NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Six Columbus Chess Club members competed in the 2017 US Chess SuperNationals VI earlier this month, making New Rochelle proud in the largest rated chess tournament in the competition's history.
The contest, organized by the US Chess Federation, was held at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee, from May 12 to May 14, and attracted 5,577 players from across the country.
Fifth graders Darren Chen, Ronny Perez and Luis Jimenez, along with fourth grader Maya Concha competed in the K-5 U900 section. They played seven rounds of chess over the three-day tournament. Darren won five out of seven games and came in 45th place in the country. Their team came in 35th place overall and 7th place as a four-player team.
Second graders Ignacio Valencia and Dylan Solvyev competed in the K-3 U700 section.
They came in 16th place as a two-player team.
"I will probably remember the long tables that held up to a thousand kids," said Maya. "I learned that to win more rounds, you need to practice, practice, practice. If you practice every day, you will get better and will also be able to focus on the game."
The chess club's success on the national stage came after a lot of hard work. The team gave up recess every day to study and play chess. For fifth graders, it was a three-year journey.
"Columbus students competed with the best chess players in the country in Nashville," said Mark Hegenauer, the chess club advisor. "It is our students' determination, perseverance and tenacity that I admire most. These characteristics will serve our students well in the future. The qualities needed to be successful at chess are often the same skills needed to be successful in life."