Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ancona Rising

A Ray School rival flexes its chess muscle

Belated congratulations to our neighbor The Ancona School, its chess trainer Wayne Smith, and manager Charles Swan for a splendid write-up about the school’s chess team in the June 20 issue of the Hyde Park Herald.

The article was prompted by the school’s conspicuous success at two major spring chess tournaments, the Chicago Open and the National Elementary School Championships. Ancona students named in the article for their outstanding play were Nosa Cash O’Bannon, Clarence Bourne, Jonathan Jackson Jr., Noah Jackson, Charles “CJ” Swan Jr., Coleman Strong, Anthony Chen, and Kamal Bilal. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Kamal’s name high on the crosstables of Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago tournaments, so he’s one to watch. Mr. Swan Sr. also thanked Ancona math professor Zeus Preckwinkle for help with the team.

For some time I’ve known that Wayne, a top local chess trainer and majordomo of The Hyde Park Academy of Scholastic Chess, was working with Ancona and that the school had a rapidly improving chess program, but I didn’t realize just how good they had become until I read the Herald story. Wayne is also training kids at U of C Lab School, and their growing club, combined with Ancona’s and Ray’s, is making Hyde Park a flashpoint for scholastic chess in the Chicago area. Congratulations, everyone.