A chess team at Minnie Gant Elementary School has been declared the best elementary school team in the western United States, according to local chess master Robert Snyder, adviser to the team.
Competing last weekend at Buena Park High School, the six-member team outplayed six other elementary school teams to place first in the Western Scholastic Chess Championship, an annual event rated by the United States Chess Federation.
"I expected them to win," said Snyder, a national chess master. "They're a bunch of good players." Snyder said it was the first time in at least 16 years that a Long Beach team had placed first in a major chess tournament. He said plans are under way to send the team to the national chess championships next year on the East Coast. "This team has about the best chance of doing well at the nationals of any elementary school team I've ever worked with," Snyder said.