LINCOLN (SNR) – The chess club from North American Martyrs Parish in Lincoln had 16 members go to nationals in Dallas April 26-28, with 12 parents and pastor and coach Father Brian Connor.
The students formed teams in the Under 1000 and Under 750 divisions. After three days of playing seven matches each, they finished fourth place out of 35 teams in the U 1000 division and seventh of 44 teams in the U750 division, against competition across the United States.
Jacey Tran, the seven-time Nebraska State Girls Champion, who is the Martyrs club’s highest rated player, was in the Open division and improved her rating to 1507. Her sister Jamie received a fourth-place trophy in Under 1000 and Timofei Prakapchuk won 24th place in the same division. In Under 750, Will Anderson won a sixth-place trophy out of 322 players.
“Overall,” Father Connor explained, “we won 57 games, drew seven and lost 48.”
The team has won the state K-8 championships for nine years in a row and have been preparing for the national competition since they went to Super Nationals in 2017. They hope at attend Super Nationals again in Nashville in 2021.
“The national tournaments have helped raise the level of play and have been lots of fun,” Father Connor said. “Sportsmanship is also a hallmark of the club. The game is humbling and we realize there is always another better player just around the corner.”
The parents and team members had multiple fundraisers to play for most of their expenses including playing chess at a local mall, bake sales, concessions stands and pop sales at Lenten fish fry dinners.