Members of the San Benito High School (SBHS) chess team earned the title of state champions in the High School Championship division of the 2017 South Texas Scholastic Chess Championships. The state tournament, sanctioned by the Texas Chess Association, was held at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus in Edinburg, Texas.

Team members having participated at the state tournament included Polo Stein, Fabian Olivares, Ernest Quintanilla Jr., Robert Torres, Aaron Saldaña, and Lillian Salazar. The SBHS Championship team scored 21.0 points, just .5 points above the second place team.

The local chess team was lead by Stein and Olivares, who earned the third and fifth place standings, respectively, in the individual competition.

According to SBHS Texas ACE (Afterschool Centers on Education) Site Coordinator Cynthia Rystedt, the state win qualifies the chess team to advance to the SuperNationals VI Chess Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee, this upcoming May.

The SuperNationals tournament occurs once every 4 years and combines the United States Chess Federation’s Elementary, Junior-High, and High School (K-12) national tournaments into one event.

In addition to announcing the championship win, Rystedt and SBHS Principal Henry Sanchez proudly presented a coveted letterman jacket to three senior chess team members for their four years of dedication and commitment to high school chess team. The chess lettermen include Jonah Barrera, Ernest Quintanilla Jr., and Nathaniel A. Naranjo.