When it comes to Niles North High School’s heralded chess team, the Skokie Village Board made the final move.
Mayor George Van Dusen proclaimed Monday Niles North Chess Team Day in a tribute to the group that in February won the Illinois High School Association’s 2012 State Chess Championship crown in Peoria.
On the same day that a banner was placed on the Niles North building, allowing drivers on the Edens Expressway to note the team’s accomplishments, the Village Board took its turn at its regularly scheduled meeting.
“Last year, we put the pressure on the chess team that did so well and we challenged them to see if they could do a repeat,” said Mayor George Van Dusen. “Which they have.”
The proclamation notes junior David Paykin’s “exemplary skill, tenacity and fighting spirit” by winning his sixth crucial round match in “a momentous come from behind victory” that helped the team capture the title again.
Singled out for praise was senior Eric Rosen, who finished second, individually, at the National K-12 Championship Tournament held in April in Minnesota a year after he won it. Rosen, along with partner Matthew Dahl (not of Niles North) also won the National Bughouse Championship in a sanctioned side event.
The proclamation did not forget the Niles North coaches.
“Chess team coach Harry Kyriazes is recognized as one of the premier high school coaches in the United States and the State of Illinois having coached the chess team since 1999,” it states.
Kyriazes’ teams won state titles in 2006, 2010 and now this year and finished second four times and third two times. His fellow coaches on the team are Heather Ingraham and Mases Hagopian.
Kyriazes Monday called Eric Rosen the team’s “star player.”
“He’s going to be the greatest chess player I’m ever going to be associated with,” he said. “Actually, they’re all much better than I am — so off the charts.”
The Skokie Village Board was one of many that singled out the Niles North team.
Niles North’s chess team also received congratulatory communications from state and local officials and as well as from United States Chess Federation Executive Director Bill Hall, Grand Master Susan Polgar and Illinois Chess Association President Tom Sprandel.
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– GM Susan Polgar