Area chess teams make a move
Local high school students compete in statewide tourney

Saturday, February 9, 2008
By Brian Feldt

Of The Journal Star

Peoria – Just 32 small warriors stood between Michael Mahoney and his enemy as a room full of more than a 1,000 high school students was so quiet, one could only here the constant pounding of clocks.

Rarely is a ballroom packed with teenagers so calm, but the focus and determination needed to play a solid chess match requires the silence.

The high school students were competing in the 2008 Illinois High School Association’s Chess Team State Tournament, which kicked off Friday at the Civic Center. The tournament will conclude today with the crowning of a new champion after the final round scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Mahoney, the No. 2 ranked player for Peoria Notre Dame, lost his first-round match Friday but said the overall experience is something that he cherishes.

“You get to make friends, meet new people and it is really challenging,” he said. “You can have good games and then you can have bad games. It can get really intense while playing fast, moving fast, hitting the clock, moving, thinking. It’s just fun.”

Shortly after 10 a.m. Friday, 37,120 assorted chess pieces were in play as nearly 150 schools challenged for the state title. Area high schools competing included Peoria Notre Dame, Richwoods, Galva, Woodruff and Princeville. Among them, Woodruff was the highest rated team coming in with a ranking of 51. Meanwhile, Notre Dame, Richwoods, Galva and Princeville were ranked 71st, 81st, 64th and 98th respectively.

Mahoney and his eight-member squad will look to make a run to compete with some of the best chess players and teams Illinois has to offer. His coach, though, said finishing around the assigned ranking would be enough for his appetite.

Here is the full article.

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