NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Five inches of snow did not deter the more than 100 chess players who gathered at Columbus Elementary School on Saturday, Dec. 9, to participate in the National Scholastic Chess Foundation Columbus Winter Scholastic. The City School District of New Rochelle was represented by students from Isaac E. Young, Albert Leonard, Columbus, Webster and Ward.
Seven students from Columbus competed in the Elementary Booster section, winning first place as a team. Individual awards were won by Kevin Lopez and Alan Verghese. Also playing for Columbus were Dylan Minchez, Salvador Torres, Sahir Aguilar, Frida Arenas and Evelyn Sanchez.
Nine students from Columbus competed in the Primary Novice section, also winning first place as a team. Ignacio Valencia led this section of the team with a third-place individual trophy. Dylan Solovyev was awarded a medal. Also playing for Columbus were Naolin Concha, Gianna Murgia, Giovanna Murgia, Kaily Argueta, Constantine Zelatis, Sofia Valencia and Joel Salick.
As the highest-rated player on the team for Columbus, Gabriela Ceja competed in the Reserve section, which is for students rated under 1000.
IEYMS teacher Calvin Hayward brought four students to play in the tournament. Former Columbus students Darren Chen and Leo Liu competed in the Championship section, coming in second place as a team. Darren won an individual award for third place. Lus Jimenez came in sixth place in the Reserve section and Raekwon Sok played in the Booster section.
ALMS student Ozzie Kelly-Yuoh came in second place in the Championship section.
Ward student Daniel Babayev came in first place in the Primary Novice section, and Gabriel Kramer-Griffith, also from Ward, came in fifth place in the Booster section.
Webster student Samuel Kietlinski won a medal in the Primary Novice section.
The day was also made notable when Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano stopped by the school to honor Columbus Chess Coach Mark Hegenauer. The Westchester County Board of Legislators proclaimed December 9, 2017, as Mark Hegenauer Day in Westchester County. He was recognized for faithfully facilitating the chess club at Columbus Elementary School since 1998.
Columbus parents were busy throughout the day selling breakfast, lunch and snacks to raise funds to send the team to Nashville, Tennessee, in May for the Scholastic Chess Nationals.