Smoky Row chess team wins state title


From left, Timothy Lim, Aditya Poduval, Edward Chen and Drew Kim won the 2017 Scholastic Chess of Indiana Team Championship. (Submitted photo)

By Renee Larr

The Smoky Row Elementary School Chess Team A recently won the state championship at the 48th annual 2017 Scholastic Chess of Indiana Team Championships in Hammond. The team consists of second-grader Edward Chen and third-graders Drew Kim, Timothy Lim and Aditya Poduval.

Each of the boys learned to play around the age 5.

“Our chess coach never had a team that won a state championship,” Poduval said.

The boys had never played in a team tournament prior to the event. Coach Aaron Dean felt the team had a good chance to win when it first formed.

“We were really happy, because no one really knew us,” Lim said.

The students competed against 54 other teams. Each team consisted of four players and played six matches.

“Our team together got 5 1/2 points, so we got five wins and tied Cantebury School on the last match,” Kim said.

Chen served as the team captain, which meant he had to watch every match his team played.

“Whoever is board one is the captain,” Chen said.

The boys love the strategy behind the game.

“I like looking moves ahead,” Poduval said.

The boys practice together once a week but also practice at home.

“I play everyday,” Chen said.

Smoky Row also has a Chess Team B, which is learning from Team A.

Their coach, teachers and parents are proud of their accomplishment.

“They’re all so smart,” Smoky Row Principal Kim Barrett said.

Each boy wants to continue playing chess in the future.

“I want to be the world chess champion,” Poduval said.

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