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Guthrie, Om show sportsmanship

Michael Guthrie, at left, and Om Badhe play a leisurely game of chess back home after competing in the Chris Bond Memorial Chess Tournament in Montgomery. (CONTRIBUTED)
Michael Guthrie, at left, and Om Badhe play a leisurely game of chess back home after competing in the Chris Bond Memorial Chess Tournament in Montgomery. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – A recent tournament presented a scenario in which two Madison chess teammates, Om Badhe and Michael Guthrie, set aside petty egos and showed true sportsmanship.

Om and Michael entered the eleventh annual Chris Bond Memorial Chess Tournament in Montgomery on Aug. 8. Players participated from Madison, Pensacola and Atlanta.

At the end, Om and Michael both had 3.5 points in the Reserve (U1700) section. Following federation rules, a tiebreaker determined the first-place trophy’s recipient, which Om won. The boys split the first-place prize money.

Om is a sixth-grader at Mill Creek Elementary School. His parents are Nitin and Deepali Badhe. Michael’s parents are Todd Guthrie and Ranae Bartlett. Michael is a Discovery Middle School eighth-grader.

“Om and Michael set a great example of sportsmanship for others to follow,” Ranae said. “At Chris Bond, they both wished each other good luck before each round as they played other opponents. They … know each is a worthy adversary, but they remain friends.”

“Chess can be a very collegial sport where competitors at the top levels share mutual respect,” Ranae said. “Om and Michael set a great example of (using) competition to make each other better. That makes Madison and our chess league better.”

Chess helps Michael “think strategically and teaches me how to think,” he said. He has made friends and likes to mentor younger kids.

Nitin admits that Om does feel pressure or stress at “every tournament game. Normally, he handles it well. In the Chris Bond memorial, Om didn’t play Michael, but, when he got his first-place trophy based on the tiebreaker, he was happy since his hard efforts paid off.”

Chess is complicated because of the game’s 32 pieces and many possible combinations, Nitin said. Chess allows Om “to improve his problem-solving skill and memory. It’s a really unpredictable game; anyone can win at the end.”

“Since chess is totally a mind game, age, gender and physical strength don’t matter,” Nitin said. “It teaches Om better sportsmanship, respecting others’ skill set and treating each other equally.”

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