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March 19, 2018

Steve Szirom
Bellingham Knights Chess Club

Inaugural Dueling Queens Chess Championship in Bellingham May 5, 2018

The first “Dueling Queens Chess Championship,” organized by the Bellingham Knights Chess Club, will be an all-day event on May 5, 2018, at Hotel Bellingham’s Fox Hall (formerly Hampton Inn) near Bellingham Airport. The event is open to all ages and skill levels. The tournament will be divided into two sections: one for adults and one for scholastic/student players (K-  12th grades) The Swiss system will be used for pairing competitors during five rounds of play. Due to the low number of USCF (US Chess Federation) members in Bellingham and Whatcom County, the tournament will not require  USCF registration. The scholastic players will utilize NWSRS (Northwest Scholastic Rating System) ratings for pairings. Local chess coach, Tanner Feemster, will be the Tournament Director for the event. The adult section will compete for $800 in cash prizes, while the student section will vie for prizes and trophies. For county residents, the top-performing players from each section will also receive recognition as  the “Best Chess Player in Whatcom County.” "Chess is a 1,500-year old game as well as a language that is spoken in every country. I believe playing chess enhances creativity, problem-solving, character, co-operative skills,  patience, reading skills, and even IQ scores," said Steve Szirom, the event organizer. Chess has proven educational benefits. There are numerous studies showing improved concentration and cognitive development among students, and engages the adult  brain in a highly stimulating way to keep it sharp. Szirom stated that chess is relatively easy to learn but takes a lifetime to master.  Szirom is hoping to make chess a more important part of the local community. The tournament is sponsored by ChessHouse.com, a Lynden-based online retailer of chess-related products,  and Bellingham Youth Chess which is focused on coaching students and hosting scholastic chess events. Advance registration is strongly recommended. The “early bird” entry fee, good until March 30, is $30 for adults and $20 for students. Afterward, the fees are $40 and $25. Registration at the door will also be available if space allows. Online registration and tournament details are available at www.BellinghamChess.com. About the Bellingham Knights Chess Club: The Bellingham Knights Chess Club was founded in November 2015 to foster chess play in the Whatcom  County area offering opportunities for all ages and skill levels to meet others and play the world’s most strategic game for challenge, fun and skills improvement. Regular chess gatherings are on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. in the central Bellingham Public Library’s Lecture Room. Drop-in players are welcome although registration on the club’s website is free and comes with benefits. The club is free to join as it relies on volunteers, donors, and sponsors. The Bellingham Public Library and ChessHouse.com are current sponsors.

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