Chess Students Show Resilience While Competing Nationwide
CGPS Chess Department

Every year, usually in December, many of our Grammar School and Prep School students play in the National K-12 Grade Championships. This chess tournament is open to players from around the country, and divided into 13 sections — one for each grade K-12. The individuals and teams that win each section are National Champions for that grade.

This year’s National K-12 Championships were replaced by a novel online edition due to COVID. Predictably, the new format presented an array of technical and logistical challenges compared to the annual trip to Florida, but the event was still well-attended and highly competitive.

Named the 2020 US Chess/ChessKid K-12 Showdown, it was scheduled for the weekend of December 12-13. The tournament drew more than 2,800 players from around the country; the first chess event of this scale to be conducted entirely online. 

Young Lions Keep Their Focus Under Trying Conditions

Unfortunately, technical issues with the K-5 sections eventually led to their cancellation after two games (of four scheduled) on the first day. Our parents and students showed extraordinary patience and team cohesion throughout a frustrating day.

The event organizers released a statement promising to refund all the K-5 players’ entry fees, and organized a free make-up event on Sunday, December 13 for the players inconvenienced on the first day. Many of our students chose to play, and their games improved every round! We look forward to them participating in more events as the year progresses.

The members of our Kindergarten through 5th Grade  team included: 

  • Benji C., Santiago E., Ryan H., Anton L. and Aarav V. in 1st Grade
  • Beatrice C., Ryan G., Miles L., Anna L., Gillian O., Mark R. and Ferdinand T. in 2nd Grade
  • Miles A., Aaron P. and Luke S. in 3rd Grade
  • Jeremiah A., Freya C., Sammy G., David M., Quinn O. and Christopher W. in 4th Grade
  • Dana L. in 5th Grade

Challenges From ‘Isolation’ Format; Traveling Star Cements GM Title

The grade 6-12 sections were played largely trouble-free.

Our elder CGPS teams turned in medal-winning performances, finishing third in grades 10 and 11. 

The 11th grade team was led by Daniel L. with 5 points out of 7; his strong 3/3 on day two vaulted him into 8th place individually. Every player chipped in: Harris L. contributed 4.5 points (9th place individual), while Gabe W. and Caleb M. added a critical 2.5 and 1.5 points, respectively.

The 10th Grade team spent most of the event fighting at the very top, with a perfect 4/4 start by Leonardo L. leading the way; he finished with 5.5 and 5th place individually. The result here was also achieved thanks to a real team effort: Julian D. scored 4.5 against tough opposition, Joshua L. turned in a solid 3, and debutant Richie H. supplied 2.5 points to the cause. 

Absent CGPS star Hans N. was abroad playing in over-the-board tournaments, chasing rating points to confirm his Grandmaster status, which he achieved shortly after his classmates competed here. Hans broke the magic 2500 rating barrier just after Christmas, tying for second in a strong international event in Bassano del Grappa, Italy. Congratulations to the latest CGPS Grandmaster!

Hans did dial in from the road to help the team during the K-12, trying to provide Leonardo with advice before his 5th round game against highly rated Vincent T. in the Sunday morning clash of grade-10 tournament leaders (he didn’t get through on the phone though…). 

Hans has since booked a gruelling series of European events in early 2021, and we will be closely following his adventures across Serbia and Italy. His two events after gaining the title also saw him finish high (second again in Italy, then clear first in Serbia), but his pace has slowed a bit as he plays incessantly this year. 

Kevin M. was our only 9th grader competing in this event. He scored a solid 4.5 points out of 7. While he tied for 21st place, mathematical tiebreaks landed him in 29th. This was likely the result of two opponents being unable to play due to technical issues.

David S. was the lone CGPS player in the 6th grade section. After struggling with technical issues and being unable to play at all on the first day, he won all three of his games on day two!

Our students and parents showed admirable maturity and patience, focusing on what they could control: playing their best! There is no doubt that the chess culture we have at CGPS ranks at the very top — nationwide. We owe our students and parents a great deal of thanks for that.

Our coaches provided great insight and wisdom to our students, as usual: Program Director Sophia Rohde, Grandmasters Marc Arnold and Jonathan Tisdall, Andre Harding, John MacArthur, Daniel Rohde and Daniel Vulis.

  • All School

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