2020 Chess

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2020 Chess

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The 46th annual IHSA Team Chess State Tournament returns to Peoria Civic Center on Friday and Saturday, February 14-15. A total of 127 teams from across the state are entered in this year’s competition. The field was narrowed down from original 149 entries who played at sectional tournaments around the state on February 1. This is the third year of sectional competition, which was implemented because the tournament was bursting at the seams in the Civic Center Ballroom.

The media has taken notice of the uniqueness of the IHSA Chess state tournament, which was the subject of a 2015 documentary called "Chess State".

A chess team consists of eight players and up to four alternates. Approximately 1,500 competitors and 250 coaches will be participate in the two-day event.

"The largest team chess tournament in the world happens right here in Peoria," said former IHSA Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson, who now serves as the State Final Statiscian. "People think of chess as an individual pursuit. Turning it into a team competition encourages players to help their teammates improve and fosters a sense of camaraderie. They cheer for each other after a good win – or even a good draw.”

The 2019 state tournament saw Whitney Young High School win its fifth team state championship, all of which have come since 2011. The Dolphins, who ended Illinois Math and Science Academy's threepeat bid in 2019, have also placed second four times since 2007. Barrington was the runner-up a year ago, as the school brought home its first state trophy after five previous Top 10 finishes. Stevenson has placed third the past two seasons and now owns eight state final trophies, inlcuding one state title (2008). Highland Park just missed its first trophy a year ago when it placed fourth, a position the Giants have landed in three times in the past four years. Two-time champ New Trier (5th) rounded out the Top 5 in 2019, while Glenbrook North (6th), Hinsdale Central (7th), Naperville North (8th), Northside (9th) and Normal West (10th) were all contenders a year ago who placed in the Top 10.

The first of seven rounds starts at 10 a.m. Friday and action continues until about 8 pm. On Saturday the teams return to play at 9 am, with the awards ceremony about 5 pm. In each round, the teams are paired off and 512 (128 / 2 × 8) chess games are played simultaneously. While you can hear a pin drop during the competition, the play can be intense, especially "inside the ropes," a special viewing area where the top teams play. Last year’s championship was won by the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora, the only team to finish the tournament with seven wins and no losses. Illinois Math & Science Academy of Aurora is seeded first in this year's event.

The IHSA Chess Tournament is open to the public. Elementary and junior high school players who are interested in watching high school competition are especially welcome. The Illinois Elementary School Association will hold its state chess tournament in the Peoria Civic Center Ballroom later in February.

Reporters and photographers are welcome but are asked to check in at the Tournament Office prior to entering the competition area.

46th annual State Series
20th year at Peoria Civic Center

Peoria Civic Center (Peoria)

Friday, February 14
10:00 AM - Round 1
1:00 PM - Round 2
3:45 PM - Round 3
6:30 PM - Round 4

Saturday, February 15
9:00 AM - Round 5
Noon - Round 6
2:45 PM - Round 7
5:30 PM - Awards





No charge for entry

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