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May 13, 2011 > Local schools excel at chess championships

Local schools excel at chess championships

Submitted By Joe Lonsdale

Twenty-one members of the Mission San Jose Elementary (MSJE) chess team traveled to Dallas, Texas, for the National Elementary School Chess Championships from Friday to Sunday, May 6-8. Close to two thousand elementary school children (and more than 400 schools) competed in these competitions that are held by the United States Chess Federation. It was clear: MSJE - coached by Shalin Shah, Goutam Das, Bharat Kalyanpur and Joe Lonsdale - was the top elementary school in the country, finishing in the top four in each of the four championship sections.

In the kindergarten-sixth grade section, which is the overall elementary school championship, MSJE finished second to a team from Illinois in this section. Armaan Kalyanpur led MSJE with a 5.5 score (five wins and a draw) in the seven games. Alvin Kong (4.5 points), Erik Wong (4.0) and Alex Yin (3.5) also competed for the MSJE K-6 team. A total of 24 teams competed in this very tough section. Weibel Elementary, also from Fremont, took third in the K-6 section.

In the K-5 championship section the MSJE team finished fourth in the country. MSJE was the only school in the country to finish in the top 20 in both the K-6 and the K-5 section. Amit Sant (5.0) was the top scorer on MSJE in this section; Shalin Shah (4.5), Steven Li (4.5), Eric Zhu (4.0), Sayan Das (3.5) and Anjan Das (3.0) also competed in K-5.

The K-3 championship section is the primary school championship. MSJE finished fourth in this section. John Chan was the top scorer on this team with 5.0. Mihir Bhuptani (4.0), Ojas Arun (4.0), Alvin Zhang (3.5), Luke Zhao (3.0) and Eddie Liu (2.5) also competed in K-3 championship. Tommy Koh competed in the K-3 under-800 section and scored six points.

Rishith Susarla (a kindergarten student) was the top member of the MSJE K-1 team with five points. Overall, the MSJE K-1 team came in third in the nation. Soorya Kuppam (4.5), Chenyi Zhao (4.5), Jeffrey Liu (4.0) and Amulya Harish (2.5) also competed for in this section. All four players won their last round to finish in third place, moving from 10th where they started the round of games. Dalton and Hunter elementary schools finished as the top two schools in this section. Both those schools are private schools from New York City that award chess scholarships to top local chess players.

MSJE was the only school in the country that finished in the top four in each championship section. No other school was in the top four in more than two sections.

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