Written By: Elton Huayre
Port Chester High School junior Nathan Provencher called checkmate on the Chess Club tournament, claiming the crown as the school’s Chess Champion.
On January 23, the Chess Club held the final match of its first chess tournament in Port Chester High School. The tournament began on January 18th and was meant to test student’s abilities in chess and determine who is superior at the game. Before the major final match, the semi-finals were held, deciding who would be the last two to compete against each other.
Juan Mejia and Nathan Provencher, both very skilled, outpaced 32 other competitors. But to determine who was the Chess Champion, Juan only needed to win once against Nathan in order to be in first place while Nathan had to win twice in order to be first place. The odds seemed to lean in Juan’s favor.
The Championship match was exciting. It began with Nathan playing black and Juan playing white in the first match. Juan would start off with an e4 move, a King’s Pawn Opening, which is one of the most common but a solid opening choice, giving him immediate control of the center. Though the first one to attack was Nathan who took Juan’s pawn. Nervously, Nathan moved his Knight a5 in which forked, or attacked, the Rook and Bishop simultaneously. Juan, realizing that he is left with nothing else but pawns and two important pieces, surrenders and allows Nathan to win the first match.
In the second match, the roles reversed with Juan playing the black side and Nathan playing the white side. Nathan opened with e4 and Juan attacked first, capturing the pawn on e4. Although it seemed like Juan would leave as the Chess Champion, his fate was sealed when he placed his King on f7, the weakest point of the board for black, leaving him surrounded by two Queens and blocked by his own Pawns. With Nathan winning two matches in a row, he defied the odds and became the first Chess Champion in the Chess Club’s first tournament.
The opponents applauded each other’s abilities and admitted that they made each other “nervous to move a piece and felt the pressure around them, making them drop sweats of bullets.”
With the amount of support the tournament received and the huge turnout of students eager to play chess, the Chess Club plans to host another tournament in the spring.
The Chess club is currently thriving and is looking to grow its numbers and increase student interest in Chess by helping members understand the game such as the rules of the game and gameplay. Mr. Raskin, the club’s supervisor and PCHS math teacher, hopes “to one day host a multi-school tournament.”