Phila. students soar at state chess tourney

Posted: March 12, 2014

Philadelphia students, including an eighth grader with a nationally certified master rating, captured 110 awards at the Pennsylvania State Scholastic Chess Championships this weekend.

It was a big haul for the group of more than 130 youths, sponsored by After School Activities Partnerships, whose trip to the tournament in central Pennsylvania was paid for by the family of the late Philip Lindy, a longtime supporter of the chess program at ASAP.

"We have 3,200 kids playing chess every week in Philadelphia," said Marciene S. Mattleman, founder of ASAP, which promotes after-school recreation and enrichment in the city's most underserved neighborhoods.

The tournament lasted from Friday through Sunday in Carlisle, and featured competitors with a wide range of skill levels. It was the first time some of the Philadelphia students had been outside the city.

"For some kids, it's their first time away from home, first time in a hotel, and first time competing in such a big event," said Justin Ennis, ASAP's executive director.

More than 800 students from across the state competed in the tournament.

Angel Hernandez-Camen, an eighth grader from Masterman School, won the state middle school championship.

Hernandez-Camen is a certified master by the U.S. Chess Federation and is ranked 23d among all top players, including adults, in Pennsylvania, said Ben Cooper, director of chess programs for ASAP.

Other winners included Mark Frazier, an eighth grader from Walter D. Palmer Charter School, and Balla Dembele, a sixth grader from Tilden Middle School. Madison Ford-McKnight, a sixth grader from People for People Charter School, was a top female competitor in two sections.

215-854-5983 @RobertMoran215

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