Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation
Illinois' Premier Chess Organization








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Northside Prep takes 2nd place at State Frosh-Soph Chess Championship!

by Jeff Caveney, Renaissance Knights instructor and Northside Prep High School chess coach

The Northside Prep chess team's freshmen and sophomores warmed up before dawn Saturday morning with a football toss and a bus ride, fought hard on the chess boards till after dark, and came home as the 2nd place Freshman-Sophomore team in the state. The 44th annual State Frosh-Soph Chess Championship was held at Bloom Trail High School in Chicago Heights Dec. 11th.

The Mustangs achieved a 5-player combined score of 18 points in 5 rounds. Sophomore varsity co-captain Aamir Ansari, freshman varsity player Christian Kavouras, and freshman JV player James Fan led the way, each scoring 4 points out of 5 games. Fan's performance was especially impressive as a JV player. 

Their teammates provided plenty of support with strong performances too. Sophomore varsity co-captain Alex Bologna, sophomore varsity player Ahmed Akhtar, and sophomore JV player Aidan Sadowski each scored 3 points out of 5. And freshman JV player Brian Lehman came straight from a Northside basketball game in the morning to play the 3 afternoon rounds, and won all 3 of his games! The whole JV team also did well: Sophomore Hikari Sugisaki and freshmen Hannah Kim and Richard Kim each scored 2 points. It was Hannah Kim's first chess tournament! Freshman JV captain Philip Abraham played the 2 morning rounds and scored 1 out of 2.

For their outstanding scores, Kavouras won the 3rd place freshman individual prize, Fan took 5th place freshman individual, and Ansari won 5th place sophomore individual. Bologna and Akhtar also just barely missed the Top 10 sophomore individual awards, Bologna finishing 11th and Akhtar 13th.

The most exciting game the Northside team won was Fan's 2nd round game. His opponent was on the verge of winning with two advanced passed pawns in a rook and pawn endgame. But Fan playing White had his king on e6 with the Black king on e8, and he maneuvered his rook from a4 to a7 to h7 to h8 to deliver checkmate while his opponent pushed his pawns.

The team's 2nd place finish shows that Northside's freshmen and sophomores are among the very best in the state. The Mustangs finished ahead of 3rd place Niles North, the defending state chess champion team! Only the defending 3rd place team in the state Hinsdale Central finished ahead of Northside. The competition among all three teams was very close the whole tournament, with teams changing places from round to round. The final 5-player combined scores were Hinsdale Central 20, Northside Prep 18, Niles North 17. It was Ansari's final round victory that earned Northside's 18th point and got the team into 2nd place ahead of Niles North.

The Mustang chess team has finished 2010 on a strong note! The team is looking forward to 2011 with the Niles North tournament January 8, the CPS Championship January 22, and the State Championship in Peoria in February. The players will stay in shape with their Two-A-Days tactics exercises, and the team will be ready to achieve more excellent results in the New Year!

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