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The Game Change: Chess ft. TCPS

The MHSAA made Chess an official state activity last year and planned to have state sanctioned tournaments in 2020...then the Coronavirus happened.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 11:48 AM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- In 2019, the MHSAA acknowledged chess as an official club activity in the state of Mississippi. They were supposed to start having statewide tournaments in 2020 but the Coronavirus derailed those efforts. At Tupelo Christian Prep, the chess club used to meet five times a week and had a 100 participants K through 12, but that was before Coronavirus.

"Now we're down to 20 participants, 20 kids playing, some of the parents are still waiting to see what happens," Chess Club director John Salisbury said.

Salisbury also said parents were concerned about kids getting exposed to the virus through playing, but he is ensuring the club is as sanitary as possible.

"You know there were some issues, you could possibly transmit the disease on the pieces even so there were some issues about that," Salisbury said. "We've sanitized the rooms and the pieces."

And all players must wear masks. Chess is a competitive game, players, even the young elementary schoolers, want to show off their knowledge of the game. Salisbury is a chess master himself, and he wants to see one of his students win on a national level but most tournaments have been canceled amidst the pandemic.

"My goal was to be the first national champion from Mississippi," Salisbury said. "It hasn't happened yet and COVID slowed us down definitely, the national tournament got canceled last year so we weren't able to participate."

Coronavirus even changed how the club operates. Each school, elementary, middle, and high, have to meet separately. For example, when the elementary schoolers are using the chess room, the middle schoolers have to play outside. 

"It's a nice breeze at least," 8th grader Richard McCluney said. "It's different, we haven't been able to do anything like competitive."

Participating in tournaments, now sanctioned by the MHSAA was something both players really looked forward to doing.

"We were really excited about it just and we trained really hard," McCluney said. "Then all of a sudden, COVID comes and we can't do anything."

Salisbury said the national tournament in the spring is still on for now. Locally, since most state tournaments take place at the universities, he doesn't know when they'll allow large gatherings for MHSAA competitions. So for now, the TCPS chess club will continue to operate under its new normal.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20931250
Hinds19961410
Harrison17562303
Rankin13369277
Jackson13156243
Madison9950212
Lee9890170
Jones8310161
Forrest7542148
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6289144
Lamar613384
Lafayette6072117
Washington5291133
Bolivar4776129
Oktibbeha457197
Panola4458103
Pearl River4437141
Warren4299119
Marshall4286102
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4062132
Union404675
Neshoba4005176
Lincoln3886109
Hancock373385
Leflore3471124
Sunflower331589
Tate325384
Pike3215105
Scott311472
Yazoo305069
Alcorn299465
Itawamba297877
Copiah293965
Coahoma290479
Simpson289586
Tippah285168
Prentiss276659
Marion266279
Leake261773
Wayne261541
Grenada256484
Covington255280
Adams246982
Newton245761
George238547
Winston226081
Tishomingo222567
Jasper220048
Attala213673
Chickasaw205457
Holmes187172
Clay183254
Stone179733
Clarke177776
Tallahatchie176140
Calhoun165431
Yalobusha160136
Smith159334
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126534
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113832
Jefferson Davis105532
Tunica103225
Claiborne101330
Benton97525
Kemper95628
Humphreys94632
Franklin82923
Quitman78916
Choctaw73917
Wilkinson65128
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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