ETHS chess team at the IHSA State Finals awards ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 12. Front row (from left): Coach Tom Doan (standing), Jonah Chen, Boaz Lieberman, Chris von Hoff, Somil Bose, Adam Elgat and Coach Keith Holzmueller (standing at right). Back row (from left): Luca Zerega, Rohil Bose, Henry Zaslow, Tate Darin, Nathan Melnikov, Elijah Platnick and Meris Goldfarb. Credit: IHSA Twitter

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of state chess trophies won by ETHS and Whitney Young.

Evanston Township High School competed with 128 other teams at last weekend’s Illinois High School Association Chess State Finals in Peoria, and came away with a team trophy for the second straight year. The Wildkits finished in second place, topping last year’s third-place finish.

ETHS has collected 13 state chess trophies over the years; only Whitney Young has won as many.

All teams in the state finals played seven matches across two days, with eight players per team contesting each match.

ETHS won six of its seven matches, with its only close call being a narrow victory over a well-prepared Glenbrook South team that finished in fifth place.

The Wildkits had convincing wins over the Hinsdale Central and Illinois Math and Science Academy teams that finished in eighth and ninth place. The team’s sole loss was to a Stevenson team that won all seven of its matches to repeat as state champions.

ETHS fielded a well-balanced, experienced lineup that won games on both the higher and lower boards in almost every match.

Elie Platnick, playing Board 1, had to face the three highest-rated players in the tournament in Rounds 4 through 6, but still finished with five wins in his seven games. Adam Elgat and Nathan Melnikov scored well on Boards 2 and 3, and Jonah Chen, Boaz Lieberman and Meris Goldfarb combined for 14 wins, 1 draw and no losses while playing on Boards 5 through 8. Chris von Hoff, Henry Zaslow, Rohil Bose, Luca Zerega, Somil Bose and Tate Darin also competed and produced wins for the team.

Although their Illinois high school season is now over, the Wildkits are looking forward to one more challenge: the National High School Championships this spring in Washington, D.C., where they will be taking on the nation’s best teams.

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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