (where “master” chess players take on four or five opponents at once) students had to wait for an opening to participate.

The event started with the traditional ribbon cutting and a message from Debbie Greenlaw, the mother of Lacy Greenlaw to whom the Chess-a-Thon is dedicated. Lacy was in her early twenties when she lost a courageous battle with cancer.

Steve Tucker, Isaac Marnik (the high school chess coach), Chris Kerrigan (a former High School chess coach) and Bryant Ciomei (former Mariner chess star) made quick work of the current DIS players, and in over an hour’s worth of chess, emerged unbeaten. Sam Grindle, Connor Morey, Nate Davis, Andy Turner, Nick Siebert, Hayden Ciomei and the other DIS High School chess players also took part in the Simul.

Next on the agenda was “life size” chess, pitting Marnik’s team against Kerrigan’s squad. Marnik’s troops sported head bands which denoted what piece they were and were too much for the Kerrigan Krowd.

In the long awaited “bughouse” competition, the team of Collin Ciomei and Oliver Brown was too much for all challengers. Brown had never played bughouse and is only in third grade at Lamoine Elementary School. Henry Penfold, also a third-grader, and his partner Hayden Ciomei, a high school senior, took a hard-fought consolation bracket first place when the smoke had cleared. In fact, during gym breaks some bughouse aficionados didn’t bother to take a break. They continued playing different combinations of bughouse during the supposed “down time.”

Collin Ciomei, now a college senior, was once a third-grader too. In fact Collin, who hasn’t missed many Chess-a-Thons, has won the Speed Chess Competition every year that he participated starting way back in third grade. Thursday was no different and he was again undefeated. Cameron Wendell was second and Nick Siebert third. In the “B” group, Paul Zoephel took top honors followed by Tyson Rice and Nathan Thompson.

At about 3 a.m., it was time for the finale—partner chess. This is chess where players alternate moves, in principle, without discussion with their partners. Two seventh-grade girls came out on top in the closest competition of the evening (morning). SooZin Cha and Orly Vaughn—who were also responsible for the young Mariners sixth-place finish in last year’s nationals at San Diego—bested Nick Siebert/Noah Davis and Brendan Penfold/Kinsey Bartlett to take top honors. Siebert/Davis were second and Penfold/Bartlett were third.

Overall the top Lacy Greenlaw Chess-a-thon winners were K-12/Adult—Cameron Wendell (1), Chris Kerrigan (2), Noah Davis (3), David McManus and Paul Zoephel tied for fourth; K-8—Orly Vaughn (1), SooZin Cha (2), Tyson Rice (3), Ennis Marshall (4) and Amber Sargent (5); K-6—Addie McDonald (1), Annie Reynolds (2)

and Dakota Emrick (3). K-3—Henry Penfold (1), Brayden Martin (2) and McHenna Martin (3).