Cape Elizabeth High School Competes at Supernationals

04.22.13 The Cape Elizabeth High School Chess team, which won this year's Maine State High School Team Championship in March, helped represent the state at the USCF SuperNationals V in Nashville, Tennessee from April 4-8. The tournament, held at the massive Opryland Resort Hotel, was the largest rated chess tournament in world history, attracting 5,335 players. The tournament, held every four years, combines the annual national Elementary, Junior High and High School championships into one massive event.

A forest of trophies appear on stage at the Supernationals V in Nashville, Tennessee on April 4-8, 2013.

Thanks to Dan Fishbein for contributing to this report.

There were 26 sections altogether, and Cape Elizabeth competed in the top section--the K-12 (High School) Championship. This section was exceptionally challenging, with 72 players rated 2000 (Expert) or above. Most of the top high school players in the country participated, including 20 Masters and 4 players over 2400. The Cape team consisted of 5 players rated from 2108 to 1061. Although given the chance to split into two teams based on rating class, all players chose to stay together on a single Championship section team, meaning the team's lower rated players faced only much higher rated competition. That sacrifice meant no chance of individual trophies, but they ended up making a critical contribution to the result of the entire team.

Cape Elizabeth completed the seven round tournament with a strong 13.5 points, which earned them 18th place in the country amongst high school teams. This was a good showing for the Maine champs, as there were 235 teams and 1,452 players in all sections of the High School tournament from across the country including many top rated teams and teams like Cape Elizabeth that had won their state championships. It's also notable that Cape was the highest placing team in New England, edging out Newton North High School of Massachusetts by virtue of a stellar final round in which Cape earned 3 1/2 of a possible 4 points. Cape also finished ahead of many well known high schools, such as Stuyvesant High School of New York.

Team members were Matthew Fishbein, Brett Parker, Matthew Reale-Hatem, Ben Hansel and Colin Smith. Wesley Parker also competed, in the Middle School tournament where he finished with a strong 4 1/2 points. The team also competed in the Blitz Tournament Thursday night, and took 14th place. Matthew Fishbein also earned an individual trophy in the Championship, tying for 19th place with 5 out of 7 possible points. Matthew also took home the 12th place High School Blitz trophy.

The team met other chess players of diverse backgrounds and economic circumstances from all over the country. At one point, the team was surrounded by a large number of elementary school students from PS 503 in Brooklyn and related students from a nearby middle school, who played chess with them, laughed with them, and were hanging on their every chess move. This is the team (Their fundraising campaign must have been successful as they seemed to have many more than 8 players!)

At another time, we parents screened a wonderful award winning documentary film, Brooklyn Castle, with the producer of the film and a number of the stars in attendance to give their perspective. The film is about a very successful chess program at a title 1 school in NYC, and the positive affect it has had on some of the students in that school. While we watched it, Matthew Fishbein was playing against one of the stars of the documentary, Justus Williams, on the floor below (it was the only game Matthew lost.) Brett Parker will be attending Stanford next year with another of the stars of the documentary and was able to meet her in person at the tournament as she was also playing there. The documentary will air soon in edited form on PBS and is also being produced with an accompanying educational curriculum in the near future.

It was an extraordinary experience for all involved, both students and parents.

Brooklyn Castle star Rochelle Ballantyne, center of picture

Top rated High School section entrant and the ultimate winner, Atulya Shetty of Michigan (left), with the white pieces against Brooklyn Castle star Justus Williams

Cape Elizabeth's highest rated player Matthew Fishbein prepares for his next round.

Cape's Colin Smith (red t-shirt)

Cape player and Stanford University freshman Brett Parker

In the thick of it. Matthew Reale-Hatem (second from right) calculates at the board.

Ben Hansel does the same.

These next few images show the Cape Elizabeth players poolside, having fun, making friends, playing and analyzing.

The Nashville Parthenon

Detail of the Nashville Parthenon

Closeup of a gargoyle on the Nashville Parthenon

Teammates Ben Hansel (left) and Matthew Reale-Hatem

Nashville is of course home of the Grand Ole Opry.

Matthew Fishbein ran into his former coach two-time Maine State Champion Jason Spector.

The Cape Elizabeth Team (left to right): Ben Hansel, Colin Smith, Matthew Fishbein, Brett Parker, Wesley Parker and Matthew Reale-Hatem

The Cape team shares a laugh with chaperone and chess dad Mr. Smith.

The high school section

The middle school section

The elementary section (5,335 players in all!)

The largest skittles room ever assembled on earth!

Matthew Fishbein (center with black t-shirt) plays in the Blitz Championship.

The Show Choir Nationals were happening at the same time next door at The Grand Ole Opry, and the teams were staying at the hotel. That is the bus that bought one of the teams from Ohio...and it is really from Lima, the home town of the McKinley HS New Directions on Glee.

Thanks to all who supported the Cape Elizabeth High School Team for their Trip to the Supernationals V and congratulations to all players!


Matthew Fishbein ran into his former coach two-time Maine State Champion Jason Spector.

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