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Madison teams enter National K-12 Chess Championship

MADISON -Teams from Madison competed against some of the most advanced players in the country at the National K-12 Chess Championship in Orlando, Fla.

While in Orlando on Dec. 8-10, the Madison youth not only increased their expertise in playing the game of chess but also wedged in time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Disney World.

Coach Will Stevenson and sponsors Julie Goldston for Discovery Middle School and Nancy Brandon for Rainbow Elementary School accompanied the Madison group, along with Ranae Bartlett, Executive Director of Madison City Chess League.

Of 28 students from Alabama competed in the national championship, 26 of the competitors were members of Madison City Chess League. “This is the toughest scholastic chess tournament of the year, and our students saw it as an opportunity to play some of the highest rated players in the country,” Bartlett said.

“Bob Jones sophomore William Spanier came out of his first round with the biggest grin on his face,” Bartlett said. Spanier had been paired against an individual rated over 2000, who ended up winning third place in the tenth-grade section.

“Although William lost that round, he explained, ‘I got to play someone rated over 2000! I never get to do that here in Alabama.’ William was exactly right. This is why we compete at this event — to give our kids the chance to learn and grow,” Bartlett said.

Often, the chess players, like people in actual life, learn the best lessons by losing. “Our chess league celebrates everyone who enters the arena to compete,” Bartlett said. “It takes perseverance to play chess at a competitive level, and our kids are learning how to persevere at a very young age.”

First-graders Blaise Bruni and Noah Hsu from Rainbow and Samsara Rajbhandari from Horizon Elementary School all three ended the tournament with 3 out of 7 possible points. They also had the best time. “I was so proud of our youngest competitors,” Bartlett said.

Madison City Chess League recognized overall individual award-winners: Xavier Bruni, tied for 20th place in third-grade section; Pulak Agarwalla, 18th place in fourth-grade section; and Mohak Agarwalla, tied for 10th place in eighth-grade section.

Bob Jones Ninth-Grade Team placed seventh overall. Team members were Josh Lin, Hayden Billmann and Will Bao. Billmann also received a second-place class prize for students rated 1200-1399.

Discovery had two teams to finish in the top ten. Discovery eighth-graders Jenson Wilhelm, Ben Kosan and Will Cox placed sixth. Will Cox also received an individual award for second-place class prize for students rated 1000-1199. Discovery seventh-graders Victor Lundy, Constance Wang, Kennedy Gore and Ryan Shurtz placed eighth.

For more information, visit madisonchess.com.

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