Novato Elementary School Chess Team Captures State Title

NOVATO, CA — A Novato elementary school chess team has captured a state championship.

The Hamilton School’s team on Sunday took first place at the 2022 CalChess Super States Championship’s K-8 Rookie section, the Novato Unified School District announced.

The team fielded 16 players representing two sections in the school’s first state championship appearance in program history.

The team placed tied for 2nd in the club category, which included Top 20 finishes from Aaron Chen (5th place), Jesus Mendieta (10th), Marcela Sherlyn Flores (16th) and Larry Calle Labou (17th). Eighth graders Emily Elbing and Olivia Hall represented Hamilton in the K-8 intermediate section.

All players competed in five games.

Abel Talamantez serves as the team’s coach and program director. He previously serving as the San Francisco-based Mechanics’ Institute’s chess director. He also serves as Chair of the US Chess Clubs Committee and was named the 2021 US Chess Organizer of the Year.

“Through online tools such as Chesskid, our students have been able to play, practice and interact online away from the chess club, and we have also organized some club matches nationally and internationally,” the NUSD said in a statement.

“The students have played online matches against DC Girls Chess Club and we have an upcoming match on April 26 against the Capablanca Chess Club from Chihuahua, Mexico. Also on April 16, we had a girls team compete at the ChessKid USA Girls and Women’s Championship online on Chesskid.”

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