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2014 Merriwether Mavericks Chess Club Honors Founder

web posted May 21, 2014

MERRIWETHER At their end of the year party, the Merriwether Mavericks Scholastic Chess Club closed out its 11th year by recounting some of its rich history, awarding current members for this years achievements, and honoring the club's founder, Danna Moore.

"Mrs. Moore's vision was to form a club that supported and encouraged academic excellence, offered an alternative to physical sports, and maintained a healthy, competitive atmosphere that would foster school pride. In choosing chess, I believe she hit the nail on the head", said eighth year coach, David Whatley.

Hall of Fame member, Tori Whatley, presented Mrs. Moore with her own Hall of Fame plaque to commemorate her leadership in creating the club which, through the years, has taught over 100 children the joys of chess, and its stimulating, positive effect on critical thinking.

Historically, the Mavericks have a lot to be proud of. They have produced three, 1st place finishes, and a 3rd place finish in regional play. At the state level, they have finished 2nd and 4th in different divisions of the State Championships. South Carolina's winningest female player in 88 years and the former State Scholastic Coordinator for the South Carolina Chess Association are both tied to the Merriwether program which has now seen one of it's former members receive a 56 thousand dollar college scholarship. "Many people are unaware that some colleges and universities offer chess scholarships", Mr. Whatley pointed out.

This year's students received a certificate of achievement and a medal for their effort in learning basic skills and tactics. Awards were presented to Keith Crase, Jacques Moton, Connor Revis, Brandon Johnson, Courtney Jackson, Conner Ragland, Derek Rhodes, and Spencer South. 

The five round club championship tournament was filled with surprises as Keith Crase, with a perfect score, secured the first place trophy becoming the youngest club champion in Mavericks history. The second place trophy went to Jacques Moton who turned in a powerful, four point, performance. Third place went to former club champion, Connor Revis who is always a threat, but had to miss a couple of rounds due to other activities.

Finally, the club said goodbye to Assistant Coach, Tori Whatley, who will be starting college in the fall. Tori wrapped up her Mavericks career by playing a practice game with special guest, Olivia Watkins, a promising 6 year old who enjoys chess and the wonderful opportunities and friendships that it provides. 

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