27th annual cribbage tournament held at Chicago Park School | TheUnion.com
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27th annual cribbage tournament held at Chicago Park School

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

Having to leave Paradise after the Camp Fire, Allen Plowman said there’s been one important thing that’s remained in his daughter’s life.

Losing their town, home and school, Plowman said his daughter, Nina, had one thing that kept her most mentally and socially engaged — in addition to something to form an identity around: cribbage.

Plowman was discussing the card game while overseeing his daughter, a sixth grader from Chico, compete at the 27th Annual Sierra Youth Cribbage Tournament at Chicago Park School on Saturday.

The tournament, which began that morning, was a 57-person competition divided into two divisions: participants under 12 and those above. After rounds of play in the morning, those with high scores qualified to compete in a playoff that afternoon, with the winners taking home cribbage boards.

Competitors came from here; Sacramento; Chico; the Bay Area; and Roseburg, Oregon, according to Dan Zeisler, former dual superintendent of Chicago Park and Clear Creek school districts and the tournament’s director.

As a teacher, Zeisler saw cribbage improve his students’ critical thinking skills — even for those who hated math. He then began hosting the tournaments.

“I was watching kids’ math skills just go off the charts,” he said. “It’s one of those things that kids can take with them forever.”

Nina Plowman herself said she became significantly better at the subject after having studied the game with her father.

Maybe most interesting about the game, noted Zeisler, is how cribbage often creates links between the youth and elderly — which was readily apparent at Chicago Park on Saturday as adults in their 60s could be seen interacting with students in grade school.

Chicago Park students at the tournament — like sixth graders Aria Merritt, Aby Mooers and Piper Pagan — said they learned cribbage from “Mr. Z.” The three, who said cribbage is their favorite card game, frequently practice together.

“It’s fun and it gets us more involved,” said Mooers.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email scorey@theunion.com or call 530-477-4219.


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