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Pope SNCO Wins Interservice Chess Tournament

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kris Levasseur
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Master Sgt. Dan Ranario, 3rd Aerial Port Squadron, recently took home the championship during the 2010 Interservice Chess Championship, clinching an undefeated victory over top competitors from every branch of the U.S. military.

Sergeant Ranario will join the U.S. led team participating in the 2010 NATO Chess Championship.

"It was really exciting to do so well in this year's tournament because this is my last year competing," said Sergeant Ranario. "I will be retiring this year, so I'm glad that I will get to be a part of the U.S. team and hopefully we will do well in the NATO tournament."

As a boy growing up in the Philippines, Master Sgt. Dan Ranario had his first encounter with the game of chess when his father, an avid chess player, sat him down and taught him the rules of the game.

"I started playing chess when I was 10 years old, and again in 2002 when I was re-introduced to the game by Col. Samuel Echaure, (Sergeant Ranario's former mentor)," he said. "He really encouraged me to get involved in the military tournaments and playing with him made me better."

Sergeant Ranario has been honing his chess skills for the past nine years and is ready to face the competition.

Sergeant Ranario said he is preparing for the international competition by practicing at home, playing online games and reading chess books.

Now, years later, that initial training will prove valuable as Sergeant Ranario, along with several others, takes his place on the U.S. chess team - a spot given to the top finishers from each service.

"I feel very special and privileged to make the cut; not everybody gets to represent the U.S. chess team," he said.

In order to gain a spot on the team, Sergeant Ranario competed at the base level, the Air Mobility Command level, the Air Force level and finally at the interservice level where he competed against the top players representing the U.S. Navy, Army and Marines.

"It's awesome to know one of your Airmen is out there doing their best and representing the Air Force so well," said Maj. Ketchum, 3rd APS Commander. "How often do any of us earn the right to represent our country at a NATO competition? It's a great accomplishment. I think MSgt Ranario can bring home the gold for the U.S."

Sergeant Ranario is the only Pope member to earn a spot on the team this year, a distinction he has earned six times before. He has also made the Air Force chess team seven times previously.

"I am extremely thankful that my squadron gave me the time off to compete in the tournament," he said. "My squadron, Pope and AMC leadership have been incredibly supportive of me and helped me get to where I am in the chess tournaments.

"With all we have to do and with deployments nowadays, it's hard to get away sometimes, but they have really worked with me. I would have never gotten as far as I have without their support."

The U.S. chess team will travel to Koege, Denmark to compete in the 21st NATO Chess Championship scheduled Oct. 18 through 22.