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Chess champ challenges mayor

Fourth-grader Maxwell Carey, left, makes a move as classmates at Bryant Elementary School and Mayor Jim Paine, left, watch the chess challenge. Carey challenged the mayor to a game after winning a tournament last month at the Superior Public Library. Shelley Nelson

When Mayor Jim Paine walked into the library at Bryant Elementary School, Maxwell Carey was ready to get down to business.

The fourth-grader and library chess champion challenged the city's mayor to a game.

Maxwell wasn't interested in making speeches. He was ready to get down to the business at hand — challenging the mayor to a game of chess.

After seeing some people playing chess at the library, Maxwell said he asked another kid to teach him how to play. Then he started playing against his parents and brother — but first he had to teach Mom. Then he found out about the tournaments at the library.

"There were not as many people as I expected," Maxwell said. "I played three games, and I won each one of them." He said the third game involved a chess clock, used to expedite long-running games.

"Chess is a game that you can play for a lifetime," said Dane Mattson, a national master who teaches chess at the Superior Public Library from time to time. "I may be a teacher, but I'm also a student."

Before the match, Mattson gave fourth-graders a lesson in how the game is played and how the pieces move on the board.

Mattson said he became a master by making a lot of mistakes and learning from them.

After lessons last month, the library held a tournament that Maxwell won, prompting the showdown with the mayor Wednesday.

"First, I should say chess is my favorite game in the whole world," Paine said. "I think it's more than just a fun way to spend a few minutes, or a few hours in some cases. Every time I play a game of chess, I feel like I learned something, not just about the game, but about the person I'm playing or a little bit about myself."

The lessons learned extend beyond the game, he said.

Paine invited the fourth-graders who gathered to watch Wednesday's match to come to his office — where he keeps a chess board near his desk — to challenge him to a game.

"I lose most of the games I play," Paine said. "I win some, and I definitely learn from each one of them."

But that wasn't the case Wednesday. After a nearly 10-minute match, the mayor called out checkmate.

"I thought it would be a good challenge," Maxwell said, adding that he might seek a rematch. "If the mayor is playing chess, he's got to have good knowledge of it."

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