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Cheney Middle School Chess team takes first at state tournament

L.E. Berger School Chess Team took second place in elementary level competition at the North Dakota Scholastic Chess Tournament in Casselton, N.D. Pictured (l-r): Back: Principal Dennis Howitz, and Coach Kambiz Farahmand. Front: Zach Bigelow and Luke Bigelow. Dave Wallis/The Forum1 / 2
Cheney Middle School Chess Team's motto is "Superior thinking over superior force." Pictured (l-r): back, Coach Achintya Bezbaruah, Nathan Thomason, Kyle Alexander, Colton Brunette, Nick Orvik, Ryne Bigelow, Ayushi Saxena, Greg Smith, and Coach Kambiz Farahmand. Front: Nicholas Pfeifer, Keyan Farahmand, Rit Bezbaruah, and Neeraj Advani. Not pictured: Isaiah Chalmers, Zachhary Freicks, Jared Hopewell, Toby Kindem, Brandon Kiesterman, Zachary Melroe, Elijah Orvik, Akriti Saxena, and Brendan Walker. Dave Wa...2 / 2

West Fargo Chess Club members gathered for an informal awards ceremony after school on April 23, in the Commons at Cheney Middle School. The club had a lot to celebrate.

"We had a very good year," Kambiz Farahmand, Cheney Middle School's Chess coach, said. "We had 22 registered players in our club this year. On any given Thursday after school, there were 10 to 15 kids playing chess at Cheney and having fun. That's what it's all about," he added.

The Cheney Middle School sixth-grade chess team took first place in the North Dakota Scholastic Chess Tournament held at Casselton, N.D., on April 18. The combined scores of Cheney teammates Neeraj Advani, Rit Bezbaruah, Ryne Bigelow, Colton Brunette, Keyan Farahmand, Nick Pfeifer, and Ayushi Saxena, qualified their team to be ranked the overall best team in the state for the middle school level.

In addition, L.E. Berger won second place at the elementary school level. Four schools from West Fargo competed this year. South Elementary's team won second place at last year's tournament.

Top team results in each category were: Kindergarten to 3rd grade team results: first place, Longfellow Elementary School, Fargo; second place, L. E. Berger Elementary School, West Fargo. Sixth grade team results - first place, Cheney Middle School, West Fargo; second place, Ben Franklin Junior High, Fargo. Seventh to ninth grade team results - first place, Oak Grove High School, Fargo; second place, Fargo North High School. Tenth to twelfth grade team results - first place, Fargo South High School; second place, Oak Grove High School, Fargo.

Individual rankings at the middle school level included: Colton Brunette, Cheney sixth-grader, second place; and Neerah Advani, Cheney sixth-grader, third place. In the seventh-ninth grade level, Vibhav Singh from Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center took second place. Zach Bigelow, a third grader at L.E. Berger Elementary School won third place.

"We started at South Elementary three years ago with only a few players, so we have grown. Our ambition now is to have all West Fargo schools add teams," Achintya Bezbaruah, Cheney Chess coach, said. "We'd like to have more girls on the team."

The West Fargo Chess Club was recognized by the West Fargo School Board during their regular meeting on April 27th.

"We are striving for the time when we have enough students to hold our own West Fargo tournaments. Eventually, we'd like to compete in nationals," Coach Farahmand said.