Tonawanda News

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October 22, 2012

Another time around ... the chessboard

Tonawanda News — Carved horses of a different sort will ride again next weekend at the Herschell Carrousel Museum in North Tonawanda, as the Carrousel Chess Classic returns to the site for its second year. 

Michael McDuffie, U.S. Chess Federation tournament director and founder of Buffalo’s Archangel 8 Chess Academy, said he noticed that the museum’s annal Brass Ring Thing Renaissance Festival, which includes chess matches, would often conflict with the Mayor’s Cup Chess Championships in Buffalo. To help make up for the conflict, he suggested an October event at the museum, a celebration of National Chess Month.

Katie Loveless, the museum’s director of education, said McDuffie contacted the museum with the idea and both organizations decided to collaborate on the event.

“It’s a little outside our realm,” she said, “but our mission is not just educating people about carousel and band organ history, but to be a community resource, to promote educational opportunities ... and this is a way to get people through the museum we might not usually see.”

The event brought a lot of first-time visitors to the museum last year, she said. In between rounds of chess, museum staff took young participants and their families around and gave them a tour and ride on the carousel.

“It was a really successful event last year and we really wanted to continue it this year,” Loveless said.

This year’s tournament will run from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, featuring three rounds of no-elimination chess, an all-girls competition and an awards ceremony with trophies for top competitors. It’s open to chess players in kindergarten through 12th grade.

McDuffie was pleased with last year’s event, but he’s hoping for more in 2012.

“We had a decent response,” he said. “Obviously, there’s more room. We always like to have more.”

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