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Metcalf Chess wins national title, collects hardware at tournament

The Metcalf Chess U1000 team took first place at the National Junior High Championship, which was held April 26-28 in Dallas.

Members who scored for the U1000 team include James Grabowski (5th place), Will Moe (6th place), Audra Johnson, Gerald Johnson, Owen Krick and Joseph Santos, all of whom tied for 20th place.

“Metcalf led this section from start to finish and simply out-thought the rest of the field,” said coach Brian Ribnick. “[They] just seemed to want it more. The runner-up, a team from Georgia, was a full point and a half away!”

The U750 team finished second by only one point. Scoring for the team included Soren Leafblad, who was undefeated and finished in 2nd place, Victor Ekstrand (12th place), Mason Pederson and DJ John.

The individual national champion in the U1250 section was Mitchell Kellen. In that same section, Kendrick Johnson earned 3rd place.

Metcalf’s blitz team placed 4th out of 24 teams. Blitz is speed chess – each player has only five minutes to make all of their moves. Essentially, it’s a competition of not just how well you can think, but how fast.

Ribnick, a retired District 191 math teacher who was the first recipient of the District 191 Spirit of Excellence award in 2016 and who was inducted in the Minnesota Chess Hall of Fame on May 4, has been the longtime chess coach at Metcalf.

Last weekend, Metcalf Chess sixth graders competed in the School Chess Association (SCA) Statewide Championship and also took first place. This is the first time ever the team has won the title. At that tournament, the SCA named Jason Kellen, William Byrne assistant coach, the SCA Coach of Year.

For complete results from the National Junior High Championship, please visit the following links:

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2019 - 11:56