SD State Scholastic Championship

Each spring the SDCA organizes a state wide tournament inviting all players K-12 to participate in this rated festival of chess fun.

Mike Bergan of Madison garnered a perfect five-wins-and-no-losses record in the South Dakota State High School Championship Tournament, Saturday, to earn the individual scholastic chess title. The event was held at O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls as part of the State K-12 Scholastic Chess Championships. Over 100 players were in attendance.

The Madison team, attempting to defend the state title it has held for two years running, entered into a seesaw battle with Sioux Falls Lincoln from the first round. Lincoln opened with four wins in the first to Madison's three, but Madison came storming back in the second round to pick up four wins while Lincoln managed only one to give the locals a 7-5 edge. Andrew Lindsay, and Mike and John Bergan each won their second games in a row in that round, while A. J. Severson added the seventh team win with his first and only win of the day. Spirits were high at this point, but round three witnessed a reversal of fortune, as Lincoln pulled ahead nine to eight in spite of wins by Josh Fritz and Mike Bergan. In round four, Mike won his fourth in a row while his younger brother, John, won his third game out of four to pull Madison back into a dead heat with Lincoln, at ten team wins each. But in the final round, only the elder Bergan was equal to the occasion, capturing a win while his five teammates lost. Steve Cahill, Goran Petrovic, Duy Nguyen, and Scott Wrotenbury all won for Lincoln, giving them a total of 14 team wins to Madison's 11 and the State High School Team Championship. O'Gorman High School, led by Kevin Truckenmiller and Matt Jordahl, each 3 - 2, finished third with 10.5 team points. Steve Cahill and Goran Petrovic each had 4 wins and 1 loss for Lincoln.

In the final round when Mike Bergan, the current State Junior Champ, met Mark Knudson of Sioux Falls Washington, the current overall SD State Champion, the battle between the long-time chess rivals proved to be all that was expected. Knudson, playing white, used his standard Bishop's Opening and Bergan replied with a symmetrical defense. The two Titans maneuvered warily for 16 moves when Knudson, seeing that Bergan's queen was momentarily out of play, initiated a king-side pawn advance, planning to blow Bergan's defenses away from his king, but at the expense of exposing his own monarch to danger. Bergan, perceiving a tactical advantage, sacrificed his knight for two pawns and the fireworks began. His assessment proved correct, and he eventually won back the lost material and gained an imminent mate threat. The tenacious Knudson, however, pulled rabbit after rabbit out of his magician's hat, and ended up threatening a perpetual check, which would have given him a draw. Bergan shuffled his king to safety, however, and with less than two minutes remaining on each clock, he administered the coupe de grace. It was a magnificent game by both players.

[White "Mark Knudson"]
[Black "Mike Bergan"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bc5 4. d3 O-O 5. Nf3 c6 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 Re8 8. O-O d6 9. Na4 b5 10. Nxc5 bxc4 11. Na4 cxd3 12. cxd3 Bg4 13. h3 Bh5 14. Nc3 Nbd7 15. Rc1 Qb6 16. b3 Re6 17. g4 Nxg4 18. hxg4 Bxg4 19. Re1 d5 20. exd5 cxd5 21. Nxd5 Qb7 22. Ne7+ Kf8 23. Qc2 g5 24. Nxg5 hxg5 25. Bxg5 Bh3 26. f4 Rxe7 27. Bxe7+ Kxe7 28. Re2 Rg8+ 29. Kh2 Qf3 30. Rxe5+ Nxe5 31. Qc5+ Ke8 32. Qxe5+ Kf8 33. Rc8+ Bxc8 34. Qd6+ Kg7 35. Qe5+ Kh7 36. Qb2 Qg3+ 37. Kh1 Qg1# 0-1

 

After a long, hard winter, it was a perfect spring day on Saturday, March 27, 2010, in Pierre, SD, when 78 students from around South Dakota came together to decide who would be crowned state scholastic chess champions at the Pierre Indian Learning Center.  So, naturally, it just had to be a day of “perfects,” to include one player even nicknamed, “Mr. Perfect,” at this year’s state scholastic chess tournament.

2010 Scholastic Champsions in K-3.jpg

The 2009 South Dakota Scholastic Chess Championships were held on Saturday, March 21, 2009, at the Garretson School in Garretson, SD, with 87 students from around the state registered for this annual scholastic chess tournament sponsored by the South Dakota Chess Association. Students from grades K-12 battled all day for the bragging rights to be called a state champion in one of four individual & team sections (K-3, primary; K-5, elementary school; K-8, middle school; and K-12, high school).

 

In the end, it was again the dominance of 4th grader Michael Knudson of the Rapid City Home School Association who provided the biggest highlight of the annual state championship as he won his fifth straight individual state title as he won the K-5 section (previous four state titles were all in the K-3 section as he won that section each of the four years he entered in the state tournament). A truly remarkable performance by Knudson as he continues to dominate the lower grades in SD scholastic chess.

 

Not far behind in this dominance on the scholastic scene was the performance of Kyle Jensen of Stevens High School in Rapid City, who won the individual title of state champion in the K-12 section. This is Jensen’s fourth straight state title (previous three titles were in the K-8 section), and with his win in the high school section he is now eligible to be sponsored by the SDCA to participate in the Annual Arnold Denker Tournament of High School Champions. This tournament sponsored by the United States Chess Federation is annually held in conjunction with the US Chess Open, which this year is scheduled for August 1-8, 2009, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

 

In the teams competition in this year’s state tournament, Mark Twain Elementary School of Sioux Falls, SD, returned to the center stage with their win in the K-3 section. Many years ago in the scholastic scene, Mark Twain ES was a dominant force in the K-6 section which eventually was changed to the K-5 section. One newcomer to the top teams ranks was crowned this year as Garretson Elementary School in Garretson, SD, won their first ever team state championship in the K-5 section. The Pierre Indian Learning Center in Pierre, a long-time power on the SD scholastic scene, took the state championship title in the K-8 section, with the Greater Sioux Falls Home School Association winning the K-12 section in a return to their former dominance on the scholastic scene.