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Midvale Journal

PowerChess hosts July tournament

Sep 08, 2023 11:35AM ● By Annabelle Larsen

Two competitors face off. (Annabelle Larsen/City Journals)

Utah company PowerChess hosted another tournament, and the competitors did not disappoint. Tension was high for the young chess players as they maneuvered their way through this complicated game, but thankfully they each had support from friends and family, as well as their coach and the founder of PowerChess, Powell Walker. 

During this most recent competition several parents and siblings talked about their experience with PowerChess.

One parent, Shauna, discussed their family’s passion for chess, and their longtime friendship with the owner. “Chess has always been a part of our home life,” Shauna said. Her family not only participates in PowerChess tournaments once a month, but they also take lessons from Walker, as well as going to chess tournaments across Utah. 

Several other parents said that their kids look forward to these tournaments and that often the players can barely sleep the night before because they are so excited. 

Another unique aspect of the game is seeing the pairs of players line up to begin their games. Oftentimes, an adult pairs up with a grade school-aged kid and the match that ensues is close, with each side giving it their all to be the champion. One family said about chess: “There’s a universality that connects generations, and I don’t know where else you would find that.”

Walker said PowerChess has only been around for over a year, but has been able to grow immensely during that time. They have even teamed up with the Park City School District and Canyons School District to host after-school chess programs, coupled with their group classes and tournaments. This company has also been able to expand to be able to vendor with Salt Lake County and have access to the recreation centers across the county to help host these tournaments and classes. 

Walker started playing chess at age 8 and fell in love with the game. This interest for the game can be seen through his dedication to teaching chess “fun’damentals” (as Walker calls them) that is implemented into the learning process for the game.

This passion for chess is also seen in the participants, such as Braxton, who loves the fact that chess has millions of possible combinations and moves to play the game and hopefully win. 

Another kid who participated in this last tournament was Beckham Rawle who came with his father, Jason Rawle. Beckham is 6 years old and excels at chess. He even secured the second spot in the Under 650 section of the tournament. Beckham, having seen a chessboard for the first time while on vacation a year ago, started his journey to chess stardom. His dad said once his son picked it up, he was, “obsessed.” Practicing and reading about chess between 3-4 hours a day, Beckham is a chess-force to be reckoned with. He also participates in national and state competitions across the country. 

Version Cortez Senior took first place, with Nathan Peterson in second in the over 650 section of the tournament. Eli Mullin from Rowland Hall secured first place in the under 650 category, with Beckham Rawle of Ridgecrest Elementary School taking second. λ