In recent years, the Evanston Township High School Chess Team has been fortunate to have a large contingent of players who began competing for the team in 2019-2020.

Seniors Boaz Lieberman, Elijah Platnick, Henry Zaslow, Isabela Maiewski, Luca Zerega, Meris Goldfarb, Nathan Melnikov and Rohil Bose have each represented ETHS at one or more Illinois High School Association State Chess Finals.

ETHS Varsity Chess team pictured here after the Palatine Team Award from a match in early December. From left, Nathan Melnikov, Boaz Lieberman, Elijah Platnick, Meris Goldfarb, Rohil Bose, Henry Zaslow and Adam Elgat. (Not pictured: Chris von Hoff.) Credit: Keith Holzmueller

Members of this group led the school to a fourth-place finish at the IHSA State Finals in 2020 and a third-place finish in 2022, and are hoping to lead the team to an even better result in their final season.

Seniors played for ETHS on six of the eight boards at the recent Palatine Pirate Tournament, where the team defeated two state contenders, Walter Payton and Whitney Young high schools, on its way to a second-place finish behind Stevenson High School, the current state champion.

Zaslow, Melnikov and Bose each won two of their three games against these three highly ranked teams.

In Round 2 of this tournament, Bose’s quick win against his Whitney Young opponent helped ETHS grab an early lead that they never relinquished.

Palatine Tournament, Round 2

Bose (ETHS) vs. Whitney Young

1d4 f5 2Bg5 This bishop move discourages black’s normal plan of playing 2…Nf6, followed by g6 or e6. 

Black to Move

2…h6!? 3Bh4 Nf6?! Now white can capture the knight and compromise black’s kingside.An alternative for black is 3…g5, which looks risky but may be playable.

4Bxf6 gxf6? This bolsters black’s central pawns but leaves his kingside open to attack. It’s better to play 4…exf6, followed by g6, to shore up black’s shaky kingside.

White to Move

5e4! Bose immediately takes advantage of black’s last move. White now threatens 6Qh5 mate!

5…h5 6Be2 Bh6 This move loses a pawn but avoids checkmate by opening up the f8 square for black’s king.

7Bxh5+ Kf8 8exf5 e6 9Nf3 exf5?! This capture further weakens black’s position. It’s better to play 9…Nc6, followed by Ne7, to help defend the kingside.

White to Move

10Nh4! This move threatens both Ng6+ and Nxf5.

10…Rg8 11Nxf5 Bg7 12Qf3 d6 13Nc3 c6 140-0-0 Bxf5 15Qxf5 Bh6+ 16Kb1 Na6 17Rhe1

Black to Move

17…Rc8? Ignoring white’s threat of Re8+.Black needed to play 17…Nc7, defending his e8 square, or 17…Rg5, attacking white’s queen.

18Re8+ Qxe8 19Qxf6+ and black resigns. Black’s only move is 19…Qf7, which allows 20Qxf7 mate.

Final Position

Keith Holzmueller

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...

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