February 27-28, 2015, Issaquah High School, the stage is set for what’s bound to be one of the greatest State Team Championships this state has ever seen. 32 teams of 5 enter the field, the most we’ve seen in quite some time. Around 70 players enter the all comers field in addition! There were stories abound entering this event, what with Interlake, the top seed, finishing 2nd in KingCo to a Redmond squad led by Master twins Daniel and Samuel He. Young programs that debuted last year are making great strides to test their mettle in the field, like LaCenter and Othello, among others. A strong Ferndale senior squad winning Wesco yet again was poised to make a run. So many stories heading in, two days to decide it all.
The parity of the field was very real. Every match had fascinating games. Whatever the final results were, there were ebbs and flows and great resilience demonstrated. After the Friday rounds are complete, Lakeside A held the lead with 10/10, Interlake A was second with 9.5/10, Redmond third with 9/10, Ferndale A fourth with 8.5/10… the top four seeds holding their place nicely in the first few rounds. It was on Saturday in round 3 that top seed Interlake A demonstrated that they were clearly the best team in the State… facing Lakeside A, Interlake A methodically wore down Lakeside while showing great poise and resolve, winning the match 4.5-0.5. Thereafter, Interlake A beat Redmond 3-2 and Ferndale A by 5-0 to further cement their place as the best in WA in 2015. Bravo Interlake! Kudos on a job well done!
There were many stories in the rest of the field that merit mention, and while I’d love to highlight them all, in the interest of space, I’ll pick just a few. Interlake B ended up with the third best score in the event behind Interlake and Lakeside, a testament to Interlake’s incredible depth. Garfield A, though depleted by the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, proved their strength, narrowly edging Redmond for the 3rd place trophy. Sehome and Seattle Prep A both performed brilliantly to finish 6th and 7th respectively, well above their seeds. KingCo continued to showcase that they’re the best league in WA with all 8 of their teams finishing at least tied for a top 12 spot. Perhaps the coolest story of all, LaCenter, new to chess last year at State, last place last year, performed brilliantly, taking 15th place and tying for 11th!
In the Premier section of all comers, Steven H. of Newport, State Team Champion last year, took clear 1st with 5/5, edging teammate Sai B. (ultimately 4th on tiebreaks) in round 5. Eddie L. of Bellevue took 2nd, Eli W. of Lakeside 3rd, and Ryan T. of Lakeside 5th. In the Reserve section, Heon K. of Kamiak took clear 1st with 5/5, gaining a whopping 279 rating points in the process. Andy E. of Ferndale took 2nd with 4.5, and in a three way tie for 3rd with 4/5 were Tony C. of Othello, Brad H. of LaCenter, and Riley B. of Seattle Prep. Kudos to all the players on a job well done. Have a wonderful year ahead, and we look forward to seeing you at Mini Teams in December 2015!
WHSCA President 2014-15
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See the WA High School State Team Tournament games and ratings report on RatingsNW.