They did it. The chess team from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue won first place last weekend at the United States Chess Federation's...

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They did it.

The chess team from Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue won first place last weekend at the United States Chess Federation’s SuperNationals Chess tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

The team of seven, which won the championship title for the kindergarten-fifth grade category, represents Stevenson’s after-school chess club. The club, which started three years ago with a handful of students, now has 66 members.

Stevenson took sixth place at the national competition last year and had hoped that months of practice and private coaching would help them take the title this time.

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The red-and-gold trophy they lugged home “is huge. It’s taller than some of the kids,” said Nicholas Larus-Stone, 9, the team’s youngest player. He said the tournament, in which he played seven rounds — most lasting three hours each — was tiring. But, he said, “I had an excellent time. In the beginning, I was a little nervous, but then I got used to it.”

“It’s an individual sport, but the kids really worked together as a team,” said Diana Stone, Nicholas’ mom and the group’s spokeswoman. When one of the players lost to a highly-rated competitor, the Stevenson kids rallied together and helped another teammate beat the same player later on by strategizing, she said.

More than 5,000 students from 1,300 schools gathered last week for four days of intense competition. It is believed to be the largest scholastic chess tournament ever, according to the U.S. Chess Federation.

The Stevenson players were: Michael Lee, Darren Wu, Alex Guo, Jerry Li, Gabriella Rader, Aviv Caspi and Larus-Stone.

The Stevenson team will also compete in the Washington State Elementary School Championships in Lynden, Whatcom County, on April 23. The Stevenson club earned a first-place award at the state tournament last year.

Natalie Singer: 206-464-2704 or nsinger@seattletimes.com