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Rainbow students take first-place win in national chess championship

More than 40 youngsters from Madison competed in the National Elementary Chess Championship at Gaylord Opryland Hotel on May 8-10. (CONTRIBUTED)
More than 40 youngsters from Madison competed in the National Elementary Chess Championship at Gaylord Opryland Hotel on May 8-10. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – A chess team at Rainbow Elementary School won first place in its division at the National Elementary Chess Championship on May 8-10.

“This (win) was the first elementary national championship in Alabama history,” Ranae Bartlett said. Bartlett serves as executive director of Madison City Chess League.

Gaylord Opryland Hotel hosted the contest. More than 2,200 students from across the United States competed in multiple divisions over the three-day weekend, Bartlett said.

Rainbow team with second-grader Geon Park, fourth-grader Constance Wang and fifth-graders Maanasi Limaye and Mercedes Zich were first-place winners in the K-6 U1000 category. Park reached eleventh place with six out of seven possible points.

Zich ranked 19th individually. Wang tied for 20th place with five points.

In the K6 Championship section, the Rainbow team with Boone Ramsey, Jonah Tuttle, Jenson Wilhelm, Will Bao and Hayden Billmann placed eighth. Ramsey led the team with four points and received third place in his class of players rated under 1100.

Rainbow had never fielded a team in this section. “The K6 Championship section was the toughest section of the entire tournament,” Bartlett said. “An eighth-place finish was outstanding.”

Victor Lundy, Sam Fellows, Ethan Kueck, Edward Calinsky and Leah Lessmann’s team won 15th place in the K-5 U900 section. Lundy earned an individual award in eighth place. Fellows reached tenth place.

Rainbow’s team with Zachary Calinsky, Karsten Wallace, Ben Lessmann, Corinne Wilhelm and Simon Fellows placed 17th in K-3 U800. Calinsky led with five points.

Other Rainbow competitors were Cameron Edwards, Audrey Holschen, Caroline Wang, Alex Edwards, Wesley Gaddy, Madeline Edwards, Catrina Holschen and Mallory Morgan.

Coaches for the Madison students competing at nationals were Bartlett, Bill Nash, Noel Newquist, Don Maddox, Paul Mulqueen, Will Stevenson, Bradley Denton and Discovery Elementary School student Michael Guthrie.

“New York sent 689 students, the most from any state. Alabama had less than 60 students total, but over 40 were Madison students,” Bartlett said. “We’re very proud of everyone who competed and thankful for our supportive parents.”

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