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WHNT News 19 anchor returns for rematch with kids of Madison City Chess League

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - For the last two years, WHNT News 19's David Kumbroch has gone to play a kid from the Madison City Chess League as part of a fundraiser.

Kumbroch, along with other community leaders, gets a sponsor. If the kids win, the sponsor pays up cash.

Now, when you see a bunch of kids challenging adults to quiet games of contemplation, you're tempted to assume they're all prodigies, thoughtful wunderkind -- serious beyond their years.

So it was nice to learn the 7-year-old that played Kumbroch picked up her pieces for totally kid reasons.

Sahithi Mynampally explains she started playing chess. "Because I wanted to be like my brother," she said.

She practices each week. She adds, "I just want to become strong, so I can beat him."

But she practices in between kid stuff, like games of Minecraft and watching Alabama football with her family.

She asked David, "Did you see Nick Saban? He smiled twice in that game. He never smiles!"

When asked about her favorite part of chess,  it's not the centuries of history or the strategic depth.

She hesitates, then tells us, "Um . . . Having fun?"


Madison City Chess League Executive Director Ranae Bartlett expands, "They get to have fun playing a game, but at the same time, they get to develop their minds. So it's a great way to get kids engaged and exercise their brains."

You don't have to be a virtuoso to benefit.

"Chess teaches kids a lot of valuable life skills," Bartlett adds. "Chess teaches critical thinking skills like analysis, logic, problem solving, time management. These are things that you want all kids to learn how to do."

But the kids don't need to worry about that. Mynampally says she likes playing in tournaments because if she does well they announce her name on the intercom at school.

She adds to that, "My brother has been on the intercom so much times."  She wants to catch him one day.  She knows she'll have to study and practice to do it.

As far as how the game went, last year David Kumbroch lost handily, but he says he actually practiced this year. He won a very close game.

Don't worry though, his sponsor made their donation before the game was even played.

Overall, the kids still won the night.

And if you want to use a score to measure that, they won eight games compared to six.