by Ted Wieber
Congratulations to Walton High School of Cobb County on winning the 2014 Team Chess Championship!
A record 28 five-student teams from 22 different schools competed at this annual state championship event held on Saturday, March 29th at Emory University. This championship is organized each year by the Georgia Chess Association (GCA), the official state affiliate of the United State Chess Federation (USCF). The tremendous support of the Emory University Chess Club is appreciated.
The championship was a first for Walton. After only a sixteenth place finish in 2013, this Walton contingent worked their way through a challenging field of opponents in dominating fashion; they won 22 of a possible 25 game points during the 5 rounds of competition. With only one senior, they will certainly be a contender for the next couple years.
The champion Walton HS team consisted of Amaan Pirani, Nagaraj Bhagwat, Ilyusha Belegradek, Saad Khan and Suhasini Sundar.
The runner-up Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology (GSMST) A team finished in clear second place and consisted of David Mbonu, Ying Liu, Josh Brunner, Michael Yang and Anant Desai.
Above photo and more at www.facebook.com/GeorgiaChess
Awards went to the following top 12 high school teams; each of which won at least three of its five matches:
1. Walton, 5
2. GSMST A, 4.5
3. Northview A (defending co-champion), 4
4. Savannah Arts Academy, 4
5. GSMST B, 4
6. Chamblee, 3.5
7. Chattahoochee, 3
8. Johns Creek, 3
9. Alpharetta, 3
10. Swainsboro, 3
11. Pace Academy (defending co-champion), 3
12. Gilmer A, 3
Savannah Arts Academy of the Chatham County public schools was recognized as the “top team from outside the metro Atlanta region” with its 4th place overall finish.
Swainsboro HS received award for best performance by a first-time participant with a 10th place finish.
The GSMST B team was recognized as the strongest reserve or B-team in the competition with an impressive fifth place standing.
Savannah Arts and Bishop Hall Charter HS of Thomasville were jointly recognized for “farthest distance traveled” (approximately 240-250 miles).
This year’s event was noteworthy for especially strong participation from far south Georgia (4 schools), as well as strong numbers of both first-time participants (4 schools) and non-metro Atlanta teams (13 including 5 from the Athens area).
The following ten students won individual awards as top performers at each board position:
Board #1 — Sumit Sohani, Northview A
Board #2 — Paul Taylor, Chamblee; Rhys Gribbin, Swainsboro; Nagaraj Bhagwat, Walton
Board #3 — Bill Zhang, Northview A
Board #4 — Manav Mathews, Chamblee; Saad Khan, Walton; Bowen Gui, Alpharetta
Board #5 — Suhasini, Sundar, Walton; Anant Desai, GSMST A
The tournament was conducted in 5-board team-format with five students from each school facing off in five rounds of chess matches at a time control of G/30 (each player has 30 minutes).
First-time participant schools joining this year’s competition included Alan C. Pope, Lowndes, Swainsboro, and Riverwood International Charter. Other high schools competing this year included Bishop Hall Charter, Brookwood, Clarke Central, Meadowcreek, Newnan, North Gwinnett, North Oconee and Oconee.
A record six schools entered second or “B” teams in the competition: Gilmer, Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology, Newnan, North Oconee, Northview and Oconee.
We appreciate the support for this annual state championship tournament which continues to grow. This is a unique chess competition with few parallels around the United States. The Georgia Chess Association welcomes any constructive feedback on the competition including recommendations for improvement and expanded participation.
Beyond the annual team chess championship, the GCA sponsors several other individual state chess competitions held throughout the year which are targeted at high school students. These events can provide structured goals and competition for high school chess clubs. Check the GCA website calendar regularly at GeorgiaChess.org and consider a membership in Georgia’s non-profit, USCF state affiliate to stay abreast of chess news and opportunities.
We encourage your ideas and inquiries on all matters pertaining to the development of chess in Georgia.
Georgia High School TEAM Chess Champions since 2000
2013 Northview and Pace Academy (Co-Champions)
2011 Pace Academy
2007 Chamblee and Lakeside-Dekalb (Co-Champions)
2004 Gilmer County
2003 Pierce County
2002 Clarke Central
2001 Clarke Central
2000 Clarke Central
About Ted Wieber:Ted is a retired technology business executive and former naval officer. He is a past president and board member of the GCA and has served as a GCA volunteer in many capacities for over 15 years.