LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The West Louisville Chess Club won their first title at a regional tournament. A team of fourth through sixth graders won a first place trophy at the Queen City Classic.
The Queen City Classic is a mid-West regional chess tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio. The event included more than 500 children of all backgrounds competing in an NFL stadium.
"My grandfather held a competition between me and my brother and cousin," Hailey Mize said. "Whoever learned the pieces and the board first won."
Mize said she was the first among her brother and cousin to learn the basics of chess. Four years later, Hailey has competed in dozens of matches and was even recognized at a Metro Council meeting. The West Louisville Chess Club won several trophies at the Queen City Classic.
"Everything that I do the practice, the competition, the tournaments is through West Louisville," Mize said.
The West Louisville Chess Club was founded two years ago and seeks recognition as an urban chess program in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The club currently meets at the Kuumba Youth Liberation Academy, or KYLA. Fundraising is underway to purchase more supplies and for a new location for the athletes to call home.
West Louisville Chess Club began in 2016, and currently has 30 students from kindergarten to 12th grade honing their skill and participating in competitions.
"We are folks who, if given the opportunity, yeah we love to do things like chess," Corbin Seavers said.
Seavers is the senior coach for the only club of its kind in West Louisville. He says he's noticed a growth in many of his students.
"The competitiveness builds team," Seavers said. "You have to engage in critical thinking, so all those skills are nurtured through chess,"
"For me, I try not to lose as much as I can, because you can't live that down," Mize said.
Mize said the level of competition and strategy in chess makes it her favorite activity. Still she gives her grandfather most of the trophies she wins.
"He started it and I've kept it going," Mize said. "He has help me, so I said you take the first regional trophy that I get,"
Giving away a trophy is acceptable for Mize, though, because she has plans for more trophies.
"I want chess to be in my future, and I want to play in college," Mize said.