Tennessee's Oakhaven wins National Crown!

Memphis, Tennessee hosted the 2003 National Elementary Chess Championship and drew a record 2397 students from 41 states.  One of the schools participating was Oakhaven Elementary, a Memphis school that not only benefited from "home-field advantage," but also is the beneficiary of a $14,000 donation from World Champion boxer Lennox Lewis, an avid chess enthusiast. In article posted on GoMemphis.com, Lewis was quoted after learning of his team's success:

"I'm very delighted and happy that my team won the national championship," he said. "Just like me, they're the best at what they do. I believe that top athletes should support children and their interests because they are the future."

Carlos and Coach Bulington

The tournament format was a 7-round Swiss system with seven sections in all. The scores of the top four players from each school in each section were combined to create a team score.  Oakhaven scored 19 points for top honors in the K-6 section.

What's more amazing is that this resource-poor school has only had a chess program for 2 years and beat some of the nation's top programs. The team is  coached by
Jeff Bulington (top right), a math teacher at the school and the team is noted on the school's website below. Keep up the great work Oakhaven!!

OakHaven Chess website

Oakhaven Chess Club

Oakhaven Chess Club

Posted by The Chess Drum: 14 May 2003