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In April the ETHS chess team took first place in the 18 & under division of the U.S. Junior Chess Congress, a U.S Chess national event with competition in five different age divisions. ETHS led from the start and finished well ahead of the team from Dublin, Calif. Team members were Elie Platnick, Chris Von Hoff, Rohil Bose, Javade Jones, Luca Zerega, and Alan Wang. The top scorer for ETHS was Platnick, who won his first five matches before losing in the last round to the top-ranked player in the tournament. He finished in third place with a 5-1 record.

In his Round 5 win, Platnick outplayed his higher-rated opponent on the white side of a French Defense:

White: Elijah Platnick

Black: Asish Panda

1e4 e6 2d4 d5 2Nf3 Nc6 4e5 Nd7 5f4 c5 6Nf3 Nc6 7Be3 Be7 8Qd2 a6 9Be2 b5 10Nd1 Qb6 110-0

Platnick-Panda Move 11

11…cxd4 – this move allows white to post a minor piece on the d4 square, giving him an edge. Both sides now proceed with their plans. White focuses on the kingside while black looks for an advantage on the queenside.

12Nxd4 Nxd4 13Bxe4 Bc5 14c3 Bb7 15Nf2 Rc8 16Qe3 0-0 17Bd3 f5 18Rae1 Bxd4 19cxd4 Nb8 20Rd1 a5 21g4 g6 22Kh1 Kh8 23Rg1

Platnick-Panda Move 23

White has a promising kingside attack. His next several moves step up the pressure on black’s king: 23…Nc6 24Bb1 Ne7 25Qh3 Rc4 26 Qh4 Rf7 27Nh3

Platnick-Panda Move 27

Black plays to win a pawn with 27…Rxd4?, but this attempt to win a pawn runs into a nasty pin: 28Ng5? (an immediate 28Qf2 wins for white) Rg7? (28…Rxd1! 29Nxf7+ Kg7 30Rxd1 Qe3! with the threat of 31…d4+ would save the game for black) 29Qf2.

Platnick-Panda Move 29

White is winning. Black’s rook on d4 is threatened, but if it moves, black loses his queen, and 29…Nc6 fails to 30Nxe6, which attacks both black rooks. The finishing moves were: 29…h6 30Nf3 fxg4 31Qxd4 Qd8 (winning the rook) 32Rxg4 Nc6 33 Qg1 Ne7 34Nd4 and black resigned.

Keith Holzmueller has been the head coach of the Evanston Township High School Chess Club and Team since 2017. He became a serious chess player during his high school years. As an adult player, he obtained a US Chess Federation Expert rating for over-the-board play and was awarded the Senior International Master title by the International Correspondence Chess Federation. Keith now puts most of his chess energy into helping young chess players in Evanston learn to enjoy chess and improve their play. Please email Keith at if you have any chess questions.


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