By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Mount Carmel High School, 6410 S. Dante Ave., is sending 11 members from its chess team to Peoria to compete in the Illinois High School Association State tournament (IHSA) on Feb. 10.
The achievement for the Caravan Chess team comes after a second place finish at the Chicago Chess League (CCL) and seventh place finish in the Chicago Sectional meet.
The Caravan Chess team plays 9 matches in the Chicago Chess Conference, including Prep Bowl and CCL tournaments and finally competes at the State Level in Peoria. The team is coached by Michael Korenman, and has only lost one regular season match this year against St. Ignatius.
Mount Carmel students Tom Dart placed 1st, Abdel Raoul placed 3rd, and Will Quinn placed 3rd at the sectional competition.
The team claimed victory against St. Patrick High School, a team goal when they began the season. When asked what has brought so much success this year, Dart said, the team is learning from its mistakes.
“Coach Korenman spends time with us after our matches and we talk about what we did wrong,” Dart said.
Raoul, a Hyde Park resident, has been a standout on the golf team and the chess team. He said he joined the team “because it was instinct. I’ve been playing for eight years.”
He said his favorite part about being on the chess team at Mount Carmel is, all the fun they have.
“We know how to have a good time, but also when to buckle down and win some chess games,” Raoul said.
Raoul’s brother, Ahmad, will join Mount Carmel as a freshman next year. When asked if his brother will join the team, Raoul excitedly responded, “oh yeah, he has to.”
Ramirez joined the chess team to have fun but has learned new skills and improved his game. Now, he hopes to “eventually win state” before leaving Mount Carmel.
The team’s goal next year is to win the CCL, place in the top three at sectionals and go to state again.
The eleven Chess Team members heading to the IHSA State competition on February 10 are:
Abdel Raoul, Junior (Hyde Park, Chicago)
Noah Jepson, Senior (Englewood, Chicago)
David Gutierrez, Junior (East Side, Chicago)
Eric Ramirez, Sophomore (Hammond, Indiana)
Tom Dart, Junior (Beverly, Chicago)
Will Quinn, Freshman (Beverly, Chicago)
Manuel Esparza, Senior (Archer Heights, Chicago)
Emanuel Wiley, Sophomore (Stony Island, Chicago)
Aidan Cavallini, Freshman (Flossmoor, Illinois)
Michael Mota, Freshman (East Side, Chicago)
Chimezie Obah, Senior (South Shore, Chicago)