For the second time in three years, the Stevenson chess team said "Check Mate" just enough times at the state finals.
Over the weekend at the Peoria Civic Center, the Patriots won the IHSA Chess State Championship, their second since 2020 and their third as a program overall. Stevenson first won the state chess championship in 2008.
There were 128 teams from across the state competing for the top trophy, and Stevenson survived a difficult field, edging second-place Barrington and third-place Evanston.
The chess players and coaches in the picture above are: From left to right in the front row: Maanav Agrawal, Fred Yuan, Rohit Guha, Eduard Danilyan, Ashley Yan. From left to right in the back row: Coach Vincent Springer, Sofia Pahsyan, Ray Sun, Aaron Gan, Kirinji Shivakumar, Saanvi Adusumalli (who is in front of Coach Scott Oliver), Srihas Rao, Stella Pahsyan, Coach Ken Wallach.
"This was the hardest-fought state tournament I have been a part of," said Stevenson chess head coach Vincent Springer, who led the Patriots to each of their previous state championships. "The matches were incredibly close and all three rounds on Day Two of the tournament went down to the wire.
"I really want to stress that I was approached by multiple coaches and stewards regarding how our players conducted themselves in the tournament. High character, a team-first mindset, quality leadership, mental stamina, and physical fortitude -- above and beyond chess skill -- is what carried the day for Stevenson. I am extremely proud of this team because, in my opinion, it was those intangibles that allowed our team to find success. I am hard-pressed to remember a better total team effort than what I witnessed over the weekend."
Springer pointed out that seniors Ashley Yan and Fred Yuan have been a part of the team for four years and that "not only are they excellent players but they have also represented Stevenson with class, dignity, and quality leadership. They will be difficult to replace next year."
Meanwhile, freshmen Eduard Danilyan and Saanvi Adusumalli played prominent roles in their first-ever IHSA State Tournament. Danilyan was the deciding win against Barrington to secure the state title and Saanvi scored 4 wins and 2 draws in the six games she played.