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First-grader tops chess tournament

Wiley Canyon student takes home trophy

Posted: June 22, 2009 3:46 p.m.
Updated: June 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

First-grade champion Jackson Dow celebrates with Coach Jay Stallings and Principal Alexis Yannic after receiving top honors at the California Youth Chess League Championships.

The Santa Clarita Valley's top elementary school chess players gathered May 30 at the California Youth Chess League Championships to determine which students and which elementary school were "kings" of the Santa Clarita Valley for 2009.

After nearly six hours of grueling play, Wiley Canyon Elementary School and Wiley Canyon first-grader Jackson Dow took home top honors.

Jackson Dow won all four of his games, finishing on top of a group of 13 of the top first-grade chess players from Santa Clarita and beyond.

Two of his opponents were from Palm Crest Elementary in La Canada. Jackson's division had no fewer than five players who had competed at a regional event in Ventura in February and the National First-Grade Championships in Nashville.

Wiley Canyon fifth-grader Riyan Rodriguez earned second place in the fifth-grade division in leading the fourth- through sixth-grade team to a championship title over Tesoro del Valle Elementary (second place) and Helmers Elementary (third place).

Matthew Szakmeister took home fourth place in the fourth-grade category.

Wiley Canyon team member Miguel Samano earned third place in the sixth-grade category.

"We are so proud of the accomplishments our students have made playing chess," said Wiley Canyon Principal Alexis Yannich.

"The connection between chess and academic achievements is so obvious. Coach Jay Stallings has been teaching chess to students in this valley for years. We appreciate the opportunities he has given our students."


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