Harlem Success Academy Chess Players Dominate At NY State Chess Championship

Two weekends ago, 151 scholars representing 15 Success Academy schools traveled to Saratoga Springs, N.Y. to compete in the 50th Annual New York State Scholastic Chess Championships. Out of 1,200 students who competed from across the state of New York, Success scholars made up 13% of the entire two-day tournament and brought home big wins with four teams finishing in the top five of both the ES and MS Championship sections.

A majority of the high school scholars came from our SA Harlem elementary and middle schools and are residents of the Harlem area.

A majority of the high school scholars came from our SA Harlem elementary and middle schools and are residents of the Harlem area.

From Friday afternoon through Monday morning, scholars ate, slept, and breathed chess. They each played six rounds, three per day (each lasting up to two hours), in divisions determined by their United States Chess Federation ratings. Scholars spent much of their downtime playing fast-paced blitz chess games, studying chess tactics, and competing in after-dinner matches against their coaches.

In every division, Success scholars had a stellar performance. The highlights from Harlem include:

  • Harlem East scholars with coach Fritz Gaspard
  • Harlem 4 scholars with coach Christopher Johnson

Chess is an critical part of Success Academy’s school design. All scholars from kindergarten through fourth grade take chess as part of the required curriculum. In middle school, chess is offered as an elective for scholars who are interested. Sean O’Hanlon, senior manager of SA’s Chess Program, and his team of top chess coaches, have done incredible work to create a world-class chess program that develops players’ skills and strategic thinking, while also teaching good sportsmanship and team spirit.

Photo credit: 1) Harlem East scholars with coach Fritz Gaspard. 2) Harlem 4 scholars with coach Christopher Johnson. By Tom Perna.

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