When visitors walk through the administrative building at Castlehill Country Day School, they quickly discover that the elementary school is a breeding ground for young chess players.
Almost 200 trophies sit atop bookcases and bookshelves and on tables in three rooms, including the principal’s office, with most of the awards representing the school’s dominance in state and national chess competitions.
Last month, Castlehill won the 14th annual Arizona State Grade Championship for fifth-graders, sponsored by the Southern Arizona Chess Association.
The championship is one of 12 state titles the school has won since 2002, as well as a national championship in 2004, said Levon Altounian, Castlehill chess coach.
Chess is an integral part of the school’s culture, with about 45 students who participate in the after-school chess club. Some children are as young as 3, Altounian said.
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