CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Kids and adults gathered Saturday to play against some of the best chess players in the world. Children as young as 10 competed with international champions who flew in from across the country.

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At the Denver Open Chess tournament, players showed off their strategy alongside some of their idols. But the moves are helping them win more than just the game.

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Sullivan McConnell, a 7th grader and four-time state champion, was making moves and looking up to professional players like Tatev Abrahamyan, a grand master.

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“Chess is a very humbling thing,” McConnell told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

“Some people think it’s a nerdy sport. But I don’t think it is,” Abrahamyan said with a chuckle.

Danny Rensche, an international master also played in the tournament.

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“When you win, it’s because you did what you were supposed to do…” Rensch said.

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He said that pushing the pieces is more than just a board game. It teaches lessons that will help kids jump ahead in life.

“…and when you lose, there’s no one else to look at but in the mirror and be responsible for what you did wrong. And I think there’s something very empowering about that,” Rensch said.

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Sara Herman, a 17-year-old player, said that she had learned how to get through real-life challenges the same way that she gets through the game.

“I just try to find the best move I can every move. I try not to think about the game as a whole. I try and think of it as one move at a time,”

The tournament continues through Sunday at the Embassy Suites in Centennial:

Embassy Suites and Hotel Denver Tech Center
10250 East Costilla Avenue, Centennial, CO 80112

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LINK: http://www.coloradochess.com/