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Chess Team Shows Up Big at Nationals

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Chess Team Shows Up Big at Nationals

Nikhil Kalghatgi

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The Whitney Young chess team recently traveled to Orlando to compete in the 2018 National Grade Championships. The tournament is a four-day affair, with side events starting on Thursday, and then the main tournament stretching from Friday to Sunday.

The team struggled to some degree during the side events, failing to win the Blitz Team Championship for the first time in four years, but there were a few bright spots. For example, Tristan Kenny ‘21 and Alexander Ursu ‘21 placed fifth in the Bughouse event, taking home trophies for their performance.

In addition to this, the team won the 12th Grade Team Championship. With this victory, the senior team has won the National Grade Championship for every year they have competed in it, an incredible achievement. This year, they did so despite the absence of their highest-rated player Matthew Stevens ‘19, who could not attend due to “having better things to do.”

While the team will have no less than six seniors graduating this year, exemplary performances by underclassmen suggest that the team will remain a contender in years to come. Tristan Kenny ‘21, in addition to his performance in the bughouse tournament, performed fantastically well in the main event also. He scored 2.5 points against players rated 500 points above him on his way to an even score. With this result, his rating went up 100 points, a remarkable result for a single tournament. Kenny remarked that he was “very happy” with his performance, and that a rap battle to decide who plays board 8 on the team is currently underway. Dino Vazquez ‘19, who, with Robert Bitunjac ‘19, currently holds that board, is reported to have responded by saying “come at me, bro.”

The next major competition for the team is the state competition. When the team goes to Peoria to compete in the state tournament on February 8, you will be able to follow their results here.

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Chess Team Shows Up Big at Nationals