The Chess Team’s Climbing Success

Checkmate!—From left to right Sam Go, Dylan Schwartz, Josh Go, David Yuan, William Ren, Deven Madan, Ms. Laura Kesselman  Photo reproduced by permission of Sam Go
Checkmate!—From left to right, Sam Go, Dylan Schwartz, Josh Go, David Yuan, William Ren, Deven Madan, and Ms. Laura Kesselman

Photo reproduced by permission of Sam Go

By Robin Shum

The GNS chess team ended their season with a second place finish at the Nassau Interscholastic Chess League tournament, which South hosted on Jan. 14. South played against 15 other teams, becoming one of six to advance to the playoffs, afterwards moving on to the finals round in which they competed against Jericho and Chaminade for top placement. “In my four years on the chess team, this has been the first time South hosted [a tournament],” said senior Sam Go, who is the club’s co-president along with his twin brother Josh Go. This past season was South’s best in chess history since the Go brothers first joined in their freshman year.
The two have been in the chess club since their freshman year, but their passion for chess started when they began playing chess at 7 years old as a hobby. “[By the end of middle school], I started playing more seriously with encouragement from my twin and my friend William [Ren],” said Josh.
Sam admits that there is “a good [kind]” of sibling rivalry between himself and Josh, which helps them improve their game. ”If he wins, I demand a rematch, and it’s the same with him. Because of this, we continued to play, learning new strategies and skills along the way,” said Sam.
According to junior William Ren, the three began playing chess together when the twins joined his church. Before joining the chess team in high school, the three initially practiced by playing against each other or even online with people all over the world.
Since then, the trio, who make up half of the chess team, have been practicing with fellow chess club members. Six people are chosen from the chess club to form the chess team, which travels to other schools across Long Island to compete.
One common way for individual players to improve is to review their notes of every single move in the game. Afterwards as a team, they analyze the game and critique their miscalculations. Having done this over the past four years, Sam finds that he has learned to prepare a concrete plan and make each move with a greater sense of purpose. He even has his notations from his freshman year. “Sometimes I’ll play the game out, and you could almost say it takes me back in time,” he said. “I owe [my improvements] to my teammates.”
The team had definitely improved since the Go brothers’ freshman year, going from not qualifying for the playoffs to achieving third place in the league the following year. During the regular season this year, the chess team’s record was seven wins and one loss, which made them second place in the league behind undefeated Jericho. The team will continue practicing in hopes of winning the finals next year.
“As a team, we did well,” said Ren. “I look forward to next year.”
In the future, the co-presidents hope to see the team meet ongoing success. “We hope that the members never lose sight of helping each other improve,” said Josh. “I am confident that they will be able to prevail in the finals next year.”