This year, Esperanza Academy Charter Middle School started a Chess Club! Under the guidance of teachers Eric Jaimes and Gabrielle Moshier, about 30 students come after school on Mondays and Fridays to play chess, to enjoy the camaraderie and to improve their game. The Chess Club is open to all interested, no background knowledge required as the students are more than happy to help a newbie.
Naturally, a team has formed from within the club to compete in city-wide events. The team is part of After School Activities Partnership’s “Philadelphia Scholastic Chess Middle School League,” which consists of 95 nationally-ranked players, each having their own United States Chess Federation Membership provided by A.S.A.P. Of the 95, Esperanza Academy is already ranked 21st in the league.
January 30th & 31st at Temple University, The Esperanza Chess Team competed in the 8th Annual, citywide PECO/ASAP Checkmate Violence Marathon Tournament. Esperanza competed against over 250 students from around Philadelphia. Seventh grader Valentino Martinez won three of his five matches and took home a bronze medal for Esperanza in the k-8 unrated division. Within the rated division, a total of seven, 55-minute long matches were played by Mateo Ruiz who won first place in the rated K-8 under 700 division. Mateo was also dubbed “Top Player under a 1000 rating”.
Ultimately, Esperanza Middle School took home the third place trophy in the k-8 school division. As the smallest team at the tournament and the newest team in the league, this was a great success and a testament to their mighty efforts.
“Mr. Jaimes and I are so proud of them, not just for winning, but for the way they are truly coming to embody what Esperanza is all about,” said Ms. Mashier, “The entire team has been working so hard this year to make Esperanza’s presence known in the Chess world. The team comes to school early, before 7:30 am, to take lessons with Mr. Jaimes. They play over lunch and with the club after school Mondays and Fridays. They also help mentor the 20-some other Chess Club members who come to play.”
Today, they are looking forward finishing their league tournament at Temple University and to the possibility of attending the state competition in Lancaster this March!