In Arizona, the winning team in the kindergarten through sixth grade category of the recent state scholastic chess championship must know that their victory is tainted.

At least I hope so.

The defending champions were not allowed to compete this year, because they are a team of homeschooled students, and this year they were ruled ineligible because they do not all come from the same school.  Well, duh!  It's hard to field a team when your school comprises no more than a handful of students covering a wide age span.

The rule was created, I suppose, to keep teams from being formed across school boundaries, and the one who creates a contest should have the right to set the rules.  However, it does make it clear that the intention is more about promoting schools than about encouraging excellence or chess playing.  Leaving homeschooling out of the question, why shouldn't friends who attend different schools be able to form their own teams and compete?  This isn't Japan, where school is life, and loyalty to one's school a cardinal virtue.

"State Champions" has a hollow ring when you know you've defeated your opponents by legal maneuvering rather than chess prowess. 
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 25, 2007 at 11:33 am | Edit
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