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Corning Elementary chess team wins league
A Corning chess team has been crowned Sacramento Valley Scholastic Chess League champions and is gearing up for the Northern California State tournament.
The winning team is made up mostly of fifth-grade students, many of them girls, from the Corning Elementary School District.
The young team, which captured the valley crown on March 6, also won a plaque for its achievements.
Cameron Lee from Maywood Middle School won all three of his matches at the tournament's top table.
Also winning three out of three matches were Laura Gaona, Clayton Shaw and Olivia Payne, all from Olive View Elementary School.
Team coach and district teacher Raymond Rodriguez said Corning Elementary schools have been participating in the Sacramento Valley Scholastic Chess League for 10 years.
"Ten years ago, most of the players on the team were seventh- and eighth-grade boys and the teams had only seven to 10 players total," he said. "This year's team has nearly 20 players."
As the season came to an end, the chess team found itself in prime position to compete in the league championship tournament.
Rodriguez said when the season began, Corning's mostly rookie team was overwhelmed by the structure and etiquette of tournament play.
"Our young players just didn't know what to expect." he said. "As the season progressed, Corning was able to finish second at Franklin School in Yuba City, third at Four Winds Indian School in Chico, and then win the league tournament held at Maywood Middle School."
The chess coach said he is really proud of the team.
"They work very hard and are extremely enthusiastic about the game," he said.
Ruth Haring, president of the United States Chess Federation, said it was nice to see so many girls playing at the event.
The league championship tournament was held at Chico Christian School. There were 107 players from 11 schools.
The Northern California State Chess Tournament will be held in Santa Clara in April.