By Ted Wieber
Twenty-six student teams from a 24 different high schools competed at this annual state team-format chess championship held on Saturday, March 25th at Emory University. The Georgia Chess Association (GCA), the official state affiliate of the US Chess Federation (USCF), organizes this championship each year.
A powerful Northview team swept all 5 opponents, winning 23 of 25 possible board / game points. They decisively defeated 3-time and defending champ Walton as well as 2005 champion and perennial contender Chattahoochee en route to the title. Little doubt was left as to who was “Number One” in 2017!
It was high drama as the Northview A “Titans” and Walton “Raiders” faced-off in the fourth round. 2013 co-champion Northview had finished as runner-up to Walton in the previous two years and was looking for redemption. The senior-laden Walton contingent was also mindful of history as it sought a record fourth consecutive state championship. The games were well played and tight but Northview prevailed decisively (3.5 to 1.5). The tables were turned.
And Northview will certainly be among the favorites in 2018 since there was only one senior on this year’s A-team and still other students returning from an experienced B-team.
The champion Northview HS A-team consisted of Kevin Wang, Kapish Potula, Arish Virani, Preston Lee, Gururaj Deshpande and Bill Zhang.
Four high schools won an impressive four of their five team matches: defending champion Walton of Cobb County, Chattahoochee and Westminster of Fulton County, and North Oconee of Oconee County.
Awards went to the following top 12 teams in tiebreak order; each of which won at least three of five matches:
1. Northview A, 5
2. Walton, 4
3. Chattahoochee, 4
4. Westminster, 4
5. North Oconee A, 4
6. Northview B, 3
7. Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology (GSMST) A, 3
8., Chamblee, 3
9. North Gwinnett, 3
10. Johns Creek, 3
11. Greater Atlanta Christian, 3
12. North Oconee B, 3
For the second consecutive year, North Oconee A-team was also recognized as the “top team from outside the metro-Atlanta region” with its 5th place overall finish.
The First Presbyterian Day School of Macon received the award for best performance by a first-time participant with a 13th place finish. Three other high schools were considered first-time competitors: Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit Academy, Miller Grove (Dekalb) and Northside (Columbus, which last competed in 2004).
The Northview B-team from Fulton County was recognized as the strongest reserve or B-team in the competition with an impressive 6th place overall standing.
Swainsboro HS of Emanuel County received the plaque for “farthest distance traveled.” (184 miles).
This year’s event was noteworthy for a solid number of teams from outside metro-Atlanta (11 teams out of 26). We were pleased to see a team from the Columbus area for the first time in many years, as well as two teams from the Macon area. Competitors from points farther south were fewer than usual.
The following twelve students won individual awards as undefeated top performers with 5 or 4.5 game points:
5 Points (Won all five games): Albert Liang, Westminster; Kevin Wang, Northview A; Adam Heckman, North Oconee A; Sanli Mehmet, North Oconee B; Nagaraj Bhagwat, Walton; Andrew Lantz, North Oconee B; Preston Lee, Northview A; Mitchell Stern, North Gwinnett; Tyler Alpaugh, North Oconee A.
4.5 Points (Undefeated all rounds, one draw): Kapish Potula, Northview A; Stephen Eisenhauer, Westminster; Jimmy Daniel Evans, Swainsboro.
A Microsoft Excel file with final tournament standings and cross-tables is attached here: 2017 HS Team Standings
The tournament was conducted in 5-board team-format with five students from each school facing off in five rounds of chess matches at a time control of G/30 (each player has 30 minutes).
Other high schools participating this year included Destiny Achievers Academy (Dekalb), East Coweta, Jonesboro, Lithia Springs, Newnan, Stratford Academy (Macon), Swainsboro, Walker School, and Woodward Academy.
While we have hosted as many as 28 teams in prior championships, there are normally more B-teams. This year set a new record with 24 different high schools represented (prior record was 23) with just two reserve teams. Both of these reserve teams, Northview B and North Oconee B, finished in the top half of the 26 total competitors.
We appreciate the support for this annual state championship tournament, which continues to thrive. This is a unique chess competition with few parallels around the United States. The Georgia Chess Association welcomes any constructive feedback on the competition including recommendations for improvement and expanded participation.
Beyond the annual team chess championship, the GCA sponsors several other individual state chess competitions held throughout the year that are targeted at high school students. These events can provide structured goals and competition for high school chess clubs. Check the GCA website calendar regularly at GeorgiaChess.org and consider a membership in Georgia’s non-profit, USCF state affiliate to stay abreast of chess news and opportunities.
We encourage your ideas and inquiries on all matters pertaining to the development of chess in Georgia.
Georgia High School TEAM Chess Champions since 2000
- 2017 Northview
- 2016 Walton
- 2015 Walton
- 2014 Walton
- 2013 Northview and Pace Academy (Co-Champions)
- 2012 Chamblee
- 2011 Pace Academy
- 2010 Alpharetta
- 2009 Chamblee
- 2008 Lakeside-Dekalb
- 2007 Chamblee and Lakeside-Dekalb (Co-Champions)
- 2006 Chamblee
- 2005 Chattahoochee
- 2004 Gilmer County
- 2003 Pierce County
- 2002 Clarke Central
- 2001 Clarke Central
- 2000 Clarke Central