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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Chess team falls short at county tournament

The dynasty is collapsing.

For the second consecutive year, the school’s chess team failed to reclaim the state title that it owned for six straight years from 2005 to 2010. After taking second at the state tournament last year, the team scraped by with a fourth-place finish at this year’s county tournament.

The 11-player team finished behind first place winner Monta Vista, second place winner Gunn and third place winner Palo Alto, which edged Saratoga by just half of a point.

Chess Club president Evan Ye attributed the “poor results” in part to unfavorable tournament pairings.

In addition, Ye felt many of the teams had improved dramatically since their previous encounters. For example, this year, Monta Vista acquired three freshmen whose ELO ratings each exceeded 2,100.

Outside of the overall team results, Ye was impressed by some of the individual contributions. Established seniors Brian Wai, Sankash Shankar and Ye placed 13th, 14th and 25th
respectively. However, freshman Faisal Albani’s 20th place finish was a pleasant surprise.

As the chess season draws to a close, Ye hopes strengthen the team before his departure.

“From now on, we have to re-focus and remember that beating everyone at our own school means nothing—the real competition is out there,” Ye said.

Looking forward to the chess team’s future, Ye worries that most of the current talent will be lost with the graduating senior class. He expects junior Kevin Garbe to assume an important leadership role.

“The fact is that this year we didn’t lose any players; it’s just that times have changed, and the new chess generation is stepping up,” said Ye, referring to the increasing skill-level of the local competition. “But it offers a good experience for our young players at a changing of the guards.”

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