Stevenson again triumphs at chess tourney

The Stevenson chess team once again has brought back

  • Monday, June 2, 2008 4:05pm
  • Life

Stevenson Elementary students stand by the trophies they won.

The Stevenson chess team once again has brought back

team and individual trophies from the National Burt Lerner Elementary (K-6) Chess Championship.

The school won the first place team title in K-3 championship section, first place team trophy in K-5 U900 section and 10th place team title in the K-5 championship section. Last year, the Stevenson team clinched first team trophies in K-3 U800 and K-5 U900 sections and fifth place team title in the K-5 Championship. In 2005, Stevenson won the national team title in the K-5 championship section.

The tournament was held in Pittsburgh, Pa., from May 9-11.

The annual event, organized by the United States Chess Federation, brings together the best scholastic chess players from around the country to compete in nine sections. This year more than 2,200 students from 45 states participated.

Stevenson Elementary fielded three teams and 17 of its best chess players. The K-3 Championship team of Daniel Hua, Patrick Wang, Amith Vanmane, Kevin Ma, Nathan Chou and Stephen Embry won the National Champion Team title in the 209-player section with 21 points. The team score is computed based on the top four individual scores. Several team members won individual trophies, including Daniel Hua (seventh place), Patrick Wang (11th place), Amith Vanmane (25th place) and Nathan Chou (first place among U600). Nathan also won the Biggest Upset award by defeating a player rated more than 800 points higher.

The K-5 U900 team topped the 406-player section in convincing fashion with a score of 24 points. All four team members won individual trophies each with a score of 6 points. They are Kevin Qiu (ninth place), Grace Sun (10th place), Eric Chen (12h place) and Allen Yuan (14th place).

The K-5 Championship team of Jiayi Hu, Brandon Wang, Brian Yu and Robert Zhang scored 15.5 points in the 288-player section. Individual class trophy winners include Jiayi Hu (first place among U1200), Brandon Wang (first place among U1000), and Brian Yu (second place among U1000).

Other individual trophy winners include Leanne Hwa (second place) in the K-6 Unrated section who had an almost perfect score of 6.5 and Nikolai Warner (10th place) in the K-3 Unrated section.

The following players also participated in side events. In the Bughouse tournament, Allen Yuan teamed with Jack Go from Eastside Christian School and won fifth place out of 54 teams. Leanne Hwa and Grace Sun won seventh place. Eric Chen and Kevin Qiu won 25th place. In the Blitz K-6 tournament, Eric Chen, Grace Sun, Leanne Hwa and Allen Yuan won the 11th place team trophy and Grace also won individual third place among U800.

Nationals Team Members:

K-3 Championship Team

1st Place Team Winners

Daniel Hua, 3rd Grade

Patrick Wang, 3rd Grade

Amith Vanmane, 3rd Grade

Kevin Ma, 2nd Grade

Nathan Chou, 3rd Grade

Stephen Embry, 3rd Grade

K-5 Under 900 Team

1st Place Team Winners

Kevin Qiu, 4th Grade

Grace Sun, 4th Grade

Eric Chen, 4th Grade

Allen Yuan, 5th Grade

K-5 Championship Team

10th Place Team Winners

Jiayi Hu, 4th Grade

Brandon Wang, 5th Grade

Brian Yu, 5th Grade

Robert Zhang, 5th Grade

K-6 Unrated

Leanne Hwa, 5th Grade

K-3 Unrated

Nikolai Warner, 3rd Grade

K-1 Championship

Kumho Chun, 1st Grade

Stevenson Chess Club is coached by Elliott Neff, Matt Fleury, David Hendricks and Gregg Dillingham. This year’s team to nationals is led by coaches Elliott Neff, David Hendricks and Harlan Lee.

Neff, a self-taught chess master, has been the head coach for the past five years. He is the founder of Chess4Life Center and Clarus Academy in Bellevue.

Fleury has been a coach at Stevenson for five years. He was the winner of Washington State Premier in 2005.

Hendricks has been a coach at Stevenson for six years. He is currently the scholastic director of the Washington Chess Federation.

Dillingham has been a coach at Stevenson for three years.

The Stevenson Chess Club is in its sixth full year as an after-school club activity. The Club has 86 members from first through fifth grades. The club is run by parent volunteers.

Stevenson has 582 students. It has a widely diverse student population, with the following demographics: 22 percent white; 7 percent African-American; 41 percent Asian; 20 percent Hispanic; 9 percent multi-ethnic.

Fifth-eight percent of the students speak a first language other than English. Thirty-five percent qualify for free- and reduced-price lunches. The school includes both a neighborhood program and a magnet program for gifted students.

The chess club includes students from the entire school.

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