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Bedard enters state chess tourney

Mitch Bedard’s interest in chess took him to the Alabama State Chess Championship in Decatur.

Mitch, a sixth-grader at Rainbow Elementary School, has been playing chess about three years. “I was about Mitch’s age when I developed a desire to play chess,” his father Michael Bedard said.

“My uncle, who is an aerospace engineer, played chess. I remember the first time that I won against my uncle … the feeling of accomplishment,” Michael said. “Mitch became interested when I asked if he wanted to play. Mitch simply replied, ‘How do you play chess?’ Ever since that moment, Mitch has been interested.”

Held at Point Mallard, the state tournament awarded more than $2,000 in prize money for open and reserved sections. Students also could participate in a one-day scholastic tournament. Huntsville Chess Club organized the event in cooperation with Decatur Parks and Recreation Department.

Michael doesn’t consider himself an expert but enjoys the game’s challenge. Finding time to play is difficult. “Mitchell is part of a family of eight,” Michael said.

Mitch believes chess is “a good activity for children and because it teaches strategy and the benefit of learning the opponent’s next move. It also teaches them how to use their wits to beat their opponents.”

Michael said attention is a primary benefit … “concentration to details and weighing of consequences to many possible courses of action.” Chess’ other strengths are visualizing an opponent’s possible responses and “re-thinking on your feet when your best laid plans are turned asunder.”

In addition, chess teaches patience. “In today’s world on action online games — where if you’re not moving then you’re losing — chess is an engaging game that has survived the test of time,” Michael said.

Michael Bedard works as department lead engineer for Qualis Corporation. NASA. Mitchell’s mother, Sharon, is a chemical engineer and works as a senior principal engineer for Raytheon Corporation.

Madison students have embraced chess in the last year. Elementary schools have formed chess teams and engaged in summer and back-to-school camps.

For more information, visit alabamachess.com.

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