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Pinckney Pirates pick apart opponents at state chess tournament

Charles Pinckney Elementary School’s chess team continues to add to its legacy in chess. The Pirates won state titles in two separate divisions at the South Carolina State Scholastic Championship in Greenville, SC; the K-3 (Kindergarten through third grade) Division crown and the K-5 (Kindergarten through fifth grade) Division crown.

This was the second year in a row the Pirates won the K-5 state title, and the school now has 11 championships combined in this state-wide chess tournament. A total of 189 students from 31 teams in four divisions, K-3, K-5, K-8, and K-12, participated in the event sponsored by the Greenville Chess Club on February 29, 2020.

Zachary Teachman and Luke Kuehmeier led the way for Pinckney. The fifth graders tied for fourth place individually in the K-5 division with a record of 4-1. Teammates Samuel Iordanov, Sam Peters, Peyton Carithers, Rubin Winter, Nathaniel Lambert, and Gregory Pinckney all finished the tournament with winning records and tied for 15th place.

The K-3 team from Pinckney was comprised of third graders, who won the title with only four players on the team. Connor Mullins won sixth place overall with a record of 3-1-1. Ben Piazza (seventh place) and Anton Oltman (eighth place) also had winning records in the tournament.

The Pinckney chess team is coached by Stuart Chagrin, who serves on the United States Chess Trust Board, and is the former President of the Marshall Chess Club. “I am so proud of the performance by all of the students,” said Chagrin. “For many of them, this was their first chess tournament ever. They exceeded all of my expectations.”

The Pinckney team is organized by Gifted and Talented teacher E.C. Setser; she has been involved with this group since 2010. “It was inspiring to watch kids fiercely compete at the boards, shake hands, and then become great friends,” added Setser. “They were tossing a football outside between rounds or just hanging out with new friends brought together by this amazing game.” Pinckney now has seven titles in the K-5 Division and four championships at the K3 level, all since 2010.

For more information, contact E.C. Setser at (843) 856-4585

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