HS State Champions 2014

Walton High School Wins!

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


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 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

2014 Walton

2013 Northview and Pace Academy (Co-Champions)

2012 Chamblee

2011 Pace Academy

2010 Alpharetta

2009 Chamblee

2008 Lakeside-Dekalb

2007 Chamblee and Lakeside-Dekalb (Co-Champions)

2006 Chamblee

2005 Chattahoochee

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.


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5 Responses to Walton High School Wins!

  1. […] Walton High School Wins! Georgia Chess News Congratulations to Walton High School on winning the 2014 Georgia High School Team Chess Championship! … […]

  2. Fun Fong Fun Fong says:

    Great article, and what a great photo of yourself, Ted!

  3. cdowis says:

    I noticed that there were no entries for Cherokee County. I would like to help some of the high schools here but do not know how to run a chess club. What resources do you have that can help me?

  4. Ted Wieber Ted Wieber says:

    Creekview high school is the one Cherokee County school that has participated in our annual HS team championship in recent years. I believe they did so twice, driven by an interested teacher who unfortunately has since moved to another county school system.

    Generally speaking, most high school clubs / teams in any given year are lead either by one or more very interested students or by an enthusiastic school teacher-sponsor. About a dozen schools have pretty much made this championship an annual tradition regardless of the size or quality of their chess club. Others are more intermittent in their participation and, in addition, we have first-timers every year. There are well over 100 high schools with chess clubs in the state, though many are very informal and low key.

    I recommend that you peruse the website for info on current GCA officers, local tournaments, chess clubs, classes, tournament director training and community chess coaches. There is a network of individuals out there; good people who may be able to help depending on your location and specific situation.

    Personally, I would recommend starting by focusing on one school in particular (rather than the entire 8-to-9-high school Cherokee county) where you already have some interest, or see the potential for it. Perhaps you have or know children at one of the high schools.

  5. says:

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog.Much thanks again. Cool.

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