The Hamilton K-8 School Chess Team took 1st place in the K-8 Rookie section at the 2022 CalChess Super States Championship on Sunday April 10.
It was the school’s first appearance at the state championships and fielded a team of 16 players representing 2 sections. The team also placed tied for 2nd in the club category and included top 20 finishes from Aaron Chen (5th place 4/5), Jesus Mendieta (10th place 4/5), Marcela Sherlyn Flores (16th place 3/5) and Larry Calle Labou (17th place 3/5). 8th graders Emily Elbing and Olivia Hall represented Hamilton in the K-8 Intermediate section. All players played 5 games in total and the kids bravely dealt with the endurance, guts, and determination it takes to play a full tournament start to finish lasting the whole day.
The team is coached by Abel Talamantez, who recently joined full time as Program Director of the Hamilton Chess Team, having previously worked as the Chess Director of the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco. He also serves as chair of the U.S. Chess Clubs Committee and is the 2021 U.S. Chess Organizer of the Year. His goal is to use chess as a tool of social empowerment as well as to develop critical thinking and to build chess players, students, and citizenship. The program emphasizes the importance of practice and preparation, learning from mistakes, winning and losing with grace, while emphasizing sportsmanship and fair play.
Through online tools such as Chesskid, students have been able to play, practice and interact online away from the chess club. Matches nationally and internationally are also organized. The students have played online matches against DC Girls Chess Club and they have an upcoming match on April 26 against the Capablanca Chess Club from Chihuahua, Mexico. Also on April 16, a girls team competed at the ChessKid USA Girls and Women’s Championship online on Chesskid.
“We want to thank the entire community for all their support, especially the parents, who support their children through this exciting experience,” said Stefanie Parnell, Principal Hamilton K-8 School.