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Essex Elementary Tops Among Area Chess Teams

The school captured the county and state title in recent chess tournaments.

once again proved it has some of the best young chess players in the state.

Essex took first place in Saturday’s second annual Baltimore County Chess Championship. The school was among nine other elementary schools and 29 overall to participate in the tournament, held at Cockeysville Middle School.

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The winning team included Gage Flanary, who won all six of his matches and won the individual title in the elementary school division.Other members of the team were Samuel Burton (4-1-1,  fifth place), Travis Holland (4-2, ninth place), Michael Egbagiri (4-2, 11th place) and Nathan Panto (4-2, 13th place).

“Gage Flanary is a very gifted chess player, and he has been a great role model for our club,” said Essex Elementary School teacher Robert Gray, who founded the school’s chess club a few years ago.

Essex’s performance on Saturday came after the school captured first place in the novice division and second place in the JV division of the Maryland Scholastic State Championship, which took place on March 10 at

The novice team, , competed against 33 other schools and was led by Judah Stone (5-1, ninth place), David Shannon (5-1, 12th place), Matthew Healy (5-1, 13th place), Burton (5-1, 16th place) and Egbagiri (4-1-1, 23rd place) .

In the JV division, Essex was among 15 schools and its roster included Flanery, who took first place. Other members of the team included Holland (38th place), Hunter Canno (42nd place), Noah Graham (50th place) and Gage Weir.

Gray said the success of the Essex chess club is due to the passion the students show for the game and their desire to get better all the time. In all, there are about 60 students involved with the chess club.

“We have had a very large club for a few years now,” Gray said. “The biggest factor is there is a strong core of children who love chess, and they are fueling the competition at the club.  These students are driven to beat their friends and classmates.”

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