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Inwood Chess Team Raises Cash for Trip to National Competition

By Nigel Chiwaya | February 15, 2013 8:35am

INWOOD — They need a few checks to help them get to checkmate.

P.S. 98 Shorac Kappock's chess club is trying to raise money to help them travel to Nashville, Tenn., to compete in the 2013 US Chess Federation national tournament.

This is the fourth consecutive year the school's program has qualified for nationals. The club, which students named the "Knightmares," took first place among beginners in Atlanta in 2010 and placed fourth two years ago in Dallas.

The chess club, made of more than 30 fourth, fifth and sixth graders at P.S. 98, needs to raise between $1,500 and $2,000 to cover airfare to the competition.

The trip is already partially funded, as community members donated more than $3,000 to a donorschoose.org campaign set up by instructor Annmarie Aquino.

The popular program boasts several nationally ranked players, who give Aquino a run for her money.

"Almost any member of our club could beat me," said Aquino, who teaches fifth grade.

Teachers and students say that even the newer members of the club see their academic performance improve once they join.

"You have to think a lot," added fifth-grader Alvaro Alejandro. "It makes you a lot smarter."

Teachers add that the chess club, which meets after school every Thursday, has helped the students mature.

"I've seen how some of the students have grown so much, not just in their ability to play chess but the way they interact with other students," said instructor Catherine Kenyon. "I think it's a real character-building activity."