The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

MC chess is back and booming

James McCormac
On Board Three, junior Declan Deering plays chess with fellow teammate junior Alex Urban.

 Mount Carmel junior and chess player Declan Deering likes to quote American chess great Paul Morphy: “The ability to play chess is a sign of a true gentleman.”

If that’s true, then there seems to be an increasing number of gentlemen in the MC student body. 

Chess at MC has become more popular over the last two years with many students beginning to play the game. Currently there are up to eleven varsity chess players with eight playing in matches, led by senior captains Evan Wiersema and Luis “Ozzie” Munoz. 

Dr. Jon Berry has been the chess team coach for two years. There is open chess in his room every morning before school, and the team will usually play or practice after school on Mondays and Thursdays, with some adjustments being made based on when game days are. Chess players also practice by themselves by playing online chess, something many Mount Carmel students do in their free time. 

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“My expectation is that we should make it to state this year,” said Dr. Berry. With more players and more notably players that turn up to practices the teams odds are a lot better this year to make it down to state. 

Chess has been a successful program at MC in the past, but in recent years there has been a lack of players. 

“We could barely field the eight required players for a game,” said Deering.

 A lot of players were also inconsistent in showing up to matches and practices last season.

“It was difficult because we didn’t have a lot of reliable players,” said Dr. Berry. “We were always scrambling to get kids to play in matches and tournaments.”

 But this year the number of chess members has grown due to the popularization of chess online and the fact it was one of the few games students could use to pass downtime last year when it was unblocked on the MCHS WiFi.

“We’re going to be much better than last year,” said Dr. Berry. 

The team is expecting to win around half of their team competitions according to Deering and then really step it up in tournaments once members who are in other sports such as football are free. 

Chess team matches work very differently from other sports. There are eight people who will play on eight different boards. The boards descend in skill with board one being your best player. Currently Wiersema plays board one for MC. Each board is worth a certain amount of points with board one being worth 12 points and each consecutive board being worth one less point. If the game ends in a draw both teams get half the points the board is worth.

Tournaments are the same, except there are multiple rounds of matches with a team playing an opponent closer in skill every round. 

“Each round gets more and more exciting,” said Dr. Berry. 

To get to state the team will have to perform well in tournaments and okay in team matches. The team games for chess are less important than the tournaments and a lot of MC chess players are involved in sports that take up time during the regular season. If the team performs well in tournaments once it has all its players then it is likely to make it to state.

“Evan and Ozzie are the captains and the leaders and the best players,” said Dr. Berry.  “They do a great job”

These seniors can tell that this year it’s going to be much better than last.  

“We’re going to be very stacked for sectionals and the regular season,” said Munoz. “I’m excited I think we’re going to do well” 

Having the chess team do well is important to Munoz, he thinks that it is a great thing to have at the school. 

“We have those guys from football, baseball, and wrestling on the team,” said Munoz. “It reflects positively on the school that [MC students are] not just meatheads but also smart guys.”

Although they have only competed in one tournament, the chess team is confident they can accomplish something this season that has never been done in MC history. 

“Go Caravan,” said Munoz. “We’re going to win another state title.” 


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About the Contributor
James McCormac
James McCormac, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.