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Northside College Prep takes 2nd place at citywide Prep Bowl
by Jeff Caveney, Renaissance Knights instructor and Northside College Prep High School chess coach

The Northside College Prep High School varsity chess team showed everyone in Chicago just how strong we are, taking 2nd place at the citywide Prep Bowl at IIT Saturday, Nov. 20th. The Mustangs beat St. Patrick's 41-27 in the 1st round, then dominated Lake View High School and Lincoln Park High School in the 2nd and 3rd rounds with back-to-back 68-0 shutouts. Last year Lincoln Park finished  higher at state than Northside did, and a lot of people did a double take when they walked by the table and saw Northside's score go higher and higher with every game. 

Northside played defending Prep Bowl champ Whitney Young for the title in the 4th and final round, and we put up a ferocious fight. Northside took the lead 9-0 with Jayce Feiger's middlegame checkmate combination on 4th board. The other 7 games kept going. And going. And going. Every single one of the other 60-70 games in the whole tournament had finished, and the 7 Northside-Whitney Young games were still going, locked in tight battles. Games can last up to 2 hours long, and all 7 games continued until there were less than 15 minutes left.

It was a wonderful sight to see so many Northside JV players and parents on our side of the table, watching the team intently and silently rooting us on. The accompanying photos taken by Kehuan Luo, Chengliang's father, show our team in action both competing and supporting their teammates.

Unfortunately Northside lost 5 of these 7 tough games. We did show the depth of our team with Harris Khan winning on 8th board and Aamir Ansari drawing on 7th board. Northside scored 17 points vs. Whitney Young's 51 points, and the match was closer than the score indicates. The team will practice more and study and learn from our games, and we look forward to challenging Whitney Young again in the CPS Championship in January!

As coach, I'm very proud of the tremendous team effort that all 18 varsity and JV Northside chess players made at the Prep Bowl. The day began with three JV players, James Fan, Brian Lehman and Philip Abraham, volunteering to give up their spots on the JV team for the whole day to help out the varsity team for one game. They substituted for three varsity players representing Northside at the Math League competition who then joined the chess team starting in the 2nd round. Everyone owes a big thank you to James, Brian, and Philip who made the whole team's success possible. And Philip Abraham won as varsity 8th board in our tough 1st round match vs. St. Patrick's, helping us to prevail 41-27.

Our JV team also played a very tough tournament against strong competition from other high school's varsity teams, and without James, Brian and Philip. We won a tough match vs. Marshall 36-32 in the 1st round, with Abdul Ibrahim on 1st board, Janet Kang on 2nd board, Richard Kim on 6th board, and Numan Karim on 7th board all winning. For the rest of the day the Northside JV team had to face competiton almost as tough as what our varsity team faced: Lane Tech in the 2nd round, St. Patrick's in the 3rd round, and Lincoln Park in the 4th round! Although we lost these matches, we put up a good long fight in all of them. Numan Karim won all his games on 7th board, and Abdul Ibrahim scored an especially impressive victory on 1st board against St. Patrick's best player!

One of the tough realities of competition is that there will be days when no matter how hard you fight, you lose all your games. This happened to three of our JV players yesterday, and I want to say how proud I am that they never acted discouraged and fought hard to the end in each game. Hikari, John and Jigar, you represented Northside very well and made the team proud. In particular I want to point out that in that final round when our 7 varsity games were the last games to finish, the very last game to finish before that was Hikari Sugisaki's game vs. Lincoln Park's 3rd best player! That is a model example of not getting discouraged and fighting hard until the end.

It's hard for me to put into words how proud I am of all 18 players on the Northside chess team. What a wonderful effort and performance from everyone on the team. It's a pleasure and a privilege to have the opportunity to coach this team.

 

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