Chess piece

Going up against the best of the best, two teams from McAllen ISD earned spots in the top seven for the entire country!

Teams from Lamar Academy and Achieve Early College High School took third and seventh, respectively, in the National High School Championship, held April 8-10, in Memphis, Tenn.

They were also the top two teams in Texas.

Individually, Cameron Williams (Achieve ECHS) and Jeffrey De Groot (Lamar) finished tied for 28th with 4.5 points each. Lamar’s Gabriel Garza, who competed in his first chess tournament just six months ago, earned 3.5 points.  

The Lamar Academy team, coached by Mr. Gilbert Davila, includes Fabian Saucedo, Jorge Cavazos, De Groot and Garza. The Achieve ECHS team, coached by Mr. Daniel Saenz, includes Williams, Patricia Williams, Joaquin Zuniga, Jacob Garcia and Marcos Pena.

Overall, McAllen ISD has nine teams which qualified for the national stage. Teams from Morris Middle School, Fossum Middle School, Garza Elementary, Rayburn Elementary (two teams) and Sanchez Elementary (two teams) will compete April 27-May 1 in Grapevine, Texas.

There were no national tournaments the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamar Academy: Pictured with their trophy from the National High School Chess Championships, L-R, are Lamar team members Gilbert Davila (Chess Sponsor), Fabian Saucedo, Gabriel Garza, Jeffrey De Groot and Jorge Cavazos. 


Achieve ECHS: Pictured with their trophy from the National High School Chess Championships, standing L-R, are Achieve ECHS team members Joaquin Zuniga, Jacob Garcia, Patricia Williams and Chess Sponsor Daniel Saenz. Kneeling are Marcos Pena (left) and Cameron Williams.