M-S chess team picking up key wins early

The Mahomet-Seymour chess team has jumped out to a strong start. The Bulldogs improved to 5-1 on the season by picking up a pair of wins over Mattoon last week and splitting a doubleheader with LaSalette Catholic Academy last month.

 

Against Mattoon

The M-S chess team defeated Mattoon in two matches 31.5-26.5 and 41-17 to win the Eastern division of the Central Illinois Chess League at Mahomet-Seymour High School last Thursday night.

Nick Morrow went 1-0-1 on the first board. Tony Huang won both of his matches. Sam Knight and Logan Weiss both had clutch wins. Gabe Wisnasky and Ethan Grinberg each went 1-1.

 

Against LaSalette

M-S won the first game over LaSalette 40-18 before slipping in the second match 29.5-28.5.

"That's honestly the first time in my coaching tenure that we've beat them," M-S coach Eric Potter said. "You know they're going to be a solid team. They're a private boarding school. Being able to beat them was nice.

"I think they were a little down this year, but we're a solid team. The second game was really close. We had two boards in very winnable positions, and they just made silly inexperienced mistakes. We would have won both matches really easily if we had won both of those."

 

Solid contributors

M-S senior Nick Morrow has carried the chess team all season. Morrow plays the first board, meaning he competes against the opposition's best player. Morrow is undefeated on the season.

"He's always been one of the best players on the team," Potter said. "This year, he's undefeated. That's pretty exciting for him that he's doing that well. Nick definitely stands out as one of our better contributors."

Nate Elliot, Jonah Singer, Huang and Grinberg have all been solid contributors this season.

"We've got some pretty good wins," Potter said. "I think we have a couple new players to our chess team, players who are actually really good, so that's good for the future. We've lost a couple older players, so we knew we'd be younger, but we have some good talent."

M-S' sweep over Mattoon gives the Bulldogs much-needed breathing room.

"I think we have so much potential," Potter said. "We could have a really good year."

M-S placed 67th at last year's IHSA state competition, and the Bulldogs will look to improve on that.

Potter has seen his team steadily improve despite many of his players having multiple extracurricular activities.

"I'm actually kind of a decent player, and I can work with them on their openings, and that's a little more instructive which helps," Potter said.

"You just have to play chess a lot in order to continually improve. In order to really excel in basketball, you need two or three hours a day of practice, same with band, but a lot of the kids don't have the time to do that in chess. It's a fine balance between making it a fun hobby and a serious program."

Categories (2):News, Education

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