By John Person
Special To The Herald
WATER VALLEY – Davidson Elementary hosted a Mississippi Scholastic Chess Association tournament on Saturday, April 22. Thirty-four players from nine schools (and a couple homeschools) played five rounds of chess. Players, families and coaches nourished their strength throughout the day with burgers, hotdogs and barbecue served by Dunn’s Country Store proprietor Gene Dunn and his able staff.
Water Valley 2nd-grader Caspian Coughlin (Kagan and Alexe) won sole 1st place in the K-3 division. Caspian won four games, and gave up one draw to Water Valley 3rd-grader Ethan Hoffman (son of Elizabeth Dunn) who won 3rd place. Grayson Moore (Kelli and Chad), also a Water Valley 3rd-grader, took home the second place trophy with 3 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. Grayson clinched 2nd place by winning his 5th-round game with a wonderful, rare discovered double-check promotion checkmate that made bystanders gawk.
Water Valley 4th-grader Anthony Butler Jr. (Anthony Sr and Angel Green) tied for 3rd place in the K-5 section. Anthony scored 3 wins and 2 losses. Although Nethanel Dunn (Mike and Karen) is in the 5th grade at Davidson Elementary, he played-up to the K-8 section and finished 3rd with 3 wins, 1 draw against Robert Kyser (who finished 1st in K-8), and 1 loss against Saatvik Agrawal (who finished 2nd in K-8).
Water Valley’s 7th-grader Hayden Eubanks (Rodney and Nicole) and 8th-grader Matthew Dunn (Mike and Karen) were both asked by the Tournament Director to play-up into the K-12 section so the strongest players in the tournament would all have a chance to play against one another. Matthew tied for 1st place with Justin Fulcher of Desoto County with 4 wins each. Matthew beat Justin in round 1, but lost to Hayden in round 5. Justin beat Hayden in round 2. Hayden finished in a clear 3rd place with 3 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. Some of these players are bound to face each other again on Saturday at the State Individual Championship Tournament in Jackson.