Wednesday, May 3, 2006 - Lahontan Valley News - "Northside students compete in checkers" 

Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle Standard    Lahontan, Nevada

 Northside students compete in checkers

Marlene Garcia
Marlene Garcia,
May 3, 2006

Students at Northside Elementary School grab their lunch trays and checker boards each school day as they compete in a noontime checker tournament.

Fourth grade teacher Jan Morgan decided to revive the tradition that was a staple at the school until four years ago. 

"It's fun and they love it," she said about fourth, fifth and sixth grade students who compete against classmates at their grade level. "It's just fun to do something away from the classroom."

Morgan started the checker tournaments 10 or 12 years ago, but the practice lapsed over the past several years. This year, 66 pupils signed up to play.

Cassie Bell, 12, was confident as the checker board was set up and she chose a color. She said she plays checkers with her cousin and on her computer. Later, things didn't look so good.

"I stink at checkers. I only have one and she has about 20," Bell said about the game between her and Alicia Young, 12.

Young decided to sign up for the tournament "because I was bored."

Danny Vezina, 11, said he plays the game at home with his siblings and step-father.

"I like play so much I got a lot of experience at it," he said.

Another love is chess, which his step-father taught him to play. Vezina noted that when Bobby Fisher was just 12 years old, he was a chess grand master. The student is looking forward to playing in a chess tournament Morgan is planning after the checker champion is named.

The tournament is open to fourth, fifth and sixth grade students because they share a common lunch break. The winners from each grade level will compete to determine the school winner, Morgan said.

She made sure each student understood the rules before the tournament started Wednesday.

"I am the judge. I am the queen," she joked with the competitors. "When this is done a lot of the students will sign up for the chess tournament. They're really good at it."

Marlene Garcia can be contacted at