West Chess Team Goes to State Championship

Chess is an ancient game of war, its earliest roots dating back all the way to the year 280. Originally the game was made for the purpose of entertainment, but has developed into a competitive sport over the last few centuries. The 8×8 checkerboard serves as the modern day  battleground to simulate wars of the past. Kings, queens, bishops, knights, castles and pawns all waged in war.

A series of wars occurred two weeks ago in Peoria. The Illinois high school chess state championship took place that weekend, with West entering ranked at #29 of 146 schools. The team entered the tournament looking to try to improve on the result achieved in the previous year. Last year the West chess team finished 32nd with 4.5/7 points, however had they won their last game and finished with 5.5/7 points they would have been 8th.

This result was going to be tough to replicate since half the team was made up of seniors last year, including star player Giorgi Van Derway. However, things were looking good after Friday’s four long and grueling games. The team finished 3-1 and things were looking bright for Saturday. Halfway through the marathon the West chess team found themselves within the top 20.

Unfortunately, Saturday was the complete opposite of Friday. The team capitulated under pressure from two rather difficult teams. The first round on Saturday started off well with the West team getting the first win of the match. However, 7th ranked New Trier fought back and kept pushing relentlessly to come out with a victory against West.

To add insult to injury, the same thing occurred in the next round. West jumped out to an early lead winning on two boards but lacked the mental stamina across the whole team to finish off 51st ranked Harvard, and ended up losing in the end. Now at 3-3, hopes of finishing better than last year were dashed for the West team and the last round was just for pride.

The last round finished rather quickly for the West team and ended up being the only win of the day for them. So, after finishing 4-3 the West team placed 44th out of 146. This was the worst performance of the Liechty era, but perhaps expected after the mass exodus of talented seniors.

Despite this, it was very disappointing and things could have been better if a few games swung in the favor of Glenbard West. All in all, the players did enjoy the weekend playing seven games of chess but were unhappy with the final result.

The future does look bright with some emerging stars, such as rookie Zach Wang, and West will look to rebound and improve on the current result. Meanwhile, West’s Rivals, Hinsdale Central, finished 5th in state after a fantastic performance from Tyler Tompkins. The two teams will look to contend with each for conference once again next season.