The King of Chess

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On Saturday the twenty-eighth and Sunday the twenty-ninth of January, the Benet Academy Chess Team earned second place in their conference. The only team that surpassed them was Illinois Math & Science Academy, who were only ahead by 6 points. With a record of 9 wins and 1 loss, sophomore Noah Maguigad had the best record on the Chess Team going into the state meet. “I won’t lie, it feels great,” said Noah on his success this year. “It shows how all of my hard work has been paying off. Just because I’m doing well this year doesn’t mean I’m done learning the game though; not even close. But it is nice knowing that I’m doing so well, and I still have two more years to be a part of the team, but that’s no reason to be cocky. Being 9-1 gives me even more reason to play as best as I can, and learn even more about the game.”

Maguigad learned how to play chess at the age of 4 and, excluding his three year break in junior high, has played chess ever since then. For those just getting into chess, Maguigad said, “The most important thing you can do when you are just starting out is understand that losing is a fundamental part of winning. Not all the games you play will be exactly the same, but many of the skills and tricks you learn can carry over to other games you play. Also, it is super important that you are patient with the game. Rushing will only get you into more trouble.” Many people play chess for fun and are skeptical of chess as a team sport, but according to Maguigad, “Chess is interesting, because it takes the practice and game experience that a sport does, but it also uses similar skills that one might use to study for a test. Just like sports, we can watch and analyze games in order to see the dos and don’ts; and just like sports, we get mentally fatigued after playing games that last for 2 hours. The great thing about chess is that it is not constricted by age. Instead, it is bound by how much one is willing to sacrifice in order to improve.”

On the team aspect, the Chess Team participates in many tournaments including the state tournament, they have their own conference called the ESCC, and they play in matches just like other sports teams would. The scoring system is based off of eight different chess board where each board is worth points. The first board is worth 12 points, the second board is worth 11 points, and so on; and a team needs to accumulate 34.5 points in order to win the match. After all of these matches, the Benet Academy Chess Team received second by only 6 points, which is about one chess match! In a couple of weeks, the team will be able to prove themselves when they participate in the state tournament against around 300 other schools, and after the season ends, the new season will start up at the start of the next school year. To anyone who is thinking about joining the team regardless of if they are a new player or a veteran, Maguigad advised, “It doesn’t matter if you are completely new or a ’veteran’. Either way, you are going to learn more about the game and have a fun time while doing it. Plus, you’ll be around people who share the same passion, which will give you more drive to improve your play.”

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