The Weibel Chess Team in the K-6 Championship Division of the National Elementary Chess Scholastic Championships in Nashville this weekend took third place. Yes, we strived for first since we came in ranked second. This event is both an individual and team competition. Four players on a team who finish with the most points count for the team score. We had nine players in this most prestigious of the sections which had 146 competitors. With all the other subdivisions the tournament drew a total of 2254 players. Fourteen of our 77 team members selected to attend.
Fate seemed to be against us as individually our players faced far greater competition than most of the other teams. I am happy to say the Weibel players came through with flying colors as the increase in their national ratings show.
Yesun Lee, our highest ranked player at 1879, even defeated a National Master (2245) and only lost to two Experts (over 2000). With 5 points out of 7 she led our Team and tied for 15th place. Vincent Yang (1765) and Nikko Le (1830) obtained 4.5 points. Our fourth player used for our team score could have been anyone of these four individuals as they all had 3 points: Mai-Ha Nghiem (1190), Sabrina Kuntjara (1359), Chau-Ha Nghiem (1154) and Ryan Tiong (1476). Mai-Ha and Chau-Ha both won two of the three trophies for players in this section with ratings between 1100 and 1200. Mai-Ha’s new rating of 1394 qualifies her, as a fourth grader, for a Weibel Elite player jacket. Sabrina’s new rating of 1404 means that as a sixth-grade student she will also receive an Elite player jacket.
The other players in the K-6 Championship section were Shruti Nath (1350) and Reyansh Gangal (1189).
I was thrilled with the performance of our new players to the team that entered non-championship divisions. Charlene Kwok (866) took home a fourth-place trophy, tying for third in the K-6 Under 1000 section by winning 6 of her 7 games. This brought her national rating to 1104 and places her on the Weibel Chess Honor Roll and she will receive her special cap.
Charlene’s brother, Stanley Kwok (517), did not lose a game in the K-3 Under 700 section. However, he drew one game giving him 6 ½ point score and a second-place trophy. Lucas Immanuel Oh (699) also finished well in this section scoring 4.5 points. Second grader Sara Kuntjara (864) scored 4 points in the K-3 Under 1000 division. Every time she finished a game she returned to our team area smiling, win or lose. We could tell when she won because she added a dance to her smile.
While it was difficult for me and some of the parents to smile all the time, I think we all can say we enjoyed our stay in Nashville and we bonded together as a Weibel team. Finally, I would like to thank Grand Master Enrico Sevillano, the team coach, for all the time he spent analyzing our players’ games. This is his first year at Weibel and he is truly a member of the Weibel Chess family. He wore his Weibel Chess T-shirt cap and jacket each day in Nashville as he does every Friday to our team classes.