MV Chess Team remains hopeful for sectional tournament


Daphne McGhee, A&E Editor

It’s almost for chess sectionals! The first tournament will be January 28, 2023, Illinois at Belleville West High School.  

Our part of the sectional has 7 teams. The teams are put in some order by the ballots of the coaches. They compete and must win 2 out of 4 in order to go to State. I believe we will win our 2 out of 4 and earn the right to go to State. The state requires a minimum of 6 and no more than 12. We have 11 ready to go. There are 8 Boards and 8 people play at the same time. If you can’t fill a board you lose the points for that board.” Mr. Bill England explained. 

According to Ryan Bendersky ‘23, chess captain, “A match can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours long. A tournament usually consists of 4 rounds lasting 2 hours each making the whole thing last around 8 hours, not including delays and award ceremony.”

Bendersky has been the captain of the chess team since his sophomore year and has been a part of the team since his freshman year. “I’ve been playing chess since I was young, probably since I was 8. My father grew up in Ukraine during the time of the Soviet Union, during this time chess was extremely popular and was a part of many lives. Chess was a big part of my father and grandfather’s life so they wanted me to learn how to play and I ended up enjoying it a lot.” 

Mr. Bill England, the chess team’s coach, has been coaching for around 21 years. “I believe I was in the 5th grade when a friend got a chess set for his birthday early in the summer. We played all day all summer long. I did not touch a chessboard again until I was in the army. My captain loved chess and at the end of work each day we would play. After service, I did not play much until I became a teacher and had some students hanging around that wanted to play.”

This year’s chess team has done quite well for the half of the top 8 being new to the game. ” I think we’re going to do very well. We probably have our top 8 half of them are new players and I believe we are going to do very well at this tournament,” said Bendersky. 

“We are training some new students who are showing some real promise,” commented Mr. England.

Olivia VanKampen is one of these new players. “I have a lot of confidence in our team and everybody works hard so we’re going to do awesome.” 

She got into chess because she saw it in the orange book of classes and extracurriculars each freshman got at the very beginning of the year.  “Mr. Bumpus helped me learn it before the season. And a friend of mine learned how to play chess at school so she came over and helped teach me.” 

When asked about sectionals, Bendersky disclosed “Sections is probably one of my favorite and most intense tournaments to be a part of. Sections are the biggest chance we have to prove ourselves and as a team and the only opportunity to qualify for state.” 

VanKampen is confident in the team. “I’m very hopeful because we have a really nice team and we have been doing good so far.”