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Mascenic chess team takes state championship

  • The Mascenic Chess Team, consisting of Finn Rogers, left, Gabe Medolo, Elsa Rogers and James Crawford won first place in the New Hampshire Chess Association Scholastic Championships in Epping on Saturday in the junior high division. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • The Mascenic Chess Team, consisting of Elsa Rogers, left, Gabe Medolo, Finn Rogers and James Crawford won first place in the New Hampshire Chess Association Scholastic Championships in Epping on Saturday in the junior high division. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 8:55PM

The Mascenic Chess Team took first place at the New Hampshire Chess Association Scholastic Team Championship in Epping on Saturday.

Team members – Elsa Rogers, Finn Rogers, Gabe Medolo, and James Crawford – came out on top of the Junior High division during the Swiss-style tournament, beating out the team from Pelham, which came in second-place.

The team is selected from the school’s more expansive Chess Club, which has a membership of about 25 students, coach Ed Rogers said Wednesday. The top four players represented the club at the competition.

Rogers said he learned the game himself as a child, though he never competed. As a Cub Scout leader, his scouts were interested in the game and always wanted to play during camp-outs, so he started a club at Boynton Middle School. The club grew in popularity, and expanded to include Mascenic Regional High School about four years ago, Rogers said, and now include both middle and high school students.

“I can see the benefits they get from it in terms of critical thinking, becoming better decision makers and being able to stick with a tough problem for a long period of time,” Rogers said. “It really helps them with the rest of their academic career.”

However, that’s not what attracts students to the club, he said.

“What gets them excited is that it’s a social game,” Rogers said. “They get to hang out and play face-to-face with another human being, which kids don’t have enough opportunities to do nowadays.”

Club members have several opportunities to participate in weekend tournaments throughout the year, Rogers said, including the championship, which was held this past weekend.

The team played four rounds against rival schools. In the Swiss-style tournament, the team with the most wins in the round gains a point – with a tie earning half a point – and the team with the most points at the end of the tournament is the winner.

Mascenic lost its first round, won two and tied once, for a total of two and a half points to win the tournament.

“We have a couple of students who really put in the time to practice this year, particularly Gabe Medolo, which paid off, because he won three out of his four games,” Rogers said.

The Mascenic Chess Club meets at Mascenic Regional High School on Mondays and Wednesdays after school.