A unique set of banners hang in the St. Viator School cafeteria: the chess team’s state championships. The school has won the Nevada State Chess Tournament five times since they started the club in 2002.
Their most recent title came this month, when the kindergarten through fifth grade team earned the state title.
At the tournament, there were 47 schools represented, or a total of 209 participants. St. Viator School had 24 students who competed from kindergarten to 8th grade. While the K-5 team took first place, the K-3 team placed second and the K-8 team took 5th place overall.
As a result, the St. Viator team is headed May 6 to the National Chess Tournament in Nashville.
“The Chess Club has helped children in so many ways,” says Principal Kathleen Daulton. “It promotes higher level thinking skills, problem solving, communication, concentration, focus, and confidence in their study skills.”
A pair of experts offered to start the team, back in 2002, and they continue to coach it. Dan Morgan is a certified chess coach, and Virgil Reyes is a rated International Expert. Both are registered with the United States Chess Foundation.
Chess may be a game, but team members make a sacrifice to play. They rise early each Monday, Wednesday and Friday to practice their moves, beginning at 7 a.m. in the school cafeteria.
“We sometimes have 40 students playing chess in the early mooring before school starts,” Mrs. Daulton adds. “Parents support us in a variety of ways, and as a result, so many children have benefited from learning chess over the years.”