NJ Wins Top Spot in Scholastic Nationals – By John Burke

Ding, Burke and WU

From July 26-29, the top scholastic chess players in the country competed in
Orlando, Florida in 3 prestigious national championship tournaments – the
Denker Tournament of High School Champions, Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions,
and the National Girls Invitational Tournament.  Each state held
tournaments throughout the calendar year to determine their state
representative for these special tournaments.  New Jersey was represented
by NM Christopher Wu (Denker), NM John Michael Burke (Barber), and WFM Kimberly
Ding (NGIT).

Besides these tournaments being special because they are national championship
events, there were a lot of prizes available to the kids as well, which is
something not normally seen in scholastic tournaments.  In the Denker
tournament, first place finisher Christopher Gu from RI won a 4 year
scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas, a college known for
supporting chess.  There were many other cash prizes available for the top
finishers, as well as prizes for best games, biggest upsets and more.
Many kids went home with bank accounts a little bit bigger!  Every
participant also received a free 2 year membership to the Internet Chess
Club.  All in all, a great tournament with many players receiving prizes
at the closing ceremony.

For the first time at this event, a special state vs. state competition was
held.  The total scores for each state’s Denker, Barber and NGIT
representative were compiled to determine the top state.  Going into the
final round, New York was in the lead with 12.5 points – they had a 1.5 point
lead over New Jersey, who had 11.0 points going into the final round. In the
final round, New York was shut out, while New Jersey gained 2 points to win the
state competition with 13.0 points!  It was an exciting finish with New
Jersey finishing 0.5 points ahead of 4 other states.  Congratulations to
our scholastic state representatives on this outstanding accomplishment!