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Young chess champ

Chess is an ancient game, created hundreds of years ago in India to develop better thinkers. It's still doing that.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells sat down with the some young players and a champion who brought home a trophy bigger than he is. The kids are in the Chess Club at Wolf Creek Elementary in Broken Arrow. The club includes 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.

Thomas LaPointe is a 3rd grader and he was a big winner last weekend at a tournament in Midwest City. "I just feel really great that I won."

He picked up the game playing against his father. Took him awhile, but beating dad was like a springboard. Thomas' mom Cindy LaPointe: "As soon as he did he started winning tournaments, he did great this year we're really proud of him."

She says success at chess has given Thomas a lot of confidence, even a little swagger maybe. "I can do what I do best and I get to have a lot of fun."

The tournament last weekend was sponsored by the Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization. There are about 400 members statewide, 236 competed. Thomas won in the kindergarten through 4th grade category.

The guy across the table from Thomas is Isaac Stansell, a 5th grader. As I watched I saw them pass on lots of chances to take the other players pieces and wondered why. Isaac Stansell: "If you took that piece then something more dangerous would happen." Then the thrill of that small victory might lead to your defeat.

When the game was developed 1,500 years ago it was supposed to improve thinking skills and it still does.

Rick Wells: "Is this your favorite part of school?" Thomas LaPointe: "Yeah." He says he's pretty good at science, spelling and math.

If you'd like more information or might like to start a chess club at your school, the Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization has a website you can check out.
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