News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, March 13, 2014
Former DISES chess player takes Blue Hill team to state championships
Young DISES chess players score big at state championship

Deer Isle-Stonington, Maine elementary school chess team takes first at state tournament

The K-3 Championship Division took first place in their division at the Maine State Scholastic Chess Championships at the University of Maine in Orono on March 8, 2014. Back row: Sean Morey, Trace Morey, Macey Brown, Maya Brown, Gavin L. Eaton, Gavin C. Eaton. Front row: Brayden Martin, Owen Staples.

Photo courtesy of Dan DeLuca

by Anne Berleant

A former Deer Isle-Stonington chess player helped launch the recent victory by the Blue Hill Consolidated School at the state chess championships in Orono on March 8.

“It’s made me very proud. I take personal pride in the fact that they succeeded,” Coach Cameron Wendell, a Blue Hill Harbor School sophomore, said in a recent telephone call.

“He’s the coach. He’s definitely in charge,” faculty adviser Maryanne Lewandowski said of Wendell. “He told the kids they could do well. And they believed him.”

Wendell started as coach in December, using his experience as a former member of the Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School team.

“For the most part, I took my personal instruction I got from the coaches I had through Deer Isle,” he said.

That included remembering what held his focus as a young chess player and what did not.

“Being in middle school and elementary school, kids don’t have the longest attention span for a low-key game like chess,” he said.

He attributes much of his coaching success to “the fact that I’m younger than most chess coaches. I can explain things on a level they understand.”

What helped to motivate the students, he said, was the presence of former members of the DISES team, Cameron, Ross and Cole Stewart, who transferred to BHCS this year.

“They were really inspired by what they saw from the kids from Deer Isle,” Wendell said. “They didn’t know how they lost to them. [The Stewarts] inspired the other kids by showing them chess is a real strategic battle.

“And a lot of it has to do with [the fact that] Blue Hill kids are very, very motivated.”

Around 30 students showed up for the first chess club meetings, which competed with a number of extra curricular choices, Wendell said.

“At that point, it was just a chess club. Whether or not it would become a team had not yet been decided by the school,” he added.

Wendell spoke with parents and Lewandowski, who secured a grant to fund the program, and in January, the club became a team. A few weeks later, their K-6 team won the state championship, beating defending champions Deer Isle-Stonington.

“I’m so thrilled and so proud of them,” Lewandowski said. “They worked very seriously and they worked very hard.”

The team is now trying to raise funds for a trip to the nationals in Atlanta, Georgia on April 25 to 27.

“We’re training as if we’re going to nationals,” Wendell said. “We’re assuming we’ll come up with the funds.”

Young chess players score big at state championships

by Dick Powell

On Saturday, March 8, the Chess State Championships for teams was held in Orono. Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary had teams in all five categories: K-3 Novice, K-6 Novice, K-3 Championship, K-6 Championship, and K-8 Championship.

In the K-3 Novice division, the top three players scoring counted as the team score. Colton Harriman led DI-S with two wins and a 1/2 point draw, while Taytum Chase had two wins and Kiersten Heroux had one win. The five point Mariner total was good enough for second place!

In the K-6 Novice division, Thomas Thompson led DI-S with a perfect 4-0 record—the top score in the division. McHenna Martin had three wins and Liam Bishop had two wins and a draw to give DI-S 9 1/2 team points and a first-place trophy. Drew Wendell, Koby Nevells, Corbin Harriman and Coleman Brown each had two wins while Dexter Brown and Nathalie Zanke completed the DI-S scoring. Wins by all team members cuts down their opponents’ win totals; even though the players weren’t in the top three, they were also important.

In the K-3 Championship division, Sean Morey led DI-S to another first place finish with 3 1/2 out of 4 points. Gavin L. Eaton and Macey Brown had 3 each while Gavin C. Eaton had 2 1/2 as did Brayden Martin. Trace Brophy, Maya Brown and Owen Staples totaled 3 points to complete the DISES scoring.

In the K-6 Championship division, Blue Hill Consolidated School, coached by Cameron Wendell, upset DI-S in a very close match. Former DISES players Cole, Ross, and Cameron Stewart had 3 wins each to pace Blue Hill. For DI-S, Rylee Eaton and Kaylee Morey all had three wins each and Andrew Pappianne, Ben Penfold and Tommy Hutchinson had two wins and a draw. Wyatt Eaton, Myles Brown, Henry Penfold and Jacob Gell all had two wins while Ariel Larrabee, Nathan Thompson and Dakota Emrick completed the DI-S team scoring.