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April 22, 2011 > Chess Club has outstanding first year

Chess Club has outstanding first year

By Maya Litvak
Photo by Vivian Stoneking

Chess can be an intense, strategic exercise that challenges even the greatest minds. Irvington High School in Fremont recently welcomed a new club that celebrates and expands these skills. "The club was established to provide students an opportunity to engage in a mental activity that promotes concentration, memory, and vision," says Chess Club Treasurer and nationally ranked Chess Master, Rohan Agarwal. The first ever Fremont Elementary Chess Championship was held at Irvington last year, with almost 90 students, K-6 in attendance. Irvington students Rohan Agarwal, Akshay Narayan, Ankita Roy and Rahul Bhatia organized this event. Over 15 Bay Area elementary schools were represented at the tournament.

Aditya Kumar, Chess Club President and a ranked "A" player, used the money generated from the tournament to invest in creating a Chess Club at Irvington. Still in its first year of existence, the club has over 30 members who attend weekly meetings to discuss strategy and refine their chess skills. Kevin Hui, Irvington's Chess Club Vice President and ranked "C" player, states, "The chess club is a unique way for people in Irvington to socialize with each other while playing the wonderful game of chess."

Irvington's Chess Club is part of the Northern California High School Championship League, an online group for Northern Californian chess players to compete. The Championship has a group of nine high schools, from Saratoga to Mission, that compete via an online chess server for the title of Northern California High School Champions. Every school has five players per game, ranked by strength from board one (strongest) to board five. Player one of the first school, plays against player 1 of the next; player 2 of one plays against player 2 of the next, and so on.

So far, the Irvington club has emerged as the underdog team to clinch the top four playoffs. In coming weeks, the club will play two elimination matches with other schools to determine the winner of the league. Aditya Kumar, creator and President, comments, "Regardless of if we win or not, our school has come a long way since September and the effort of each player is tremendous. As the captain, I'm extremely lucky to have such a talented group of chess players!"

The five regular Irvington Chess Competitors are Rohan Agarwal, Aditya Kumar, Kevin Hui, Eric Zhang, and Brandon Lam; substitutes are Ankur Gupta and Eswar Dhinakaran. These members were champions of the first Chess Club tournament, and are now undefeated competitors in the Northern California High School Championship League. The club played Monte Vista High School on April 17, for the title of Champion and they won the tournament. These team members are now the Northern Californian Chess Champions!

In addition to the Northern High School Chess Championship, the Irvington Chess Club recently placed 6th in the Northern California Scholastic Championship in the High School Division.

This year, Chess Club officers are continuing the Elementary School Tournament for students from Kindergarten to sixth grade. The four-game tournament will be held at Irvington High School on Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with plenty of prizes including a $100 scholarship awarded to the champion.

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