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Thursday , August 16 2018
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Home | Tag Archives: chess

Tag Archives: chess

Henderson Middle Championship Chess Team Fundraising to Compete in US Supernationals

The championship chess team at Henderson Middle School is facing its biggest challenge yet and it had nothing to do with the sophisticated board game.

The team, which struggles to raise funds for competitions, is now looking for ways to come up with $40,000 to compete in the US Chess Federation Supernationals VI that will take place at Nashville in May.

To get there, the team must raise the $40k to cover travel and lodging. The chess team previously raised $16,000. Ramirez said the funds were used to cover regional tournament play. He added that the school and community have done an excellent job fundraising but more help is needed to reach the fundraising goal.

Henderson chess coach Saul Ramirez
Henderson chess coach Saul Ramirez

Seventh grader Carlos Palomino said playing chess helped him develop his thinking.

“It’s helped me change my perception of everything,” he said. “I see things a different way. If I’m walking I picture the chess board and think about my move—should I spend money should I save—something as simple as that.

Fellow teammate, Juan Ramirez said it has helped him concentrate and be more patient.

“It helps me in math and teaches me what to do in life, like teaching me how to do the right thing.”

Aime Argandona, said she likes her coach because he not only teaches chess, he teaches them about life.

“He teaches us how to become better people,” she said.

Ramirez, 31, has been playing chess since his formative years. Now in the running for teacher of the year, he has spent the last 7 years trying to teach students a game, he says, requires skills, patience and challenging work. The Henderson chess team just came off an impressive showing at state. A team of 34 players won the 2017 Texas Scholastic Chess Championship North/Central at Arlington.

During his tenure at Henderson, Ramirez and his team have amassed six state championships in chess and two national titles.

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Photo courtesy EPISD

“They are walking with pride,” Ramirez said about his players. “Chess is a game that anyone can play but it requires hard work and dedication just like anything in life.”

The goal of the chess club is more than just win titles, Ramirez added. He wants to teach students about discipline, patience and leadership. Ramirez penned those teaching experiences on his upcoming book, “The Champion’s Game,” a book about how chess helped him and his students learn about life beyond the game and the classroom. His book is scheduled for release in May.

“I’m very strict,” Rodriguez said about his approach to coaching students and setting student expectations.

“There’s a lot that chess can offer to people. Discipline and practice that’s what got us to the championship.”

If you are interested in donating to the Henderson Middle School Chess Team contact the school at 915-236-0700.

Three-Peat! Henderson Middle School’s Chess Dynasty gets Champion’s Welcome

A swarm of cheering fans welcomed the Henderson Middle School chess team home from Arlington after claiming their third state title in a row.

The Hornets competed in the 2017 North/Central Texas Scholastic Chess Championships last weekend, earning top honors in the novice and junior varsity categories. The team earned a spot in the national competition in Nashville in May.

“The entire community is rallying together to welcome them,” principal Elizabeth Maldonado said. “We are proud of the students on their third state title.”

The Jefferson/Silva High School band joined Henderson’s band and cheerleaders setting the mood for the welcome party. Cafeteria staff joined in the jam clanking their pots and pans with spoons.

Chess player Ariana de la Cruz wasn’t expecting such a grand reception when she and her teammates stepped off the bus.

“It felt amazing to see so many people. We didn’t know it was going to be this big,” de la Cruz said. “We were all surprised, but it feels good to be appreciated and recognized for our hard work.”

Coach Saul Ramirez credits the students’ success at state to their steady drive and hard work.

“We work extremely hard. We have very rigorous practice every day after school. These students practice on top of their regular homework assignments,” Ramirez said. “We received a lot of good comments from the coaches and the directors, which just helps us set the tone for nationals.”

Sixth-grader Isaac Mendoza had never played chess before he joined the team, but much like his team, he has exceeded all expectations. He placed first in novice and is now one of the highest ranked players on the team.

“When I found out I had won first place, I was very excited,” Mendoza said. “The competition was very difficult because there were a lot of good players, but we have been practicing a lot so we earned it.”

Mendoza is looking forward to competing at the national level with his team.

“I am excited about nationals,” Mendoza said. “I am ready to play.”

Seventh-grader Paola Macias was also among the 34 students who competed in Arlington, placing 14th in the JV category.

“I’m very excited the team won because it means we can continue to put El Paso on the map, and that we can keep learning to play our best,” Paola said

Paola’s mom, Veronica Macias, met her daughter with a big hug and bouquet of flowers.

“I’m really proud of the students. This is showing them there are no limits,” Macias said. “My daughter started playing last year because she couldn’t play volleyball but now chess is her life.”

Paola agrees: “Chess has changed my life forever. If I had never learned how to play chess, I would not be the person I am today.”

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