“Knight” falls on a “pawn”ishing chess season.

SPENCER TAFT, Staff Writer

A light snow falls outside of the cafeteria, as hushed whispers float in the air like wisps of mist. The chess teams of Gloucester, Malden Catholic and Rockport gear up for their final showdown.

Their minds are their weapons, sharpened and alert for battle. As the boards are set up, clocks tuned for the imperative in-game time limit, and the players take their seats for the first match, the tension reaches its fever pitch, as the first few clicks of the clocks signal the start of a battle of wits dating back centuries.

Competitive chess is nothing new, given that the earliest forms of the game were invented in India and Europe as far back as the middle ages, though the modern form played today came to be around 1475 in Italy.

This long history is honored to this day in High Schools across the country in interscholastic chess leagues, where chess is played like any other sport in a tournament style, allowing for every team in a division to play every other team, vying for champion status.

Here in Gloucester, our team has had one of its best seasons in years, with a record of 6 wins to 2 losses (double check) making us the best team in our division.

This season ended in style, with GHS inviting teams from Rockport and Malden Catholic High Schools to Gloucester to duke it out for the championship. First, Malden Catholic played Rockport for the right to battle Gloucester for the cup, and Malden barely won out against the scrappy underdogs of Rockport, despite the fact that Rockport was missing its #1 player.

This win gave Malden the right to play Gloucester for the right to face the west division champions for dominance over the state. Gloucester was defeated after a series of very close games. Now Malden will be moving on to battle for the overall championship, but all is not lost for Gloucester.

The awards ceremony to be held a few weeks from now will be passing out awards for overall team performance, including Gloucester as the division champions. There are also awards for individual players within their board number, which is the ranking given to players within a team ranking them on their skill. 

 Senior and Chinese exchange student Andrew Shao is set to be the #1 for board 1, the highest board possible, Spencer Taft is set to receive the 3rd place award for board 2,  Senior Zachary White earned the 2nd place for board 3and Freshman Mike Pallazola has been announced as the 2nd best player on board 4, “I worked really hard this year” Said Pallazola, and I expect to do better next year.

There will also be a simultaneous meet in Malden still later in the year where two chess Grandmasters will be brought in (A title given to the most skilled players in the world) and will play simultaneous games with every single student in the league from every school, taking half the students each. These odds may seem against the grandmasters, but no one has beaten them in the last three years. “We’re going to do pretty good [at the simultaneous] because we’ve progressed a lot this season.” said Sophomore board 5 Shannon Kelly

 In addition, next Wednesday, Gloucester will be playing its final match with its greatest rivals, Rockport, for the right to hold the Cape Ann Cup until next year, an unofficial trophy just between the two teams. “They’ve held the cup for the last 2 years” said team coach Zachary Roy, “But we have a very promising team this year, and I’m confident we can take the cup. ”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: The rockport match has been postponed for next thursday march 12th.