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SES students place at gifted tournament

 

Straughn Elementary School’s gifted students proved how gifted they were Thursday after taking home awards in both events in which they competed.

The event, the Southeast Alabama Chess and Set Tournament, was held at Troy University.

Gifted teacher Dana McMath said this is the first year the gifted students at SES have participated in the event.

“Troy puts this on every year,” she said.

McMath said students had the opportunity to participate in chess and Set.

Set is a real-time card game designed in the 1970s and consists of 81 cards varying in four features: number, symbol, shading and color.

There are 25 students in the gifted program at Straughn, but only six students competed in the tournament.

To determine who would represent the school, the gifted students competed among themselves in the classroom.

McMath said the students only learned to play Set in February.

Fifth grader Taj Patel competed in the chess portion, which was for fifth through eighth graders. He placed third in the competition.

“It was very interesting,” he said. “I picked up some new moves.”

One of those, he said, was the queen’s raid, which can be used to defeat an opponent very quickly.

“It was pretty fun and it was something to learn from,” he said.

Fourth graders Ryan Cobb and Timberly Golden took home second and third place in Set.

The pair were tied for second place at the end of the tournament and had to go head-to-head to see who won.

“It was fun and exciting,” Cobb said.

The person who won the competition only beat Cobb by one point.

Cobb and Golden played nine games of Set, and Patel played seven games of chess.

The trio said they would love to participate in next year’s event, and said they learned a lot.

“I learned you’re not always going to be the best person out there,” Patel said. “Don’t be arrogant.”

Cobb said he learned not to get down on yourself if you get second place.

They said they wish they had been able to size up their opponents before the tournament.

“I learned to be calm and not to rush,” Golden said.

Patel said it’s important not to get too eager.

Patel said for fun he and Cobb play chess.

“Some of our games have lasted one to two hours,” he said. “You get stressed out some. You only have 30 seconds to move.”

Cobb said his strategy in Set was to get ahead early.

McMath said she was very proud of all of her students.

“They did an amazing job in their first time competing,” she said.

Also competing in the tournament were fifth grader Lane Dean, third grader Barrett Morrow and third grader Alex Joyner, all in Set.