Fremont’s MSJE Wins its Third National Elementary Chess Championship!

MSJE is the 2015 USCF National Elementary Chess Champion
MSJE is the 2015 USCF National Elementary Chess Champion

Mission San Jose Elementary School hasn’t just won a third National USCF K-6 Championship in just seven years. They’ve become a scholastic chess dynasty! And if ever a dynasty needs an icon, Head Coach Joe Lonsdale can fill that role quite capably for the MSJE Chess Team.


Head Coach Joe Lonsdale with his beautiful wife Donna DePietro Woods.
Head Coach Joe Lonsdale with his beautiful wife Donna DePietro Woods.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Joe Lonsdale yet but he is worthy of being compared with such great coaches as Mike Krzyzewski, Gregg Popovich, or Phil Jackson.  Coach Joe, who originally established the MSJE Chess Team for his sons back in 1990, has done much more than teach chess. He has created a model for running a successful scholastic chess program that is constantly being copied but never quite duplicated. Coach Joe’s approach to teaching chess isn’t rocket science. His coaching staff takes the time to thoroughly analyze every child’s game every Monday night as well as at all major chess events. Many coaches do something similar but lack the consistency and commitment to keep it up all year let alone for twenty-five years.


Every great coach needs more than his/her own skill and dedication to win national championships. It is, of course, the players who actually win the titles through competition. And MSJE had quite the talented bunch of kids playing in the Elementary Championship Section.


Team mates Kavya Sasikumar and Annapoorni Meiyappan.
Teammates Kavya Sasikumar and Annapoorni Meiyappan.

The battle at the chess boards for these kids was difficult and in the end they received top honors by the slimmest of margins over I.S. 318 from New York. Sixth grader David Pan lead the charge by finishing tied for fifth place overall with an impressive 5.5/7. Super talented fourth grader Annapoorni Meiyappan finished only a half point behind David with 5/7. Next was the fourth grader Rishith Susarla with 4.5 and fifth grader Kavya Sasikumar with 4.


For now, it is once again time to celebrate a National Championship in Fremont, California. The victors can revel in their success. Soon after the party finishes, the kids will be coming to the Fremont Summer Chess Camp at, where else except for their own school’s gymnasium to hone their chess skills. Since only one of MSJE’s top scorers is graduating this year, you can bet they will be a strong favorite to repeat next year.


MSJE Coaches Joe Lonsdale and Chris Torres will be teaching at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp in Northern California. For more information on the Torres Chess and Music Academy and to register your child for the summer camp, please visit: http://www.chessandmusic.com 

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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