<bt>The Longfellow Middle School Chess Club took first place in the Virginia State Scholastic Chess Championships in Roanoke on March 11-12.
This is the third win for state champion, Aryan Khojandi, who says he has been playing for over five years. He took the title in second grade and third as a student at Kent Garden. "I am just happy and satisfied to have a win in middle school after so long, " said the eighth grader.
Other trophy winners on the team were Shi Leitianyi, for 7th place, and three that tied for 10th winning 5 out of 7 rounds, Craig Saperstein, Victor Nguyen and Daniel Nothaft. Jake Brooks, Hamed Eramian, Kevin Pyne and Martin Zavala earned medals for a score of 4.5 out of 7. Also contributing on this team were Alex Gilbert, Xavier Ferrier and Scott Feit.
Kent Gardens Elementary in McLean earned team trophies in three categories including 14th in the Middle School Division. The middle school team was comprised of three 6th graders including: medal winner Arman Khojandi, John Nothaft and Kyle Pyne.
Kent Gardens also took home trophies for 10th place in the Primary (K-3) division and 5th place in Elementary (K-5). Kent Gardens had previously been state champion in the Primary division and Longfellow in the Middle division.
Fairfax County Schools were well represented throughout this tournament. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology repeated as High School Champions and Louise Archer Elementary in Vienna took home their first state championship in the Elementary Division (K-5).
Passov said that working with the chess team is very rewarding, especially playing in a tournament. "Chess expands the overall experience and builds relationships," he said.
Assistant Principal Kelly Barr said, "We have a delightful well-mannered group of kids and I'm happy to be a part of it."
He added that playing chess is important because it complements and enhances academic success especially in areas such as math. He noted that the team's success is due in part to those who devote their time, like coach Passov and parent Robert Brooks.