NEBRASKA STATE SCHOLASTIC 34 YEARS OF TRADITION PART I.
[This page is a copy of one saved from url=http://www.novia.net/~bdraney/scholastic1.html on 17 March 2002; original content created by Bruce Draney]
In 1965, the Lincoln Chess Foundation and Bud Narveson, an English Professor and chess player from UNL, decided to hold a tournament to determine the top high school teams and players in the state. The innaugural Nebraska State Scholastic was held on January 16 and 17, 1965, on the UNL Campus at the Nebraska Student Union. Interestingly, the event was really only for high school students originally, as unlike today there were practically no rated chessplayers below age 16. There was a Championship and a Challenger Division. The event drew the largest attendance in Nebraska history up to that point as 72 players took part and 16 different high schools were represented. Don Rogers of Omaha Central took 1st with a 5-0 score, while his teammate Steve Erickson tied for 2nd with 4.5-.5. This propelled Omaha Central to the first of what was to become many State Scholastic Team Titles including this year's 1998 and last year's 1997 events. The tremendous response to this event, led to it becoming a permanent tradition, nearly always held in February or early March. Although most Scholastics were held in either Lincoln or Omaha, the 1976 event was actually held in Fremont, Nebraska.
In 1966, the 2nd Scholastic on February 12th drew 102, 94 of whom were high school students and eight of whom played in a College Division. Winner was Jim Fuxa of Omaha Central with 5-0. His teammate John McKean scored 4-1 to propel the Eagles to their 2nd straight team title.
In 1967, the 3rd Scholastic held on February 12th, drew 93 players. John Watson of Brownell-Talbot who later became Nebraska's only IM, tied for 1st with 4.5-.5 with L. Stone of Scottsbluff. Central took the team title for the third year in a row.
The 1968 event drew 76 players on February 10th. Ted Herman of Lincoln High took top individual honors with a score of 5-0. For the 4th year in a row, Omaha Central took the top team award.
The 1969 event was won by John Watson of Brownell-Talbot with a 5-0 score. Lincoln High finally broke Central's string of team titles by taking clear first with 15.0 team points. John later went on to take first in the National High School Championship.
The 1970 event was won by Dan Draney (no that is not a misprint), my brother, who helped propel Lincoln East to its first team title. Dan's teammate, Tom Brakke took 2nd with 4-1.
The 1970 Scholastic was the first to offer an Open section which was won by Steve Morrison of Bellevue with a perfect 4-0 score. Dan later went to New York to participate in the National High School Chess Event that year. Dan scored 5-3 at the National Tournament.
In 1971, Loren Schmidt, Mike Chess, John Treantos and Evan Blanchard tied for the individual title, all with 4.5-.5, while Central and North Platte captured the top team title. Loren went to nationals and scored 4.5-3.5.
In 1972, the tournament was expanded to include a Junior High section for the first time. Individual champion was Mike Chess of Omaha South. North Platte took the team title. I played in this event for Lincoln East in the Challenger Division which was unrated, and scored 3-2 finishing in 19th place out of 47.
In 1973, my Senior year at Lincoln East, Omaha Central dominated, capturing the team title easily. Mike Blankenau scored a perfect 4-0 in an event where the 5th round had to be cancelled due to the tremendous number of participants. Rodney Malpert won the first Elementary championship ever held, while Edward Taylor won the Junior High title, and John Tomas of Omaha won the Open. [Thane notes: I finished second to Rodney Malpert in 1973. I was a fifth grader that year]The 10th Scholastic in 1974 ended much the same as the first one had, with Central easily winning the team title. John Milton and Mark Seitzer tied for 1st. Thane Plambeck of Kearney and Will Pressnall of Washington won the Elementary section and Mark Kitchin won the Junior High. Rich Chess took the Open.
Richard Perry won the 11th Scholastic in 1975. Omaha Burke took the team title.
In 1976, Kent Nelson and Rod Malpert tied for 1st with 5-0, while Omaha Burke repeated as team champion.