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Nicollet, William Byrne chess teams nab first place at state tournament

Nicollet, William Byrne chess teams nab first place at state tournament

Nicollet Middle School and William Byrne Elementary chess teams were crowned champions at the Minnesota State Scholastic Chess tournament held March 4-5 in St. Paul.

cbess team wins state tournament

The Nicollet Knights, which competed in the middle school tournament, were named co-champion with Minnetonka West Middle School chess team. This is the team’s third consecutive state title.

John Blomer, team leader, finished in third place. Additionally, Jon Nguyen, Theo Diep and Levi Spitznagle scored in the competition.

Coached by Brian Ribnick, Mark Burtnett, Shaun Coggins, Tyler McDonald and Nels Truelson, the team is slated to compete next month at national competition in Texas.

In the same tournament but at the elementary level, the William Byrne chess team earned the top spot. Players include Charlie Doll, Miles Malundo, Faith Spitznagle, Oscar Spitznagle and Dylan Torgerud. 

The team is coached by Stan Kegel and Sam Zupke.

District 191 has a long history of chess excellence, including multiple national and state championships for individual students and school teams. In elementary schools, chess residencies – one of the longest-running programs in the history of District 191 Community Education – take place for one week during the school day. Additionally, through Community Education, all schools in the district offer chess clubs.

For upcoming chess opportunities, visit the Community Education website at