Chess team finishes second at state, advancing to nationals

Hannah Cervantes, Staff Writer

ETHS is known for many things, from our merciless sports teams to our high academic achievers. Imagine these two powerhouses put into one team. ETHS’s chess team is the highest-winning team in any high school throughout Illinois. This season the chess team won their conference and took home the second place prize at this year’s Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state final. These are not easy achievements by any means. 

 If you are not familiar with the sport of competitive chess, the rules are similar to regular chess but each decision is timed. There can be between three and ten minutes assigned to each player and once one player’s clock strikes zero, the other wins. Of course, there is the traditional way of winning through putting the king into checkmate or taking the king out of the game altogether. The team meets 2 times a week to practice and strategize with the help of their coaches, Kieth Holzmueller and Tom Doan. The players also practice at home or online, where the chess community reaches millions of people. “Evanston has won more matches at the state championships than any other high school in Illinois,” stated coach Kieth Holzmueller, “and we’ll be hoping to continue Evanston’s history of success!”

In order to practice for competing in the IHSA state chess finals, the team has been competing in chess tournaments since October. While at the finals in Peoria, IL students played a total of 7 matches, only losing one. They went up against 128 other teams and came back second, beating last year’s placing of third. Adding the 13th state chess trophy to ETHS’s collection, this dream team has a lot to celebrate. 

This spring the team has one more competition to look forward to, that being the national championship in Washington DC. Going against the top teams in the country, we’ll see if our Wildkits will see a win.