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chessteam5_02_1Five members of the Lower School chess team traveled to Portland, Oregon, to compete in the National Elementary Tournament over the weekend of April 26-28. Stevie Wagner, Izak Shapiro, Mike Chao and Lucas Fowler (all Grade 6) and Douglon Tse (Grade 5) surpassed expectations by finishing tenth in the country in the highly competitive open section, the best result ever for a Milton team; four of the five boys placed higher than their seeded positions going in. Highlights of the tournament included a sweep of the Round 5 games on Saturday night; Mike’s three wins and a draw against substantially higher-rated opponents; and, climactically, Stevie’s 3-hour-and-45-minute cliffhanger victory in the last round. A hall that had held over 2100 players at the start of the round had only eight still at their boards when this memorable game ended.

The Lower School chess program includes a recreational group for novice players and an advanced group for those ready to take on interscholastic competition. The groups practice once a week from November to March, and the team prepared for the Nationals by playing in local tournaments.