Team captain John Marx felt good about the team’s prospects of winning, and his confidence paid off in a well-earned victory over the Belleville West Maroons. The final score was 25-5 with only one loss—on board 4.
Marx, who played board one, fought a long battle, but he finally outplayed his opponent in the all-important endgame.
“I played a very close match for nearly two hours,” said Marx. “But then I broke open the position and was able to end it.”
Marx had only a slight advantage in both material and position, but he was wary of getting too comfortable against a skilled opponent.
“It was open to changing fast, so I had to play a tight game,” said Marx.
Of course, Marx had ample backup to make sure his victory wasn’t in vain. The other players all competed in great games, with junior Thomas Reilly on board two, senior Ben Keil on board four, and junior Garrett Seal on board five.
However, most notable was freshman Robert Mize on board three, who won his first competitive match for SLUH. Such skill found in a freshman is rare, and his achievement on board 3 was fantastic.
“It’s great that he’s there,” said Marx. “He did very well, and it’s very exciting to have such a good freshman like him on the team … he’s a standout talent.”
Mize’s success suggests that the club’s revamped approach to practice is working. This season, the team has focused heavily on strategy and technique at their daily meetings. At least twice a week, the team solves chess puzzles and studies different approaches to games in addition to their usual practice scrimmages. The team hopes to cultivate skill and improve play rather than rely entirely on natural talent.
Looking to the future, Marx suspects that being more organized and remaining consistent in their practice will lead them to victory.
“The key is just to keep playing, to remain solid, and to keep people playing over Christmas Break,” said Marx.