The Spring Open Tournament has two divisions, 4th and 5th Grade and 6th and 7th Grade. The 4th and 5th Grade Champion Noah Smoulder, and the 6th and 7th Grade Champion Jadon Smoulder, played each other in a best of three games match to earn the right to have their name placed on the coveted Spring Open Champions plaque. Noah gave his older brother Jadon a good challenge but it wasn’t good enough. Jadon won the best of the three game format and will get his name added to the Champion’s plaque as the 2021 winner.
Another “first” for the chess club came in 2019. Autumn Joyce became the first female champion to add her name to the Spring Open Champions plaque. She opened the door, and as of this year a large number of girls have since joined the chess club.
The year 2016 became the first year that the name of a son of a previous champion was added to the Champions plaque. Kenny Baker had his name added to the Champions plaque not once but twice. Kenny won the Spring Open in 1990 and in 1991. Twenty-five years later in 2016, his son Ryan Baker, had his name put on the plaque.
On a more somber note, there was yet one more first for the Chess Club. Last year, 2020 became the only year that the Spring Open Chess Tournament was canceled. The Spring Chess Tournament had just started when Covid-19 struck and closed the area schools. The name “Wuhan Virus” was placed upon the Spring Open Champions plaque in 2020 as a “historical remembrance” to the situation that came to be that year in the Chess Club’s long history at Ridgewood.
Submitted by Terry Guilliams
Ridgewood Chess Club Advisor