2018 Trophy Presentation with Henry Poston (left), Victor Popa-Simil, Donald Poston, Andrei Popa-Simil, State Chess Director Steve Perea, Do Vo, Tim Martin and Chess Club Sponsor Wendel Brown. Courtesy photo
The LAHS team matched up with the team from Kirtland Central. Courtesy photo
The Los Alamos High School Chess Club swept the competition by taking 1st place at the State Chess Championship April 19-20. This is the third consecutive year the high school team has won first place in the 5A/6A category.
Chess Club members who competed at state include Donald Poston (team captain), Henry Poston, Andrei Popa-Simil, Victor Popa-Simil, Do Vo and Tim Martin. The NMAA limits the competitive team to only six players, but LAHS has close to two dozen active players in the Chess Club.
Over 150 players from all over New Mexico participated in the State Championship and the competition was tough.
“While the team was very confident, they all know that one bad move can cost them a game and thus the championship,” Chess Club Sponsor Wendel Brown said. “They are all really proud of their performance and satisfied to bring home the first place trophy for the third time in three years.”
Brown has been helping to facilitate chess activities at the high school for the past ten years and has found it rewarding to see the resurgence of scholastic chess in Los Alamos over this time. According to Brown, most of the team members came from strong programs at the elementary schools, particularly Aspen Elementary and Barranca Mesa Elementary.
Chess Club is not only a place to grow in skill but also socialize with friends. Chess Club member Do Vo said that while it was fun to win the state competition, he will be sad to see his senior friends in the club move on next year.
The high school team generally plays once or twice a week over lunch breaks, although each player has his own routine for improving his skills. With the availability of internet chess sites, players now have the opportunity to practice and improve at their convenience.
Los Alamos High School has a long and rich history in chess accomplishments, winning the New Mexico State Championship 15 times in the past 30 years. Brown commented, “I’m just thankful to have been associated with these outstanding individuals for a short period of this Chess dynasty.”