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Shelbyville's Povinelli excels in chess

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Braydon Povinelli waiting for his opponent at the 2019 National High School Chess Championships.
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Shelbyville’s Braydon Povinelli practicing chess at his house.

By PATRICK MURPHY - For The Shelbyville News

In a room of the Povinelli house, there is a bookcase full of trophies from various chess tournaments. These trophies were won by Braydon Povinelli.

Shelbyville's Povinelli began playing chess when he was in the sixth grade. One day in November of 2016, Ron Povinelli, Braydon’s father, and Povinelli drove to the Boys Club. Four months later, Povinelli would play in his first chess tournament: the Indiana Chess Grade State Scholastic Championships.

After finishing second, Povinelli advanced to the National Junior High Scholastic Championships. He tied for first.

Since playing in his first tournament in the sixth grade, Povinelli has played in over 60 chess tournaments.

“He works really hard and he works almost every day,” Ron Povinelli said. “When he gets home from school, the first thing he does is his homework. When he’s done, he works on chess.”

Now, Povinelli is a freshman at Shelbyville. He is a straight-A student with a 4.0 GPA. After school, he spends a hour-and-a-half playing chess. In a week, he spends over 10 hours playing the game.

During Povinelli’s hour-and-a-half practice, Ron Povinelli said he plays online chess games and tactical puzzles. These games help Povinelli prepare for the various moves in matches.

“What I do a lot is calculate moves,” Braydon Povinelli said. “I try to formulate plans of what I want to do next.”

This year, Povinelli finished in a tie for second place at the Scholastic Chess of Indiana Championship in January. With his second-place finish, Povinelli qualified to play in the National Scholastic Championships in Schaumburg, Ill. this weekend.

What people might not know about chess is how long games last. A chess match lasts two hours. On any chess board, there are eight pawns, two each of rooks, knights and bishops and one king and queen.

At the championships this weekend, there are 1,700 players from grades K-12. Over three days, Povinelli will play seven games. According to Ron Povinelli, his son could play 30 hours of chess. 

“I would say reaching these championships it’s definitely reflective of his work ethic,” Ron Povinelli said. “It’s probably why he’s a good student. He works hard at school and in chess.”

Patrick Murphy is a Sports intern for The Shelbyville News. He is a senior at Ball State University.