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The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

A Move Across the Board, the Chess Team Succeeds at Regionals

The Center Regional Tournament marked one of Gables’ records in the history of chess
A+tournament+to+remember%2C+the+Gables+Chess+Club+takes+home+their+first+regional+tournament+trophy+since+1998%2C+placing+second+among+nine+high+school+competitors.+
Mr. Sanchez
A tournament to remember, the Gables Chess Club takes home their first regional tournament trophy since 1998, placing second among nine high school competitors.

Officially starting with the first round at 9 a.m., students from across the region gathered in the cafeteria of Miami Jackson Senior High School for the Chess2Think Central Regional Tournament. On Jan. 27,  the 12 selected players from Coral Gables Senior High’s Chess Club prepared and eventually took their places at the tables with chess boards and timers, facing off their opponents until 3 p.m.

At 7:30 a.m., Chess Club sponsors and administration from different schools, including Gables’ Chess Club sponsor Mr. Sanchez arrived at Miami Jackson Senior High School for check-in. This was followed up by the arrival of club members at 8:15 a.m. At around 8:30 a.m., the welcoming ceremony started in the auditorium, as players, coaches and parents were introduced to the event’s schedule.

“After the auditorium, we went to our sets on different tables throughout the cafeteria. When we entered it was all very exciting, because we all went together: sponsors, players, but also parents. It was a great experience for all of us, but everyone not playing the rounds had to leave when the game started, so we stayed outside anticipating,” Mr. Sanchez said.

Posing for a group photograph, Mr. Sanchez and Chess Club Members settle into the tournament environment. They waited outside the cafeteria in an outside area, where they played chess among themselves. (Courtesy of Mr. Sanchez)

Previously arranged chess sets were all over the cafeteria and some, for additional practice, were outside, where attendees busied themselves preparing for their upcoming matches. Coaches and players stopped their briefings at 9 a.m., when the first round started.

“We would sit down and wait for our opponent, and then everyone that wasn’t playing was cleared out. They would then instruct us to shake hands, start the timer and begin playing. Once the match was finished, you and your opponent had to go up the judges so that they could record who won and who lost. After everyone finished playing, they placed the standings, both individual and team standings. It was like that for all of the five matchups,” sophomore Rowan Christensen said.

Of the 12 attending Gables Chess Club members, eight were assigned a matchup on the basis of whether they were white or black in the preceding round, the other four serving as backup in case of a mishap. In coalition, Chess Club members played to go up the ranks and rack up wins for a total of five 30-minute rounds.

Sprawled about Miami Jackson Senior High School’s cafeteria, students stood at their posts, ready to take on their matched opponents. With chess boards and timers at hand, players began the match once the cafeteria was emptied out. (Courtesy of Mr. Sanchez)

The event was made up of various Title I elementary, middle, K-8 and high schools. Different brackets were organized by grade to make for a better flowing competition; Gables was one of nine competing high schools.

The scoring worked in a point system, as is usual in chess games, with one point being given for a win, half of a point for a draw and zero for a loss, this means a total of five available points for each player and a maximum of 40 per team can be earned.

“We got a team trophy for second place out of nine high schools, so Gables ranked high. For the individual ranking, we got two of us chess players in the top five, one in fourth, who was Damian Del Pino and one in fifth, Rory Prescod,” sophomore Oliver Angulo said.

In the next couple of months, before the May 4 District K-12 Championship, chess members will take action in both playing and preparing. Much like the mentality of chess itself, the chess team is set to continue looking many steps ahead, planning preliminary actions for an ensured successful districts tournament.

Standing proudly on the auditorium stage, chess players smile brightly, celebrating their second place win. (Mr. Sanchez)

“We’re going to do some practice tournaments before the main one, and they are optional but we’re still going to go to them. Also, we are all going to register in the US standings to get our ratings. If you’re rated, you’re more likely to go against someone at the same level as you in the first match. It’s a great opportunity since most of us are unrated right now, so it will even help us get rated and give us higher standings to start with,” sophomore Christensen said.

The preparation that is put into these tournaments is a daily possibility for club members, as their sponsor, Mr. Sanchez, consistently hosts meetings in his room, 9213, every day after school. Though not all members attend, a surge of attendees is seen on Fridays.

“Since we are under the umbrella of the district, they provide us with a website that students have to use to play every other day. They compete online within the district, and there they get rated. Based on the ratings, we select the members who get to go and compete in tournaments,” Mr. Sanchez said.

This school year has brought about improvement for the club, as they started participating in tournaments, a great incentive for those higher ranked members who have shown their talent and dedication in their game play. With an eye out for fistricts, the members are working to keep themselves organized this year, and from those growing opportunities, climb up the rankings in various competitions.

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About the Contributor
Beatrice Stampino-Strain, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Beatrice Stampino-Strain is a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program at Coral Gables Senior High. Following an insightful year in CavsTV, she has now started as a Staff Writer for CavsConnect, looking forward to new writing experiences. Partaking in various clubs, she serves on the boards of the International Baccalaureate Honor Society and Key Club, while also being the Vice President of the Class of 2026. More often than not, she can be seen talking to her friends or reading a book, though not at the same time (she has tried). Always wanting to bond with people, Beatrice finds herself delving into music, literature and television shows as a form of discovery to fuel her expansive curiosity of understanding. She enjoys the unsteadiness of life despite its struggle, and is always anticipating what it will bring to her next.
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