Waupaca High School and the Waupaca Recreation Center hosted 63 chess players from around Wisconsin Nov. 1 in a tournament at Waupaca High School.
The tournament combined two events: the Northeast Wisconsin Chess Association Kickoff and a new event, the Waupaca County Open.
“Waupaca High School and Neenah High School have been alternating hosting the Kickoff Tournament, but the Waupaca County Open is an event we hope to establish,” Waupaca chess coach Tim Hiddemen said. “The Waupaca Schools chess team and club have been working closely with the Rec Center over the summer to establish the new tournament and to start a chess program at the Rec Center.
“Aaron Jenson, Andrew Whitman and Christa Hemmila came to me last spring and we decided to set up a Learn to Play program geared toward younger players and seniors,” he said. “We ran an eight-week trial program on Thursday nights at the Rec Center over the summer and it was a big success. We decided that we wanted to put together an annual tournament, but couldn’t get it in over the summer this year, so we ended up combining it with the NEWCA Event.”
In future years, the Waupaca County Open will be held at the Waupaca Recreation Center during the summer.
The Nov. 1 event was divided into Open and Beginner’s section. The Open was a rated event affiliated with the United States Chess Federation. Twenty-six players entered the Open, while 37 played in the Beginner’s Section. Ryan Breuer of Neenah was the overall winner, going 5-0 and defeating Stephan Desmoulin, one of the top players in Wisconsin, in the final round. Paul Bevans of Plymouth took third place at 4-1.
“It was really exciting to get two of the best players in the state to come to our event,” Hiddemen said. “Desmoulin and Bevans are both rated near Master Level.”
Lucas Radtke of New London went 4-1, took fourth overall and became the first Waupaca County champion. Hiddemen went 3-1-1 and took fifth overall. Waupaca High School freshmen Ryan Hemmila went 3-2 and took first place among scholastic players in the Open Section, Sam Stern of Neenah took second, while WHS senior Alex Librande took third.
In the Beginner’s Section, Waupaca freshmen Ian Mast and Neenah’s Zach Schmall went 5-0, with Schmall taking the first-place trophy on tie break points. Neenah senior Ty Ueda took third at 4-1, edging several other players who also finished with four wins for the final trophy. Waupaca freshmen Brandon Krcmar finished fourth, junior Kaylee Schmid took fifth, Big Falls’ Jonathan Moericke took sixth and Waupaca sophomore Marvin Van Asten rounded out the 4-1 players in eighth place.
Retiree John Pask took home the first-ever Waupaca County Senior Champion’s Trophy. The Waupaca Schools Chess Team will open conference competition at Nekoosa Saturday, Dec. 6. The team will compete at the State Chess Tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in March and then travel to Columbus, Ohio, in April for the USCF National High School Tournament.