south jersey innovation center

Nationals Highlights

south jersey innovation center

It was a chess-filled weekend for many of South Jersey Innovation Center’s (SJIC) students. Here is how the National K-12 Grade Championships (also known as “The Nationals”) went this past weekend. 

This year’s tournament broke all the past records for number of participants – 2, 463 players! 27 of these players were South Jersey Innovation Center’s (SJIC) Innovators. 

As for the tournament itself, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center was filled to the brim with chess players. The playing hall was massive and players could sit there for up to three hours in silence. For many of our Innovators, this was their first large tournament and the style and size of this playing hall and tournament was something that took a round or two to adjust to.

The hallway right outside had quite the opposite atmosphere. The moment you opened the doors to the hallway, you were bombarded with noise. Hundreds of parents were anxiously crowded outside, all waiting for their children to emerge from the playing hall.

SJIC was lucky to have a team room where many of our players congregated in between rounds. The room was bustling with children analyzing their games, numerous games of bughouse, and just children relaxing before the next round.

SJIC Innovator’s Tournament Results Highlights:

  • Michael Suralik: 3.5 points, medal for Top U-800, gained 146 rating points, 9th Grade Section 
  • Shawn Wang: 5 points out of 7 (at 2203, the highest-rated Innovator), 9th place, 12th Grade Section 
  • Noah Xu: 4.5 points, 21st place, 12th Grade Section
  •  Ben Lauer: 4.5 points, 20th place, 11th Grade Section 
  • Maxwell Wang: 4.5 points, 22nd place, 10th Grade Section
  • Liam Jesunas: 5 points, 14th place, First Grade Section


A leading center for STEM instruction (including math, computing, and robotics), SJIC offers superb instructional chess programs for both children and adults. SJIC hosts official rated chess tournaments every other Sunday and rated rapid tournaments every Wednesday night.