Home > Excel Academy of Southwest students checkmate the opposition to win chess tournament

Excel Academy Students from across Chicago recently gathered at the Excel Academy of Southwest for a day of competition. The school hosted the third annual Excel Academy chess tournament, where teams competed three-on-three-style.

Jake Benke, director of the Southwest campus, extoled the virtues of chess as important activity that fosters critical thinking skills amongst his students.

After four heated rounds, Excel Academy of Southwest took home the trophy with the highest point totals. The top player, Luis Vilchiz, was awarded a plaque and a customized chess board. He said he enjoys playing chess as he likes thinking about all the strategies and moves he can use.

Other students, including Mikiyah Powell, Amina Johnson and Jakiara Riles, never thought they would play chess but were excited to try something new. “At first I thought chess was hard to learn, but once I started, I got to like it,” said Riles. “I like how I could make decisions and this helped think about how to make decisions in the real world.”