Competing at last weekend’s National High School Championships, Evanston Township High School chess showed that it’s one of the best teams in the country. The tournament, held in Washington, D.C., from March 31 through April 2, attracted a record 1,745 players who competed in six different divisions.

The ETHS Championship team of Elie Platnick (from left), Henry Zaslow, Adam Elgat, Jonah Chen, Chris von Hoff and Nathan Melnikov displays its sixth place trophy at the National High School Championships last weekend in Washington, D.C. Credit: Keith Holzmueller

In the tournament’s top (Championship) section, the team of Elie Platnick, Adam Elgat, Jonah Chen, Henry Zaslow, Chris von Hoff and Nathan Melnikov finished in an impressive sixth place.

The Wildkits team edged out Stevenson, which finished seventh, to become the top finisher among Illinois schools. ETHS also finished highest of all attendance area-based public schools nationwide. The top five schools – Dalton (New York), Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), Hunter College (New York), Columbia Grammar & Prep (New York) and Arizona College Prep – are all private or magnet schools.

Platnick and Elgat were the top individual finishers for ETHS. Chen and Zaslow, who were among the bottom half of Championship players in pre-tournament rankings, finished among the top third and contributed important points to the team by defeating several higher-ranked players. 

ETHS teams also competed successfully in the Under 1900 and Under 1600 sections, the second- and third-strongest of the tournament’s six divisions. The U1900 team of Meris Goldfarb, Luca Zerega, Bo Lieberman, Somil Bose and Rohil Bose took third place, and the U1600 team of Sam Kemeny, William Zalmezak, Alastair Keely-Walker and Ethan Brush finished in 13th place.

The ETHS chess team displays its awards at the National High School Championships in Washington, D.C., on April 2. (This image has been color-adjusted to compensate for blue lighting.) Credit: Keith Holzmueller

Competing individually in the U800 division, Ryan Cowan earned an individual award by finishing in 25th place, the highest for an ETHS player in any of the tournament divisions.

The National High School Championships is the last team competition for ETHS during this school year, but returning players are looking forward to the 2023-24 season and their opportunity to keep ETHS among the elite teams in Illinois and the U.S.

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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  1. Congratulations. What a wonderful honor to bring back to Evanston.
    Wildkit chess rules!