Chess team returns, prepares for tournament

The Varnett Public School's chess team will make its official return in a tournament May 29 at The Church of Bethel’s Family, 12660 Sandpiper Dr., Houston.

The chess club members hail from the Southwest campus and will resume the popular program cut short last year by the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been practicing virtually since March 25.

The upcoming event is called “The Final 4 HBCU Chess Tournament” and our students are looking forward to the competition. Mr. Lonnie Reynolds, Varnett’s athletic director, said our players will participate in the elementary and middle school divisions. Other teams include Presbyterian School of Houston,  La Marque Middle School, River Oaks Elementary and Kipp Academy. COVID safety precautions will be implemented.

The coach, Mr. Richard Burton, said the players are:

--Trence Green-Thomas, 3rd grade

--Patrick Walker, 5th grade

--Devin Devereaux, 6th grade

--Isaiah Johnson, 6th grade

--Curtis Johnson, 7th grade

Other members of the chess team are Emily Coleman, 3rd grade; Maurice Russell, 6th grade, Kar’Rhiyan Robertson, 6th grade and Morgan Mann, 6th grade.

“Our kids are happy to get back involved with chess,” Mr. Reynolds said. “It will help them with their critical thinking, mathematics, self-control and patience.”

Varnett will enter the season with impressive credentials. In April of 2019, Varnett finished in the top 10 in the National Junior High (K-9) Championship at the Gaylord Texas Resort & Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Coached by Mr. Burton, the team placed ninth in a field of 44. Varnett also hosted a Houston area chess tournament and consistently finished impressively in tournaments throughout the city.

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