Chess Team takes 21st in State, ends successful season

The RB Chess Team competed at the IHSA State Competition in Peoria, to much success. As a team, RB took 21st in state out of the130 high schools that competed at the tournament. Unlike most other IHSA State competitions, there is only one division for Chess, meaning that all sizes of schools are competing at the same level. According to the ICA, the Illinois Coaches Association, which takes school size into consideration, RB placed second in the state.

These are the best results the Chess Team has had since 1980, when the team took second in the state. After losing five seniors from the 08-09 season, it is quite an accomplishment to have such a strong showing at the State level this year.

Chess Team Sponsor/Coach David Monti said, “This was supposed to be our rebuilding year after losing five starters from last year’s team that finished 28th in state.  This year we still went 16-5 overall and 5-2 at state so I guess we just reloaded.  We’re only losing one senior in the everyday starting lineup (1st Board/Captain Phil Willoughby) so we should be even better next year.”

The success at the State tournament sums up a successful year as a whole for the Chess Team. In the course of the 09-10 school year, the team boasted a 16-5 record, and had 3-1 records at the Glenbard South and Evanston tournaments, two of the biggest events during the season. Due to some tough pairing, two of the teams’ losses were against Niles North, the eventual undefeated State Champions.

Sophomore Jimmy Hamera and Junior Jake Dluhy had the highest individual rankings of the team. Hamera, 5-2, placed 20th on fourth board, and Dluhy, 5-1-1, placed 16th on second board.

When asked about the State Competition, Dluhy said, “I’m very happy with my preformance at the State tournament this year. I jumped up quite a few boards and was still able to have success. I have high hopes both personally and for the team for next year.”

Monti was very enthusiastic about the team’s season this year, adding, “This year was extremely successful. I am very happy with the outcome of the season.”

Chess is a unique sport in that it is both a team competition, and eight individual competitions at the High School level. Each player competes on their respective “board” and earns points for the team and themselves based on their individual wins and losses. Team points are determined by the board number, with one being the highest, and eight being the lowest, and whether the player won, lost, or drew the game. After points for all eight boards are tallied, the team with the most points wins that match.

Individual points are much simpler than team points. Players receive one point for a win, a half of a point for a draw, and no points for a loss. After the seven rounds at State, whoever has the most points wins. Based on who the team and players play, and how much the margin of victory is, “tiebreak points” are awarded, which are meant to decide outcomes when teams or players have the same numbers of points. This scoring system allows for individual players to still have success even if their team as a whole isn’t as strong.

RB’s Chess Team mainly functions as a club during the year, practicing two times a week, as well as optional extra time to play during lunch. Kids can be involved even if they aren’t competing. Many of the other teams that attend the State competition take their competitive chess to the next level, practicing every day and functioning much more as a sports team than anything else. This allows as many students as possible to participate, including those involved in music, drama, and sports.

Although the competitive season is over, the Chess Club still practices on Tuesday’s after school. No previous experience is necessary in order to join.