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Madison teams compete at SuperNational Chess Tournament

Rainbow Chess Team members at the Opryland Hotel are, from left, Boone Ramsey, Mitch Bedard, Jenson Wilhelm, Aparna Bhooshanan, Mercedes Zich, Michael Guthrie and coach Ranae Bartlett. (CONTRIBUTED)
Rainbow Chess Team members at the Opryland Hotel are, from left, Boone Ramsey, Mitch Bedard, Jenson Wilhelm, Aparna Bhooshanan, Mercedes Zich, Michael Guthrie and coach Ranae Bartlett. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – The Rainbow Elementary School Chess Club members were on board for the world’s largest over-the-board chess meet.

Rainbow participated in the SuperNational Chess Tournament in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on April 5-7. Held every four years, this tournament combines national chess tournaments for all students in grades K-12.

“The level of competition was unlike any our kids have faced,” Ranae Bartlett said. Bartlett and Bill Nash are the team’s volunteer coaches. “They gained invaluable experience playing seven chess matches over three days against competitors from across the country.”

Jenson Wilhelm and Mercedes Zich won a team trophy in the Top 25 as a K-3 (unrated) team. Fifth-grader Michael Guthrie won five out of seven matches and placed in the top 14 percent in the K-5 category with 412 children competing. Other players were sixth-grader Mitch Bedard and third-graders Boone Ramsey and Aparna Bhooshanan.

Rainbow brought the second largest team from Alabama.

No prerequisites applied to enter. Categories ranged from beginners with no rating with the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) to the masters level.

Chess players in grades K-6 competed in this huge ballroom at the Opryland Hotel. (CONTRIBUTED)
Chess players in grades K-6 competed in this huge ballroom at the Opryland Hotel. (CONTRIBUTED)

The 2013 SuperNationals had 5,335 participants from 47 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Top prizes included university scholarships and U.S. team places to the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates in December.

“Together we created the world’s largest over-the-board chess tournament ever,” Robert McLellan said. He is USCF marketing director. “Not just awesome in numbers, there was some awesome quality chess with hard fought battles in every section.”

Corbin Holland, a sixth-grader in Asbury home school and Horizon Chess Club member, placed fourth in the K-6 category. “A tremendous finish,” Bartlett said. Horizon’s chess coach is Corbin Holland Sr. Beth Bero is sponsor.

Elora Holland and Alex Lay represented Bob Jones High School in the tournament. Sheila Hadden is Bob Jones’ sponsor.

Rainbow’s sponsor is teacher Noel Newquist. Rainbow Chess Club will compete at the Queen’s Quest Chess Tournament on May 18 at Horizon Elementary School.

For more information, visit uschess.org.

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