St. Mark’s checkmates chess kings

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David took down Goliath all right – but with a rook, not a slingshot.

Freshman Nate Conrad pulled off a major upset last weekend in Atlanta to give St. Mark’s School of Texas ninth-graders the national team chess championship.

The team – Nate, Christian Leppert and Jared Forbus – beat out 18 teams, even the traditional powerhouse schools of New York City.

On the tournament’s final day, the team standings were so close that it all came down to Nate’s final match. He faced an imposing foe: a New Yorker rated 330 points higher in chess’s complex ranking system.

“That’s like me going up against the world champion,” said St. Mark’s coach Noureddine Ziane, no chess slouch.

After an epic three-hour struggle, Nate pulled out the victory, giving St. Mark’s the title.

— Joshua Benton