Check it out: P.S. 41 chess team are national champs
BY A.G. BASOLI | The P.S. 41 chess team made all the right moves at Nashville’s K-12 Scholastic Chess National Tournament, a.k.a. the Supernationals V.
Third graders on the Greenwich Village School chess team playing in the K-3 section became national champions at the chess über-tournament in April, snatching a dazzling, hard-fought victory from the older, better-funded players of elite private schools, such as Dalton.
Leading the Village team in the Under 800-rated category was new national champion Achilles Imundi, 8, who came out on top with a perfect 7/7 score against 473 other children. In the Championship section, for players rated above 1,000, P.S. 41’s Daniel Levkov, 9, placed third out of 278 players. Levkov is the former national second grade co-champion and was invited to play in the World Youth Tournament in Slovenia last December. At a chess event at the Marshall Chess Club, on W. 10th St., he held his own against Norwegian Super Grand Master Magnus Carlsen.
Much like the Olympics, the Chess Supernationals, this year in its fifth edition, takes place every four years in Music City, drawing players from first to 12th grade between the ages of 4 and 19 across the United States. According to the U.S. Chess Federation, which runs the event, it is the largest rated tournament in the world. This year broke all records with 5,335 participants. Its 21 sections are arranged by grade and rating reflecting the players’ ability. Over a period of three days the children play seven rounds of chess, often sitting for up to four grueling hours per round in large tournament hall, from which the parents, relative and fans are banned.
The P.S. 41 Chessers in the Under 800-rated category competed against 75 other teams, and in the K-3 Championship beat out 30 teams to first place, winning over Dalton at tiebreakers.
“It is rare to win both sections. Usually it is one or the other,” said Jeremy Scheinbach, who runs the after-school program at P.S. 41 and coached the team to victory.
Scheinbach has run the after-school program for the past 10 years, but competing at large tournaments is a relatively recent venture dating back three years. The program is entirely parent-sponsored.
First graders of the P.S. 41 chess team distinguished themselves too and came in seventh, though they unofficially won first place as the cutest team — an achievement for which Chess Life Magazine is running their photo on the cover of its June issue.