Team also tied for first in end-of-season standings
Ten talented chess players had all the right moves on Jan. 31 while trying to fill some big shoes at the annual conference tournament, representing a team that had taken first at the competition two of the past three years.
Not only did the Jefferson Junior High chess team checkmate its way to another tournament win at the competition, but the team also tied for first place in the end-of-season standings for the Southeast DuPage Elementary Athletic Association conference.
“The third time is a charm,” enthused a beaming Joe Wechman, coach of the Woodridge team for the past 12 years.
The team was headed by first board player Amber Moca, who has been on the junior high team since she was in 4th grade. Moca finished the season with a 10-3 record, nearly mirroring the team’s 12-2 record.
The team was strengthened by other players who joined while still in elementary school, including fourth board player Kyle Leonard and sixth board player Walter Marsh.
Solid wins from Kendall Burrow on second board, Prathika Senthil on third board, Ilya Kristesashvili on fifth board, Robert Broniarczyk II on seventh board, Ian Bromfield on eighth board, Carson Aldrich on ninth board and Rohan Sethi on 10th board also led to the strong finish to the season and at the tournament.
Wechman was overwhelmed at the beginning of the season with nearly 30 interested players competing for the top 10 spots – a far cry from several years ago when Wechman said he had trouble fielding enough players for a full team.
Each coach must rank his top 10 players, with the strongest player at the “first board” spot and so on to tenth board. At the meets, the players from a team are paired against the same level board player from the other team.
At the conference tournament, eight teams competed and one point was awarded for each chess game won. The tournament also awards 10 individual medals, one to each board level player with the best tournament record.
The Jefferson team had five board winners at the Jan. 31 tournament – Senthil on third board, Kristesashvili on fifth board, Marsh on sixth board, Broniarczyk II on seventh board and Bromfield on eighth board.