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'They give 100%:' Palm Beach County students win national chess tournament

'They're giving up their weekends to make sure that we're going to the tournaments,' co-chess coach Bryan Tillis says
Posted at 5:11 PM, Apr 29, 2024

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Over the weekend, six boys and girls at the Greene School traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to win the K-3 National Elementary Chess Tournament, beating thousands of nationally ranked schools.

These six students embarked on a journey of dedication and perseverance throughout the school year. They would arrive at school as early as 6:30 a.m. for chess practice, five days a week— a testament to their unwavering commitment. Their innate talent, coupled with this dedication, paved the way for their remarkable victory at the K-3 National Elementary Chess Tournament on Sunday evening.

The school opened six years ago and wanted to ensure that chess was among the sports it offered to ensure that each student participating developed critical thinking skills, learned the value of perseverance, and understood the meaning of teamwork.

"They give 100%. They're exceptional students, and we have exceptional parents," Bryan Tillis, co-chess coach, said. "They're giving up their weekends time and time again to make sure that we're going to the tournaments."

"It was really hard. I was 600 by rating, but there are like 900s, and I beat a 998, which will help my rating go up a lot," Hendrix Smith, a third grade student, said.

In addition to last weekend's success, the youngsters from Greene School have won several local tournaments this year. They said this year is just the beginning, as the team expects to grow and get even more students on the team next year.