LINCOLN (SNR/NAM) - The chess team of North American Martyrs School in Lincoln went to the national chess championship for junior high and K-8 grades April 15-17 in Indianapolis.
Sixteen players and 12 chaperones from the North American Martyrs (NAM) chess club competed with more than 1,000 in attendance at the national meet. It included seven rounds for a total of 112 games.
Coach Father Brian Connor, pastor of North American Martyrs, said the NAM team went 51-53-8 overall – just one game from a .500 percent record. The students played in the ‘Under 1000’ division and achieved 11th place in the nation out of 38 teams. In the ‘Under 750’ division, they attained 12th place in the nation out of 43 teams. There were 40 states represented, but NAM was the only school from Nebraska.
While teams do not have to qualify, Father Connor said he felt the competition would really benefit the chess club after winning the K-3, K-6 and K-8 trophies again in Omaha last February.
“The boys and girls came away with a fun experience and learned a lot,” he said.
Jacey Tran, who played alone in the ‘Under 1250’ division said, “Even though I lost, I got to learn something from these amazing chess players.”
“It helped me love chess even more,” said Corbin Brandl. “Also, the trip taught me you can have Mass anywhere.”
Luck Hellbusch remarked, “It help me to be a better sport as I did not start out very well in the tournament, but I didn’t give up.”
Next year nationals is in Nashville, Tenn. and Father Connor said he has hopes to travel again – and maybe get over the .500 hurdle.