Playing in Baltimore

Richard Thomas (11) preparing for a match.
Richard Thomas (11) preparing for a match.
Exzavier Shelton

On the 4th of April, there was an international chess tournament in Baltimore, Maryland. The chess team went on to Baltimore for the tournament, there were around 1,800 participants in this tournament. One of the Lenoir City high school students was doing so well and was streamed on a platform called twitch. His name is Richard Thomas (11), and he is a great chess player. Mrs. Mullinax is the chess coach and was also the chaperone for this trip. Thomas was super nervous about these games, he tried to stay calm and keep his thoughts straight otherwise the opponent would be in his head.  

As the first rounds started, Richard was super nervous about this tournament. This was one of the biggest tournaments he had ever been to and played in. The first round is really important, if you win you will be more confident in the next game, but if you lose then you will be a little demoralized. 

It felt a little stressful playing the chess games, but once I knew I was winning I felt calm,” Thomas said. 

There were a lot of mind games going on while playing. You have to keep calm and focus on what you and your opponent are doing. If your opponent sees that you are getting nervous then they will use that to their advantage and try to keep that pressure up till you break.

“I knew that if I looked [distressed] my opponent could try and use that against me,” Thomas said.

When in a tournament this big, the top 5 boards get streamed to Twitch with a twenty-second delay so the players can’t cheat. This could all go down the drain if you are super stressed and you could make many mistakes and end up losing.

“I felt even more stressed when my game was streamed because I do not like people watching me play,” Thomas said. 

Out of 486 participants in the under 800 section. Coming 25th out of 486 is exceptional. It is super difficult to stay up there in the top 7 boards. Thomas did amazing in his first supernational tournament and we could not be any more proud of how he played!

“I was very excited to get 25th out of 486 of the people in my section,” Thomas said. 

We are all so proud of Thomas, it is amazing that he came that close to the top out of 486 participants!

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Lenoir City Panther Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *