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Rainbow Chess Team competes as largest Alabama team at nationals

MADISON – Madison City Chess League represented its hometown and state well at the 2019 National Elementary Chess Championship. Rainbow Elementary School’s Chess Team had the largest team from Alabama and one of the country’s largest teams.

Chess players from across the United States gathered for the championship on May 10-12 at Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn.

“Our coach Will Stevenson and chess team sponsors Nancy Brandon and Jennifer Smith traveled with the team and supported them throughout the tournament. Our kids practiced weekly and competed in numerous tournaments to prepare them for nationals,” Ranae Bartlett said. Bartlett is Executive Director of Madison City Chess League.

Rainbow’s team with Landon Drummond, Marek Fries, Karsten Wallace, Artem Starenki, Arnav Maskey and Holland Lang won first place for K-5 Under 1200. “This team dominated their section and only needed one team point in the final round to maintain their lead. They ended up adding three points and won their section convincingly,” Bartlett said.

Rainbow’s K-1 Under 500 team with Jackson Campbell, Emory Howell, Isaac Kreusser, Annabelle Hsu, Jacob Kuang, Brantley Davis, Olivia Smith and Eamon Jemison claimed third place. In 2018, this team placed fifth. Most team members are kindergarteners. “The future looks bright,” Bartlett said.

The youngest competitor was pre-kindergarten student Annabelle Hsu. She ended the day with an impressive 2.5 points in the K-1 Under 500 section.

In K-3 Under 700, team members Cooper Meyer, Caden Jordan, Tyce Crosswy, Emma Kuang, Connor Jemison and Jack Meyer ranked in sixth place.

The K-5 Under 900 team from Rainbow took eleventh place. The team includes Christine Wang, Ethan Van, Ally Kuang and Caroline Wang.

“Each full team of at least four members from Rainbow received awards as the top four scores comprise the team score — impressive for each full team place at a national tournament,” Bartlett said.

“A special shout-out to Rainbow’s three-person K-3 Under 1000 team of Blaise Bruni, Noah Hsu and Jethro Jones, who finished in 12th place, narrowly missing the top ten with only three players,” Bartlett said.  

“Fourth-grader Xavier Bruni competed in the highest division available in his age range, K-5 Championship section, where he defeated or drew against players hundreds of points higher than he was rated,” Bartlett said. “Xavier ended the tournament with an increased rating over 1600.”

In individual rankings, Marek Fries claimed a first-place tie with 6.5 points, K-5 U1200. 

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