Minnesota's championship high school chess team fell short of its third straight national title over the weekend.
The 13 members of Minneapolis' Southwest High School Chess Team competed in the U.S. Chess Federation's High School Championship in Atlanta. They won the national title for the second-tier teams in each of the last two years.
Coach Alex Adams said Sunday that the competition was a lot tougher this year, in part because the format of the tournament changed.
"We started off in 19th place, came up to 15th, 11th, and now we're sitting at 9th. Our chance for a three-peat was not as strong at nationals, but of course, we three-peated at state, which is our huge goal," said Adams.
Chess powers from Arizona took both the second-tier and top honors in Atlanta on Sunday. Texas, New York and Virginia teams rounded out the top places.
And although a Minneapolis player took a national title last year, no one got higher than 26th place in individual rankings at this year's chess playoff.
The Southwest team returned from the tournament last night, and some of the top players will be back for a senior year in 2009. Their coach says some of the 11 boys and two girls may letter in chess for a second time.