New City School Brings Home First Ever State Chess Championship

The New City School Chess Team – which is comprised of over 50 New City School students ranging from 1st to 6th grade – was successful in all three elementary school divisions at the Missouri State Chess Tournament on March 1st, 2014, including the school’s first ever individual State Chess Champion, sixth grader Russell Bigham.

Russell Bigham has been a member of the New City School Chess Team for six years, and has competed in the State Tournament each year, winning ninth place overall in 2012 and sixth place overall in 2013. In this year’s championship, Russell successfully bested six consecutive opponents to complete a perfect record and win the top prize. He is also the first New City School student to bring home three consecutive state level trophies in chess.

Russell is not the only state-level chess champion, however. New City School’s Chess Team also took home the following state level titles:

  •     Sixth Grade and Under Team: First Place
  •     Fifth Grade and Under Team: Third Place
  •     Third Grade and Under Team: Third Place
  •     Sixth Grade Individual: Ninth Place (Ernie McCarter)

Rafi Brent, Sanjay Chakinala, Adam Blumhoff, Benjamin Clair, Reilly Dillon, Jacob Plax, Praveen Chakinala, Julian Schenck, and Leo Taghert also took home medals.

The New City School Chess Team is an extension of the school’s commitment to the use of Howard Gardener’s multiple intelligences theory as a tool for teaching and learning. The theory states that intelligence as a whole is split into eight separate “modalities” - linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal - rather than considering it as one singular ability. This unique academic learning approach capitalizes on students’ strengths and creates a deep level of understanding that allows children to use what they have learned in new and different situations. Members of the chess team rely heavily on – and are given the opportunity to strengthen – their logical-mathematical intelligence.