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Murray Life Magazine Looking Back

Murray Life Magazine now offers you the chance to relive the past and read full copies of articles you missed. We like to call it "Looking Back" Every other week, we will deliver you a different article that helped make Murray Life Magazine what it is today. From our very first issues in the 90's to today's magazine, we have built a large collection of high quality content, and now we are now sharing it with you one more time.

This time we are flashing back to Sping 1997, with a story about Chess, the Chess champion.
Murray Life Magzine

Check it out Mates: Chess is a real Chess Champion
By Dahn Lemoine

When Robert and Brenda Volp were expecting their fourth child it was a family consensus that the name of the addition began with the letter C. In keeping with the alphabetically correct three siblings, Alissa, Breanna, and Dylan the family began auditioning boy and girl names. Quite a long list of C names accumulated before the baby was born. At birth, the family was still uncertain of a name for the baby boy.

Robert finally arrived at a name when the baby was about six days old and the rest of the family joyfully agreed. The name chosen was CHESS. For no other reason than the position of the first letter in the alphabet. Little did they know then, that by the time Chess was in kindergarten,he would embark on a journey intended for champions.

Mr. Volp began teaching him how to play chess when he was five years old. He enrolled him in the Chess Club at Murray Elementary School. Dr. Wayen Bell, math professor at MSU and Chess Club coach began working with him and quickly realized his natural ability for the game. Dr. Bell asked Mr. and Mrs. Volp if he could enter Chess in a competition for grades K-3. Robert and Brenda thought kindergarten age was a little too young for such intense competitions and initially suggested to Dr. Bell that they wait another year before entering.

“Dr. Bell enlightened us to the extent of the natural ability for the game that Chess had, and he urged us to allow him to enter the kindergarten competition,” said Brenda. “We knew that he loved the game and played quite well, but we really didn't know what a gift he had until he began to work with Dr. Bell.

His first season of tournament play began in 1995 at age six. Chess competed in two small local tournaments, a larger tournament in Lexington, the Kentucky Regional in Marion, and the Kentucky State Competition in Lexington. In two tournaments he was a member of the Kindergarten through Third grade first place team. He also competed in the National Scholastic Tournament in Tucson, Arizona where his team finished 21st of 25 trophy places out of 40 competing teams.

Chess is now in the third grade at Murray Elementary and has 22 trophies to his credit. The 1998 Kentucky Chess Championship trophy for first place was awarded to him and he shared the first place trophy in the K-3 section with a fellow teammate Blake McCuiston. In Nashville, Tennessee the Bellevue Tournament 1998 also awarded Chess the first place trophy. The 1998 National Chess Championships were held in Peoria, Illinois where Chess scored four and one half points: one point for a win and one half points for a draw.

Chess has four different chessboards: two travel sets, one computer set, and the roll-up board he uses in the competitions. “All the kids use their own chess boards,” he said. The board is on a piece of felt-like material that rolls up like a sleeping bag and the kids put their pieces in a little bag to carry with them.

Chess enjoys other sports such as basketball and baseball. “He is a pitcher on his baseball team,” says his mother. “I think the concentration that is required in playing chess has helped him stay focused when he is playing other sports.” His dad says, “It has also helped him learn sportsmanship in all sports. Dr. Bell commends him for helping other kids in his chess club to learn the game,” he added.

Robert and Brenda didn't have any idea nine years ago when they named that beautiful little boy, Chess, that it would be anything more than a name. Yet here he is, entering the world of champions at such an early age. A competitor and victor in a game of his choice and ironically, of the same name.




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