The Coalinga High School chess team defended its state championship titles last weekend with three team wins and some individual honors.
Six of the 12 team members competed in the Cal Chess Grade Level State Championships in Pleasanton, where they captured the high school’s eighth state win. The school district has earned 23 state chess championships in primary, elementary, middle school and high school divisions over the last decade.
“We won our first state championships with this group of boys in the primary division in 2008,” coach Ed Wong said. “This group has been responsible for a lot of the state championships.”
This group has been responsible for a lot of the state championships.
Ed Wong, Coalinga High chess coach
Bryce Wong and Brandon Berry teamed up to win the ninth grade division, where Bryce finished in fourth individually. Brett Wong and David Carmona won the 11th grade division. Brett also was crowned 11th grade champion. He now has three state champion titles and a national champion win. Blake Wong and Paul Carmona won the 12th grade level.
Brett is one of the state’s highest rated players and was expected to win his division, said Ed Wong, who is also his father. But it was older brother Blake who pulled out a surprise in his final year and won his division, Wong said.
Blake Wong started playing chess in kindergarten. He also is an athlete excelling in swimming and basketball.
“I thought I was going to go out without a state championship,” Blake said. His younger brothers, Brett and Bryce, both have individual state championship titles.
“It was a great feeling,” Blake said. “We came in and we just played strong.”