Chargers Defend District Chess Championship

David Teklea

On January 21st, Clark’s chess team defended their champion title and won 1st place in the district chess tournament at A-TECH High School. 

Led by advisor Mr. Vigrass, the team of Maxx Tandon, Diego Santiago, Kian Samra, Edwin Ma, and Ojas Kadam defeated Coronado in its semi-final round with a score of 3-2. Clark went on to beat A-TECH in a close final match, again earning a score of 3-2.

The tournament was a culmination of a hard-fought season in which Chargers competed every Tuesday in matches against other district schools. 

The win marks Clark’s second victory in its win streak for the title against A-TECH. These victories for Clark mark a rapid departure from its losses against the school in previous years. The pressure to translate last year’s success for Clark into this season was shared by the team, according to team captain Maxx Tandon.

“We were a little nervous beforehand. We wanted to continue our winning streak,” says Tandon. “But after the match, we felt a little relieved.”

In this year’s tournament, Maxx and his teammates faced tough opposition, where even the tiniest of inaccuracies lost Maxx his game.

“It was a super tight position, involving multiple moves. But when I chose one line, I didn’t look at one more move, and it cost me my game,” he said.  

This was the last season for senior Kian Samra on the team, creating pressure for team recruitment next year. It will be left up to rising seniors Diego Santiago and Maxx Tandon to lead the team and renew recruitment efforts in the fall. Next season, the club will hold a mock tournament to fill the gap left by Kian Samra. Although the club is open to players of any skill level, positions on the chess team are merit-based.

“With the conclusion of this year’s season, we are looking to fill the spot left by our graduating senior (Kian Samra),” Santiago says.