Bo Lieberman, triple threat. Credit: Richard Cahan

Bo Lieberman is a rarity – an athlete who has competed for Evanston Township High School at the varsity level in three different sports/activities – football, track and field, as well as chess.

For all three, he has been on the varsity team for multiple seasons: as a wide receiver and kick returner in football, a 400-meter and relay runner for track and field, and on the 8-board team for chess. Next week, he will be one of 12 players representing ETHS at the Illinois High School Association State Chess Final.

Lieberman, along with ETHS teammates Elie Platnick, Adam Elgat, Nathan Melnikov, Chris von Hoff, Henry Zaslow, Rohil Bose, Jonah Chen, Meris Goldfarb, Luca Zerega, Somil Bose and Tate Darin, is looking to help the team equal or improve on last year’s third-place team finish at the State Chess Final.

Lieberman, playing Board 7, was one of two Wildkits who won their games in last weekend’s IHSA Sectional match against Stevenson High School, expected to be the top-seeded team for the state competition.

White: Stevenson

Black: Bo Lieberman

1d4 d5 2c4 c6 3cxd5 cxd5 4Bf4 Nc6 5Nc3 Nf6 6e3 a6 7Bd3 Bg4 8Qb3 White attacks black’s pawn on b7, but black is easily able parry this threat. White should have played 8Nge2, waiting before deciding on the best spot for his queen. 

8…Na5 9Qc2 Rc8 10h3 Bh5 11Rc1 e6 12Be2?! Bg6 13Bd3 White wasted time with his last two moves. This gives black time to initiate action on the queenside.

13…Bb4 14Nf3? White should play 14Qa4+, forcing 14…Nc6 to protect the black bishop on b4. 

14…Bxd3 15Qxd3

Black to move

15…Ne4?! This move gives black has an advantage, but even stronger is 15…Nc4!, which wins material. 16Qe2, protecting the pawn on b2, fails to 16…Nxb2! 17Qxb2 Bxc3+ 18Rxc3 Qa5 and black will win the immobilized rook on c3.

160-0 Bxc3 17bxc3 Nc4 18Rb1?! b5 Black now threatens Qa5, attacking white’s pawns on c3 and a2. 

19Rfc1 Qa5

White to move

20 a3? White needed to play 20Ng5 to trade off black’s strong knight on e4.

20…Qxa3 21Ra1?

Black to move

21…Qb2! Black threatens 22…Qxf2+

22Rab1 Qxf2+ 23Kh2 Nb2! 24Qc2 Qxc2 25Rxc2 Nd3 26Bg3 Black is two pawns ahead and about to win white’s pawn on c3.

Black to move

26…Rxc3 27Ra2 0-0 28Rxa6 b4 29Ne5?! Nxg3 30Nxd3 Rxd3 31Kxg3 Rxe3+

White to move

Black is multiple pawns ahead in a rook endgame and went on to win comfortably.

Keith Holzmueller is coach of the ETHS chess team.

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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