At the Career Guidance Center on the campus of Salalah College of Technology (SCT in Oman) this 19th of May, the English Language Forum* hosted its final contest** of the 2014-2015 college year.
This was an open chess contest for all SCT students. Some 30-plus students had signed up in advance to participate in the tournament which began at 9am and finished around 1:30pm yesterday. (Eventually each participant who arrived on the date of the tournament subsequently actually played in 4 to 7 matches.)
This was the second time an SCT open chess tournament for students was held at the same venue—the last time was in June 2013 at the same location. The first chess tournament at SCT was organized by Mr. Stoda in June 2013. That event was held with support of both the Dean of the college and the ELC.
The first grouping of SCT students started at 9am and played a modified round-robin, which followed a Swiss rules format for carrying out such tournaments. (In all, there were ten students in this first grouping. They paired off against five others in their to determine the top players in Group 1.) By the end of the competition on that 19th of May, among those finalists who ended up playing in the Final 4 round of the tournament, each SCT student-finalist had had to each play six or seven total matches against a variety of different opponents.
Group 1 (and later group 2) players were given 20 minutes to complete their matches. If the match was not finished in that time, a tournament stop clock (or timer) was introduced to accelerate play.
Initially, most the 30-plus students who were expected to arrive to play in the tournament on May 19th were supposed to play in this same Swiss format. However, as either some of the Omani students had class conflicts at SCT with classes and exams or they simply came late too play for other reasons (i.e. they overslept or had family commitments), the organizers of this tournament determined to allow a second group of players to start a more traditional round robin. This second group of students began play after 10am.
That second group of SCT students had to play until the two top winners in that group were determined. This second group of competitors finished play by noon.
Immediately after this--starting at 12:00--, the two most victorious chess players from Group 1 began to play the most victorious students from Group 2. This round was known as the Final 4.
The victors of the first two matches started the SCT championship match the final round at 1pm. Those victors who met in the championship were Saeed Ali Saeed Fadhel and Mosallam Said Al-Amri. Finally, Saeed Ali Saeed Fadhel proved victorious in that final knock-out round.
The main organizers of this chess contest at SCT this year were Dr. Raja Thiruvengadam of the Chemical Engineering Department and Kevin Stoda–representing the English Language Forum of the ELC. The English Language Forum will award prizes to the finalists in a June ceremony. Dr. Raja–an enthusiastic chess player, a coach, a national level (in India) certified arbiter–brought extensive experience to running such an event. Raja encourages more SCT students to get more serious about such chess competitions in the future.
Below are the final results from the 2nd SCT Chess Contest :
|1||Saeed Ali Saeed Fadhel
|2||Mosallam Said Al-Amri
|3||Ali Suhail Mohammed Al-Mashaani
In general, both Mr. Stoda and Dr. Raja encourage the playing of chess by more SCT students. “There is certainly no reason to wait 2 or more years for another contest,” concurs Mr. Stoda.
The game of chess furthers the student’s minds and should help the average SCT student to become more analytic and/or to be able to plan ahead more logistically. Perhaps a similar contest can be held next year by another department or perhaps it is about time that students at SCT organize their own chess clubs. Interest in chess play at SCT appears to be quite high among some student circles, but there is certainly room for more students and staff to become involved–perhaps offering a tournament or club activities on a Saturday or by organizing more regular tournaments.
*The English Language Forum Committee at SCT is under the aegis of the English Language Center on campus. The English Language Forum promotes SCT student extra-curricular activities, such as arranging educational trips, educational tours, and the holding of a variety of contests.**
**Contests held by the English Language Forum this 2014-2015 calendar year at SCT include: photo contest, art contest, Arabic and English writing contests, and this chess contest.