Chess as a team sport? Sure, it’s like singles tennis as a team sport: the team score is an aggregate of individual results.
Team chess is everywhere from local three-round weekend afternoon chess tournaments to the biennial Chess Olympiad where national chess teams compete for the Hamilton-Russell Cup. Just like tennis teams, chess teams encourage engagement in their sport, and the sporting aspect bolsters chess as an academic tool that helps Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The elementary, middle and high school chess teams were just one example of teamwork at the 2015 NC K-12 Chess Championship held at the Hilton Charlotte University Place Feb 14th-15th. Even the youngest 2015 champion, K-1 champion Alfred Ye pictured here, wasn't born knowing the game -- it took a team of grown-ups, including his coach, Jeff "Pig" Jones of Pig Chess Services in Raleigh, to teach him the game, nurture his skills and provide him opportunities for excellence.
Organizing and promoting the competition
Providing a venue for any statewide sporting event requires a lot of teamwork, especially when the bulk of players are 2nd-5th graders filling up the 6,000+ square foot ballroom shown above. This year, the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy (CCCSA) led by Peter Giannatos organized and ran the North Carolina championship with the help of many volunteers.
Publicizing the achievements of these young athletes of abstraction is yet another puzzle to be solved by smartphone-toting and web-wielding scholastic chess supporters. Unlike some professional, college and Olympic sporting events, this championship had no satellite trucks on the lawn nor mainstream media photo-journalists with neck-straps for their cameras. This year, ChessStream.com led the media charge by streaming the top games of the two-day championship live over the Internet for over 95,000 page views. (If you didn't catch the live action, you can still look at the archived games.)
And ChessStream's live coverage was just one part of the surge of web and social media attention around this year's championship: