Chess Team Makes State


Antonio Garcia

For the first time since 2019, the Joliet Central Varsity Chess Team qualified to compete in the IHSA State Chess Tournament. The tournament was held on February 11th and 12th at the Peoria Civic Center. The Joliet Central Chess Team is supervised by Mr.Coatney and Ms.Ruiz, led by two-year captain Sergio Zavala and co-captain Matthew Budde. The team got their own proper sendoff at Central where the team members, captains, and supervisors received applauding support by students and staff. “This season has brought many challenges with scheduling matches and fielding a complete team,” Mr.Coatney states. “The Steelmen met all challenges and accomplished both team and individual success over the boards.” 

At finals, they went with a team of 12: five seniors, three juniors, three freshmen and a sophomore, all competing at the highest level possible. Development wise, this was a good decision made by the coaches, as this helps them gain experience. They competed against Summit Argo in the first round, beating them 36 to 32. They won the first 3 individual matches and got ½ of a point in the 7th individual match. Unfortunately, Central lost rounds 2-4 against Belleville West,  Mt Prospect, and Mahomet. Nevertheless, the team didn’t let that bring them down. Round 5, they went up against St Rita, a tremendous victory beating them 62 to 6, winning 7 of their matches and getting ½ in the first individual match. But they let their guard down and lost against Glenbard West, losing 57 to 11, only winning one individual match. The Central Chess Team made a comeback in their final round. Facing Woodstock Marian, the team won 5 individual matches, beating them 47 to 21.

Sergio Zavala finished second overall in the individual conference, with Carlos Manzo and Matthew Budde finishing in the Top 30.  Overall the team was ranked #79 out of 128 teams, ending their totals with 198.5 individual points. Congratulations Steelmen!