This tournament marked my 6th Arizona State Championship. Usually the State Grades and State Championships rotate between Tucson and other locations (most likely Gilbert, Phoenix, Pinetop and Mesa,) but this year both were held in the Gilbert/Mesa area. The State Championship is one of the highlight of the year and most players and parents try to make sure they are eligible to compete at this level.
Besides having my usual work as a team and individual coach, I was also asked to be one of the instructors at the tournament. I had to present a short lecture to the parents and answer any question they might have about chess.
I also got to experience being a first-time chess tournament dad. I have to say it was a very pleasant experience and I was very proud of Ani. I think the real pressure will start in a year or two when she starts playing more serious chess.
The tournament was held at Gilbert School and was open to those that qualified for the State Championship from previous events. The organizers were able to isolate an area where about 15 coaches could go over each recorded game, make comments and help with tips and pointers. At the end of each successful analysis, the instructor would stamp the score sheet with the “Yes Way!” stamp that later could be redeemed with toys and other perks.
Tucson Schools and individuals did extremely well. I am proud to say that we dominated virtually in every section in both individual and team sections. I think the combination of several chess organizations in the Tucson area—SACA, Arizona Chess For Schools, 9Queens, and the addition of several new young coaching talents (Warren Harper, Ben Marmont, Danny Schucker, Amanda Mateer, made a huge difference.
The team results are not yet published. For individual results please check uschess.org and sazchess.org.