With five boards completed in the seventh round, Stevenson needed just one more win from one of its three top boards to secure the 2015 IHSA title.
Stevenson (of Lincolnshire) and Naperville North were the final two undefeateds heading into the last games of the two-day tournament in Peoria.
But when North's Bradley Guan managed a draw against Lincolnshire's Alex Bian on Board One, and Mark Reed and Matthew Wu prevailed on Boards Two and Three, it was the Naperville team claiming the 2015 IHSA Chess Championship.
With four rounds under their belts, seven Northern Illinois squads remain undefeated at the 2015 IHSA Finals in Peoria. A record 146 8-person teams have entered the competition (with up to 4 alternates allowed per squad).
Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School holds the top tiebreak after trouncing Fremd High School (Palatine) 68-0 in round four. Freshmen are playing their first three boards, with Alex Bian, James Wei and Conrad Oberhaus all posting perfect 4-0's so far.
Junior Allen Guo, Senior Philip Engstrom, Sophomore Rahul Dhiman and Sophomore Adit Ghosh are all perfect at boards four through seven. Stevenson's lone blemish was a third round loss on board eight.
Also in round four, New Trier (Winnetka) upended IMSA (Aurora) 51-17.
A field of 158 faced off in the Wheaton Christian Grammar Scholastic February 7.
In the 37-player Junior High section Brenden Gran and William Richards both posted perfect 4.0 scores.
William Cahill took third place with a second-round draw against Elizabeth Peterson and three wins. He enhanced his USCF rating 72 points, surpassing 1000 for the first time. William had won the K-1 section in the 2014 edition of the tournament, playing up three sections this year.
A six-pack tied for fourth place in the top section including Joshua Dean, Nathan Salahi, Jack Tegart, Sarah Grandy, Simon Evans and Matthew Nickel.
With a solid 44.0-24.0 defeat of Waubonsie Valley in the final round, Naperville-based Neuqua Valley was declared champions of Upstate Eight conference tournament. Neuqua Valley finished the January 31 tournament 4-0.
On tiebreaks, Waubonsie Valley took third place with Metea Valley placing second, both with 3.0 scores.
Elgin High School and St. Charles (East) also scored 3.0/4, placing fourth and fifth respectively. 14 teams competed in the tournament.
First Board Minkee Lee of Nequa Valley was perfect in four matches as was teammmate Ricky Rolbiecki on Board 4. Neuqua Valley's Logan Mazurek had the top score among Fifth Boarders with a 3.5/4 score with three wins and a third round draw.
Sandburg High School managed to win all four of its team matches to claim the Southwest Suburban Conference end-of-season tournament championship in competition conducted January 31.
Tying for second with 3.0/4 scores was Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way North (Frankfort) and Joliet West, with H-F taking second on the higher tiebreaks.
Heading into the final round, Sandburg and North were the undefeated teams, with the Orland Park squad upending the Frankfort school 43.5-24.5 with wins from Joshua Kolodziejczyk (Board 1), Jacob Colby (Board 5), Sebastian Kwiatek (Board 6), Erik Herold (Board 7) and Chase Fortin (Board 8). Sandburg's Boards 5 through 8 all won top honors in the conference event.
22! Illinois now boasts 22 youth with USCF regular ratings of 2000 or higher with four Masters and 18 Experts.
A pair of 14-year olds was the key to these new totals; George Li earned his Master title and Daniel Bronfeyn is now in Expert territory as of the January 2015 official ratings. With fellow 14-year old Jack Curcio climbing to 1998, it's likely this group will have company very soon. (See note below)*
Also entering new class distinction this month was 12-year old Ishaar Ganesan who raised his rating 88 points to enter Class A status. 7-year old Alex Zhao bumped his rating 79 points, entering Class D territory.
Northern Illinois Chess League's 2013-14 tournament co-champions Sterling and Rockford Jefferson were back at it January 31 in Freeport. The two high schools were the lone undefeated teams heading into the final round of the 2014-15 NICL tournament.
Shortly after Board One's Logan Rodgers (Jefferson) and Dylan Kenney (Sterling) agreed to a draw, the teams were neck and neck with Sterling holding a slight edge. All Sterling needed was a draw in the final match on fifth board to secure the championship. Without consultation, Sterling's Jacob Kyritz-Dennis boldly declined Ozzy Flores' draw offer and played on.
When Kryitz-Dennis checkmated Flores there were team hugs all around as Sterling took the match and the tournament championship, with Jefferson placing second on tiebreaks.