Charles Pinckney Elementary School’s (CPES) chess team has a tradition of success; the Pirates added to that tradition this past weekend in Columbia by winning a title at the South Carolina Scholastic Championships. They took home the K-5 Division crown; it is Pinckney’s ninth overall state championship in chess.

A total of 221 students from 31 teams in four divisions, K-3, K-5, K-8, and K-12, participated in the event at Dent Middle School on March 9.

Zachary Teachman led the way for Pinckney; the fourth grader finished in sixth place individually in the K-5 division with a record of 4-1. Teammates Luke Kuehmeier and Stone Pham tied for 10th place in the same division.

The K-3 team from Pinckney had a solid performance as well, finishing in third place in that division. Third grader Lucas Sullivan led the way with a 13th place finish in the individual standings thanks to a 3-2 mark.

A pair of Charleston County School District (CCSD) middle school teams shined in the state tournament, too. Thomas C. Cario Middle School finished as state runner-up in the K-8 Division, and Laing Middle School finished in fifth place. Cario 6th grader, William Tabakian, placed 6th with a record of 4-1 and was named the top 6th grader in the state, and teammate Brady Setser tied for 14th with a record of 3-2. Laing’s Ava Schoonover was named the top female in K-8 after going 3-2 in the competition.

All three teams are coached by Stuart Chagrin, who serves on the United States Chess Trust Board, and is the former president of the Marshall Chess Club.

“I am so proud of the performance by all of the students,” Chagrin said. “For many of them, this was their first chess tournament ever. They exceeded all of my expectations.”

The Pinckney team is supported by teacher E.C. Setser, Cario’s chess squad is organized by social studies teachers Andrea Garver and Paul Graves help out with the chess team at Laing.

While all of the competitors were on a mission to bring home trophies, they enjoyed the environment and the opportunity.

“It was amazing because I got to meet new people and play chess with new friends,” added Ace Piper, a fourth grader at CPES.

For more information about the performance of CCSD students in the South Carolina Scholastic Championships, please contact the Office of Strategy and Communications at (843) 937-6303.