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State School Superintendent Visits Fairview Elementary School Chess Champions Following Remarkable Three-Peat

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Georgia State School Superintendent Richard Woods paid a special visit to Fairview Elementary School on Dec. 11 to meet its champion chess team and witness the chess club in action.

The club, composed of students from grades 3-5, began competing in the Henry County Queen’s Quest Chess Tournament in 2018 before winning three consecutive championship titles in 2019, 2022, and 2023. There were no tournaments in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his visit, the superintendent observed the prodigious young chess players in action and even engaged third-grader Brennan Hall in a friendly game, discovering firsthand the skills that earned the students their championship titles.

“It was an honor to have Superintendent Woods visit the club. I appreciate Superintendent Woods recognizing these amazing kids and the educational benefits of chess,” said Fairview Elementary chess coach George Abbott. “It was great to see him and Brennan battle. It was a special moment for the Fairview Chess Club.”

The club, approximately 36 members strong, meets twice weekly, honing their skills under Abbott's guidance. His passion for the game and dedication to his students are evident in their remarkable progress and success.

“I have always enjoyed chess,” Abbott said. “As a teacher, I like all the educational and social benefits chess offers. When I came to Fairview in 2016, I was excited to start a chess club. I am really proud of this club and lucky to work with some amazing kids.”

Abbott also serves as the school’s physical education teacher and basketball coach.

“To see the composure and wit at the elementary level as these students strategize during the games is remarkable,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “We are incredibly proud of our chess players and their achievements. This program's success goes beyond trophies and titles, providing academic and personal benefits by encouraging teamwork and sportsmanship and fostering intellectual development and critical-thinking skills in our students.”

The club’s vibrancy and its victories make it one that students are eager to join. Although members are primarily students from the third, fourth, and fifth grades, there are exceptions where students show passion and ability, including a few years ago when the team welcomed a talented Pre-K student.

"It's truly inspiring to see these young minds mastering this complex game with such skill and passion," said then Board Chair Annette Edwards (Dist. 2). "The dedication and focus I witnessed are a clear indication of the strong foundation established by Fairview Elementary’s chess club, and I’m excited to see this program flourish not only at Fairview but at other schools throughout the district.”

“The success of the chess club and the drive and talent we have witnessed are a testament to the dedication of our students and educators,” Davis stated. “The potential outcomes of this program are immeasurable, and Henry County Schools will continue to invest in programs like this that give every young learner opportunities, access, and outcomes that will lead to success in a global society.” 

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.