Thursday, July 17, 2008

Young star heading to Lubbock event

Young chess star headed to prestigious Texas tournament

Kaitlynn Loos has found success and friends through game
By Peter CentineoThe Weekly News
Published: Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:47 PM CDT

Three years ago, Kaitlynn Loos decided she wanted to play chess.

Her father Doug had no idea why she wanted to play, but he and his wife Karen encouraged her and the 12-year-old has had great success.

She’ll be an eighth-grader at South Middle School this fall, and she’s also done well in the classroom, sporting a 4.0 GPA.

Doug Loos believes chess has had a direct impact on his daughter’s success in the classroom.

“She’s very competitive to start off, and she’ll tell you exactly how she feels. She doesn’t mince words,” he said. “But she’s also very analytical, and that comes from chess. I think it’s really had a great impact on her.”

Kaitlynn has won a number of tournaments, including the 2008 K-12 South Dakota State Championship this past winter. That victory earned her an invitation to the Susan Polgar Chess Invitational, being played in Lubbock, Tex., July 27 through Aug. 1.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s very exciting,” Kaitlynn said. “I started playing back in 2005 when we moved here and I started at Grandview. I didn’t have a lot of friends when we moved and chess really helped me meet some good kids.”

Kaitlynn and her family were living on the west side of town and she was attending Corral Drive Elementary School back in 2005, but she never got the chance to play chess because of the distance between the school and her home.

“My dad wanted to make sure I could get home OK and he thought it was too far to walk. It was pretty far but when we moved it all worked out,” Kaitlynn said.

She was extremely happy knowing she could pursue chess, and meet other kids with the same interest.

“When we moved and I found out I’d be able to play chess I was really happy. I played at Grandview and still go there and play,” she said.

“During the school year we play every day and go to at least one tournament a month.”

Her next tournament will probably be her biggest to date. She did go to nationals last year in Denver, but the Susan Polgar Chess Invitational is one of the most prestigious in the country.

The event is for girls in grades K-12, and just one girl from each state is invited. Polgar is a grandmaster in chess and has won four women’s world championships and five Olympic gold medals. To get the opportunity to play in such a competitive event is something Kaitlynn has been wanting for a long time.

“I think I’ve gotten some good experience from the different tournaments I’ve been to. This tournament is going to be very hard. There are going to be very good players,” she said. “But I should do OK.”

Karen Loos said Kaitlynn has what it takes to win it, it’s just a matter of getting there and seeing what the competition is like. She said Kaitlynn is very serious about chess, and said her daughter will probably be playing for some time.

“She’s been going to the Susan Polgar Web site and there’s a lot of good information there for her. The thing is when she goes to these tournaments she could be playing 18-year-olds in high school, but she does well,” Karen said.

The tournament will be played on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

Here is the full story.
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