Academy’s budding chess masters make right moves at states
* The school’s freshman team earned the first-ever perfect score at the Ohio Grade Level championships in December and will compete April 15-17 in the National Junior High K-9 Championship.
Published: Saturday, March 5, 2011 8:06 AM EST
Chess master Bobby Fischer said, “You can only get good at chess if you love the game.”

A number of Columbus Academy students must love the game, because they’re getting very good at chess.

The ninth-grade team of John Hughes of Worthington, Garrett Levine of Columbus, and Rahul Ramaswamy of Powell are preparing to compete in a national tournament after winning their fourth consecutive state title at the Ohio Grade Level Championships in late November.

Chess coach Alan Casden, from Columbus Chess Lessons, said the ninth-grade team earned the first perfect score at the tournament and set two state records in the process.

“First, it was the highest team score ever recorded in the history of the Ohio Grade Level state championship,” he said. “Second, it was the first time any team ever achieved a perfect score; that is, none of the team members had a single loss or draw except against their own teammates, when they were forced to play against each other in the final rounds.

“It is a record that can never be broken,” he said.

Hughes and Ramaswamy tied for the first-place individual state championship in their grade level at the contest, with Levine placing fourth.

Casden said the team members study at Columbus Chess Lessons and practice together at the Mulligan Chess Club, based in Worthington.

Hughes, 14, is ranked No. 1 in Ohio for his grade.

He competed in the national K-12 Grade Level Championship in December and tied for first place. In seventh grade, he tied for first place in the same national contest.

He said his dad introduced him to chess.

“My dad got me into chess in second or third grade,” Hughes said. “I won my first tournament in fourth grade. I think I got a little bit lucky, but winning that tournament gave me some motivation and I started practicing online chess and studying books about chess.”

Full article here.

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