Four Aldine ISD schools participated in the Lake Houston Knights Chess Tournament held March 7 in Kingwood. The Houston Chess Association hosted the tourney where 190 students convened to try and outwit each other. Three of the four campuses placed in the top three in their categories.
Middle School Category
1st Place — Aldine Middle School
3rd Place — Grantham Academy
High School Category
2nd Place — Aldine Ninth Grade School
Tournament highlights included Aldine Middle School obtaining a near perfect score. The team earned 18 of 20 points. Three students had perfect tourney games. Erick del Villar from Grantham Academy and Jorge López from Aldine Middle School went 5-0 in their category. And Rúben Valdillez from Nimitz High School went undefeated in the advanced division. Rúben is the highest rated chess player in the district. Aside from working on his own chess skills, he also serves as a team adviser for Aldine Middle School.
Ronald Beach at Grantham Academy, Nicole Capodagli at Aldine Ninth Grade School, Christine Halbert at Goodman Elementary School and Thomas Lucker at Aldine Middle School serve as chess coaches. Lucker also serves as the district chess coordinator. The coaches are all proud of the young chess players.
“I am proud of my students,” Lucker said. “They work hard to develop their game skills. And it pays off time and time again.”
“This was Grantham Academy’s first team trophy,” Beach said. “I am impressed with the students’ skills.”
Lucker added that AISD students earned many individual trophies. He also lauded the chess team at Goodman Elementary School. He stated the team has a vibrant and growing team.
The chess players are getting ready to go head-to-head with peers across the district. They will take part in the 2nd Annual Aldine ISD Chess Tournament. The event is set for May 2 at Aldine Middle School. The district’s Gifted and Talented Department sponsors the event. Twiana Collier serves as program director for advanced academics. She stated that K-12 students will compete in the district event. Last year, more than 120 students from across AISD took part in the tourney.
“Many schools in the district have incorporated a chess program at their campuses,” Collier said. “Supporters of chess believe it has a positive impact on students. The goal is to help students make reasoned judgments. Chess is an excellent tool to show the theme of critical thinking. The district tournament gives chess students an opportunity to shine and to see how their skills compare with their peers. It is a fun learning experience for everyone.“
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