SPARTA, NJ – Students from Sparta and Pope John attended the Super Nationals Scholastic Chess Championship in Nashville Tennessee. The two Sparta schools sent 32 players to compete with more than 5500 players from across the country in the largest chess tournament in the world, according to coach Tom Murray.
Griffin Brawer won an individual first medal. Brawer remained undefeated leading Sparta ahead of 40 other teams. They even topped the third-place team from Franklin County, Mississippi who had recently been featured on 60 Minutes, Murray said.
Ayush Iyer had five wins. Ian Bellush had four and a half wins and Rowan Mendel had four wins. JC Langeraap, Surekha Selvaraj and Chloe Brawer also contributed to the effort according to Murray.
The Helen Morgan School chess team placed second in the Kindergarten to sixth grade U1000 Section of the National Scholastic Chess Championship. They finished just behind Barringer Academic Center of Charlotte NC.
Sparta had two players entered in the National High School Championship Section for the first time in the history of the local program. Going in as underdogs, Cameron Flores and Daniel Bacon each earned three wins against nationally ranked experts their coach said.
With five wins each, Timothy Lee and Aneesh Iyer received individual recognition for their efforts.
Pope John placed ninth in the Kindergarten to 12 U800 section. Austin Fett and Aiden Hannon each had four and a half wins. Their team effort was bolstered by Nick Karanikas with four wins. Griffin Sellinger, Ryan Smith and David Lubertazzo all contributed as well, according to the coach.
Sparta High School had two teams competing. Alex Schimpf and Anthony Esposito each earned four wins in the Kindergarten to 12 U1600 section. Ryan Ryersen had four wins in the Kindergarten to 12 U1200 section.
Lucas Rendina and Akshat Iyer represented the Sparta Middle School in the Kindergarten to 12 U1600 section with four wins each.
Vaiden Pollard rounded out the Sparta effort with four wins in the K5 U1200 event.