Game, set, Match

K-12 chess tournament set for HVA

Hardin Valley Academy Chess Team members are hosting inaugural HVA 2019 Spring Team Scholastic Chess Tournament — open to all kindergarten through 12th-graders in public and private schools along with home-schooled students — Saturday, Feb. 2, at HVA. Front row, from left, are club sponsor Amanda Danson and members Lucy Hall, Eric Zhao and Jacob Fanikos. Back row, from left, are members Ryan Hall, Ben Koob, Matthew McCoig, Charles Thorton and Peter Moncur.
Knox County-area students who love chess have a chance to play and just have fun.

Hardin Valley Academy Chess Club has organized inaugural HVA 2019 Spring Team Scholastic Chess Tournament, which is open to all students from kindergarten through 12th grade — public, private and home schooled — Saturday, Feb. 2 at HVA, 11345 Hardin Valley Road.

Check-in time will be from 8 to 8:45 a.m. with a coach’s meeting at 8:45 a.m.

“This is the first time ever to have hosted a chess tournament at Hardin Valley Academy,” said Dr. Xiaopeng Zhao, who is helping club members organize the event. He is the father of the HVA Chess Club founder Eric Zhao, a 10th-grader.

“We don’t want it to be a serious competition,” Xiaopeng Zhao said. “We want them to have fun — like a chess party.”

Entry fee is $40 per team — but free for girls.

Xiaopeng Zhao explained the club wants to encourage girls to be more involved playing chess.

The event also helps the club members learn how to organize events, Xiaopeng Zhao said.

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State Civics Essay Contest winner from SJNCS

Adriana Zablah, St. John Neumann Catholic School eighth-grader, has been recognized for her leadership initiative by winning first place in Tennessee Secretary of State Office’s Third-Annual Civics Essay Contest.

Adriana recently earned a TNStars 529 College Savings Program $500 scholarship award from Tennessee Secretary of State Office, as well as a trip to the state capitol in the spring.

“I’m really happy and extremely grateful because the scholarship money is really going to help out for my college, and that’s pretty cool,” said Adriana, daughter of Alex and Ana Zablah.

“I really like to write,” she added. “I tend to lean more toward creative writing, so it was really fun to have the opportunity to write an essay.

“I guess what (participating in the contest) means to me is that my essays are good, too, so maybe I can get more into that kind of writing as well and not just limit myself to creative writing.”

While she said she has not chosen a specific college, Adriana indicated she might apply at Duke University.

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‘I just love America’

Rotary’s German exchange student a junior at Webb School

“I just love America,” German Rotary Youth Exchange student Antonia Schmitz-Peiffer told Rotary Club of Farragut members during their regular noon meeting in Fox Den Country Club Wednesday, Jan. 9.

“I love my stay here,” Schmitz-Peiffer added. “I have wonderful host families … I made a lot of my friends at my school who will be friends for life.

“I’ve never been to America before I came here. I love it here.”

Schmitz-Peiffer, 17, from Dresden, Germany, is spending the 2018-2019 school year as a junior at Webb School of Knoxville, where she plays flute in the school’s pep band.

“I’m leaving next summer after school,” she said.

Schmitz-Peiffer is taking turns living with three host families: Paul and Cindy Kraus and their son, Cole Kraus, a 10th-grader at Webb; Christian and Brigitte Kunz; and Maggie Reynolds.

What Schmitz-Peiffer said she misses the most is her bicycle, which is her main form of transportation at home, where public trams, buses and trolleys also are available.

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