Harriet Bishop team earns District 191 chess title

Elementary students who share an enthusiasm for chess competed in the annual chess tournament in District 191 on Dec. 15 at Metcalf Junior High.

Harriet Bishop Gifted and Talented Elementary School earned its first district championship title. The school also has the biggest chess club in the district with more than 60 members coached by teacher Jessica Perry.

Runner-up was the team from Sioux Trail Elementary, coached by teacher Mark Kleven, while third place went to the Sky Oaks Elementary team coached by teacher Scott Nemetz.

Zander Gorton, a sixth-grader at Harriet Bishop, was the new district individual champion, while Jackson Reichert, a sixth-grader from Rahn School of Arts & Technology, placed second.

The beginner tournament was won by Jacob Westerlund, a third-grader from Sioux Trail.

Grade level awards went to: Grade 6, Noah Helke at William Byrne; Grade 5, Jake Schouten at Hidden Valley; Grade 4, Sage Magras at Sky Oaks; Grade 3, Eric Gorton at Harriet Bishop; Grade 2, Caige Oxendale at William Byrne; and Grade 1, Sameer Bhatia at Harriet Bishop.

In addition to Harriet Bishop earning its first district championship, there were other “firsts.” This was the first time that a second-grader cracked the top five. This was Gavin Kellen from William Byrne. It was also the first time that three siblings placed in the top 10. They are Makayla, Brooke and Tyler Haddorff from Sioux Trail.

District 191 is one of the few school districts in Minnesota with a chess team at every elementary school. In addition, all fourth-grade students have the opportunity to learn chess during the school day from a chess-master through a residency sponsored by Community Education and PTO organizations.