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Metcalf celebrates 50 years of chess excellence

Every year since Metcalf Junior High in Burnsville opened 50 years ago, there has been an all-school chess championship to determine the school champion. This event also serves as team tryouts for students attempting to qualify for the school’s trophy-winning traveling team. This year’s event will take place Nov. 17, 19 and 20.

“Metcalf students earned three national titles in 2015, so when they play against each other the competition is fierce,” said Brian Ribnick, a math teacher at the school who has been chess director for 33 years.

Metcalf Junior High has one of the most successful junior high chess programs in the country. Only one other school has won more national junior high chess championships.

Earlier this year, the Metcalf team won the Minnesota State Junior High Chess Championship — the 28th state chess title in the school’s history.

This year’s all-school chess championship will take place:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, with rounds about 3:05 p.m. and 4:55 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 19, with rounds about 2:40 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 20, with a championship round at 2:40 p.m.

About 70 students will be competing. Most games will take place in Room 322 at Metcalf.

This year, student Zander Gorton is attempting to be the first player in all 50 years to win three consecutive school championships.

Ribnick is assisted by Robert Phenicie, a former Metcalf chess player and current college student, who is in his 10th year as assistant director.  

Metcalf Junior High is located at 2250 Diffley Road, Burnsville, within Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.

Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - 09:00