Chess: Uni places 11th at state tournament, No. 1 among small schools
Published: Saturday, February 9, 2008 - 9:15pm
Note: This article has been updated with information about the Illinois Chess Coaches Association. (See team sponsor John Garvey's comment below.) For more about the Uni chess team in the lead-up to this weekend's IHSA state tournament, including audio from coach Chris Merli and junior Gordon Ruan, click here. For coverage of Friday's rounds, click here.
PEORIA — Two narrow losses today prevented the Uni High chess team from achieving its goal of a top-three finish in the 118-school IHSA state chess tournament. The team ended the two-day event in 11th place.
But Uni earned the top spot among small schools, winning the Illinois Chess Coaches Association award for first place in the 1A School Division. (The IHSA does not give chess awards based on school enrollment.)
After going 4-0 Friday, Uni returned to the Peoria Civic Center this morning in second place, behind eventual champion Lincolnshire Stevenson. But close losses in the fifth and sixth rounds dropped the team to 12th. Uni lost to Cary-Grove in Round 5 by a score of 36-32. The team then fell to Hinsdale Central in Round 6 by the same score.
Uni concluded the competition with a 53-15 victory over Wheaton Warrenville South in Round 7. The win gave the team a 5-2 record and a 111.3 tie-breaker.
Cary-Grove (5-2, 115.2 tie-breaker) finished in 10th place, while Hinsdale Central (5-2, 102.5 tie-breaker) ended in 16th.
Stevenson, the only team with a 7-0 record, won the state title.
On Friday, Uni was one of only five teams to go 4-0, beating Oak Forest 68-0, Buffalo Grove 64.5-3.5, Glenbard South 54-14, and Evanston Township 45.5-22.5. Uni finished the day in second by virtue of its 34.2 tie-breaker.
Three Uni players ended the tournament in the top 10 of their respective boards:
- Board 1: Gordon Ruan (jr), 7th place, w-w-w-w-w-d-w (6.5 pts)
- Board 2: Alex Zhai (sr), 10th place, w-w-w-x-d-w-w (5.5 pts)
- Board 3: Geoffrey Beck (sr), 4th place, w-w-w-w-x-w-w (6 pts)
Ruan automatically medaled by placing in the top 10 of Board 1. Players on the other boards received IHSA medals only if they accumulated 6 or more points without a loss. The Illinois Chess Coaches Association also awarded medals to individual players. (More information about ICCA medals is pending.)
Here is how the rest of Uni's team fared:
- Board 4: Alan Liang (jr), 65th place, w-w-x-x-w-x-x (3 pts)
- Board 5: Greg Atherton (jr), 21st place, w-w-w-w-x-x-w (5 pts)
- Board 6: Brian Wang (jr), 27th place, w-d-w-w-x-x-w (4.5 pts)
- Board 7: Daniel Cheng (so), 29th place, w-w-w-w-d-x-x (4.5 pts)
- Board 8: Youyang Gu (fr), 64th place, w-x-d-d-w (3 pts); Jason He (jr), between 83rd and 104th (final placement pending IHSA correction), w-w (2 pts)
The tournament consisted of seven rounds: four Friday, three today. Three of the original 121 schools dropped out. There was no division of schools according to enrollment.
Uni entered the tournament seeded second. For Uni to win a trophy, the team needed to place in the top three.