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CHSD170's Chess Team Shines at the IESA State Finals

Ten members of the Chicago Heights School District 170 Chess Team recently competed at the IESA State Chess Finals in Peoria.

In this, its second season of competition, the squad, coached by Mamie Kernagis and assistant coach Dana Walaczszyk built on last year's sixth-grade conference tournament championship by completing a successful campaign that saw one-third of the team advance to the state finals competition.

The students representing the district at the state competition were Emily Belmontes (Grant), Claudia Mendoza (Washington-McKinley), Luis Mendoza (Garfield), Diego Morales (Kennedy), Celeste Rodriguez-Lopez (Washington-McKinley), Josue Perez (Garfield), Gabriel Saughun (Greenbriar), Benjamin Vera (Garfield), Oliver Vera (Garfield), and LeBaron Ward (Roosevelt).

"Our team worked hard this season to hone their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, practiced patience and logic, and demonstrated excellent teamwork and sportsmanship which are critical components of success both in the classroom and at the chess board," Kernagis said.

Sixty students participated in tryouts for the squad, with thirty making the final roster. The students came from each of the district's schools, and from the fifth through eighth grades.

At the state competition, four students represented the sixth-grade team and finished 18th overall, four students represented seventh-grade, and two eighth-graders played individually.

"We gained invaluable experience going to state and are extremely thankful for the opportunity that the competition provided our students," Kernagis noted.

"I am especially proud of the fact that our team received compliments at the restaurants and hotel for their superb behavior and their demonstration of kindness and sportsmanship."

The students shared some of their excitement in being able to represent the district at the state competition level.

"My favorite part about the experience is that I was able to grasp some important chess knowledge that I can use on my road to becoming a grandmaster," LeBaron Ward said.

"I am grateful to Ms. Kernagis for selecting me to go on this great journey, and also am thankful that the school board allowed us to travel to the state competition."

"Probably my favorite part about state finals experience was spending time with my teammates and seeing the veterans work with the younger students on different strategies," added Celeste Rodriguez-Lopez.

"I felt like the team truly connected, almost like a big chess family!"


Diez miembros del Equipo de Ajedrez del Distrito Escolar 170 de Chicago Heights compitieron recientemente en las Finales de Ajedrez del Estado de IESA en Peoria.

En esta, su segunda temporada de competencia, la escuadra, entrenada por Mamie Kernagis y asistente del entrenador, Dana Walaczszyk aprovechó el torneo de la conferencia del sexto grado del año pasado al completar una campaña exitosa en la que un tercio del equipo avanzó a la competencia estatal final. .

Emily Belmontes (Grant), Claudia Mendoza (Washington-McKinley), Luis Mendoza (Garfield), Diego Morales (Kennedy), Celeste Rodriguez-López (Washington-McKinley), Josue Perez (Garfield) ), Gabriel Saughun (Greenbriar), Benjamin Vera (Garfield), Oliver Vera (Garfield), y LeBaron Ward (Roosevelt).

"Dijo Kernagis". "Nuestro equipo trabajó arduamente en sus habilidades de resolución de problemas y pensamiento crítico, practicó la paciencia y la lógica, y demostró excelencia en el trabajo en equipo y la deportividad.

Sesenta estudiantes participaron en las pruebas para el escuadrón, con treinta en la lista final. Los estudiantes vinieron de las escuelas del distrito, y del quinto al octavo grado.

Cuatro estudiantes, seis estudiantes, estudiantes de sexto y octavo grado jugaron individualmente.

Kernagis señaló: "Obtuvimos una experiencia invaluable.

"Estoy particularmente orgulloso del hecho de que nuestro equipo recibió sus elogios por la amabilidad y la deportividad".

Los estudiantes compartieron parte de su entusiasmo por poder representar al distrito a nivel de competencia estatal.

"Mi parte favorita de la experiencia es esa", dijo LeBaron Ward.

"Estoy agradecido con la Sra. Kernagis por haber elegido estar en este gran viaje y también por agradecer a la junta escolar".

"Celeste Rodriguez-Lopez", agregó Celeste Rodriguez-Lopez, "Probablemente mi parte favorita de mis compañeros y ver a los veteranos trabajar.

"Me sentí como si el equipo estuviera realmente conectado, ¡casi como una gran familia de ajedrez!"