Checkmate: Students win chess competition
Posted: December 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 13, 2011 1:30 a.m.
By Jim Holt
Signal Senior Staff Writer

Four of Hart High School’s chess players defeated opponents from four western states in Irvine on the weekend to emerge the Western champions at the 2011 National Youth Action Chess Championships.

The win marks the first national chess title for any school in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the national chess group hosting the event.

The four champs are Jackson Stallings, Sam Kennedy, Tommy Hart and Anthony Wong.

On Tuesday, they brought their seven major trophies — including the 3-foot overall trophy — to science class to formally present them to Hart High School Principal Dr. Collyn Nielsen.

“There is a lot going at Hart High School, and this is just another example of how well-rounded our kids are,” Nielsen said. “Excellence seeps into all areas,” he said.

The Hart chess team won the High School Division of the National Youth Action Chess Championships West at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine, having beaten teams from California, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon.

The four champs on the Hart High Chess Team had already traveled to tournaments in San Diego, Orange, and Glendale this semester.

“We’ve won a ton a trophies but never this one,” said the team’s chess coach, Jay Stallings, Jackson’s father. “We’ve never won a national title from a (United States Chess Federation) sanctioned event, and for me, it wasn’t with a team of recent recruits.

“These are students that I’ve had for 10 years,” he said.

“It’s kind of like winning a World Series with your own farm team — guys you brought up through the organization. And it just keeps getting better and better every year,” Stallings said.

The Hart chess team is expected to compete in San Jose in February and at the Spring Nationals in Minneapolis in April.

More here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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