JonLuke Pencille of Lockport was the undefeated champion in the K-6 Under 1000 section at the 52nd annual New York State Scholastic Chess Championships in Saratoga Springs on March 9-10. Pencille came in first among 128 competitors.
The son of Lucy and Jeff Pencille, JonLuke is currently a fifth-grade student at Emmet Belknap Intermediate School. He has been playing chess since he was 4 years old While showing off his first trophy at school, JonLuke told his teacher and classmates that he was famous because of chess.
JonLuke may have had a bit of extra help during the state competition. Said his mom, “If you can believe it, you can achieve it; but we prayed twice before each game! I could feel my recently deceased mother watching over us.”
In addition to chess, JonLuke’s extracurricular activities include recreational league soccer and learning to play the trombone.
Three other Lockport youths participated in the state championships: Ryan Carmina, also a student at Emmet Belknap, and North Park Junior High School students Jonathan Carmina and Tristan Perkins.
Tristan earned his first state trophy, finishing sixth out of 65 participants in the K-8 under 900 section.
Ryan finished 47th out of 157 in the K-6 under 600 section.
Jonathan, who was the undefeated New York State 2018 Middle School Reserve champion, played in the K-12 under 1200 section.
All of the boys are members of the Lockport YMCA Golden Knights Scholastic Chess Team, under the auspices of Archangel 8 Chess Academy.