Despite strong start, Fremd chess takes home 7th place following tiebreaker

Preeth Somanchi, Staff Writer

The Fremd chess team competed in the IHSA state tournament this past weekend, in an effort to see who would take home the title as the best chess team in Illinois. Heading into the tournament ranked as the top seed was Stevenson High School, known for their dominance in the Illinois chess scene. Not far behind however, were the Fremd Vikings. Fremd boasted an undefeated record in the regular season, landing them in the 2nd seed. The state tournament was set in Peoria, and was expected to be a thrilling competition, featuring some of the premier high school chess programs in the nation.

When asked about their anticipations for state, head coach Jerry Moon was confident.

“When it comes to state, I think we match up well against other teams,” Moon said.

Fremd went into round one with this mentality and took the match against Huntley in dominant fashion, 61-7.

Round 2 saw Fremd facing off against a crosstown rival in Palatine High School. This match heavily favored Fremd, and the results followed as Fremd was off to a 2-0 start. As the next few rounds of the tournament progressed, although Fremd was victorious, their margin of victory was progressively decreasing.

This pattern boiled over to round 5, where Fremd took their first loss, against Neuqua Valley, in a 42.5-25.5 defeat. Junior captain Rohan Rao spoke on this defeat, referencing the other teams’ preparedness.

“We were caught off guard by a few schools, namely Neuqua Valley, they performed better than we thought they would, which ultimately led to a loss,” Rao said.

Although this was a setback, their tournament was certainly not over. The next round was a major bounce back for Fremd, as they exhibited a resurgence, toppling Aurora Math and Science Academy 50-18.

At the end of the seventh and final round, there was an astounding seven-team tie for 2nd place, with Fremd in the mix. After a crushing tiebreaker, Fremd was propelled back into 7th place. The tournament favorite Stevenson took home 1st place with 8th seeded Barrington following behind, proving that the tiebreaker led to a massive shake up on the leaderboard.

As a whole, Fremd performed exceptionally well, landing at a final spot of 7th out of 128 participating teams. Although they hoped to place better, their season was nonetheless a success. With this season behind them, the Vikings are one step closer to achieving the highly coveted state title in the following years to come.