Chess club eyes final checkmate


Mackenzie Condon

Junior Daniel Bonneau has been consistent for the Vineyarders

Mackenzie Condon, Editor-in-chief

The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) chess team will be playing for the South Coast Conference Chess Championship after amassing the most regular season  victories in the conference. The team will play Nauset, who they tied once and beat once in regular season play, at 12pm this Saturday for the title.

Coach Bill McCarthy has overseen the club for the past two years. He said,“We play five chess boards in each match and the success really comes from the strong group of chess players we have filling those boards.”

Board positions are ranked, with the strongest member playing the first board. The level of success each player has in practice and matchplay determines who plays what board position. As the season progresses , the players of each position become more consistent.

“Fighting for board spots does create a competitive atmosphere in practice that we really look forward to,” said Junior Vito Aiello.

Coach McCarthy listed juniors Jaiden Edelman and Daniel Bonneau, as well as  senior Aiden Nunes, as a consistent top-three for the team. Senior Owen Bresnick, junior Peter Burke, and sophomore Ava Maggi have also been important in securing wins from the fourth and fifth board positions.

“Ava has been really successful for us lately in the fifth board, and to be able to depend on that has been crucial in the later part of our season,” said Coach McCarthy.

Mr. McCarthy described the team’s competitive schedule  as similar to a winter sport. This winter, they have played alternating home and away matches every Wednesday against South Coast Conference teams. “If someone is a spring or fall athlete,” he said, “they can be on the chess team in the winter, because while we practice all year long, the competition comes in the winter.”

Although he is a three-season athlete, Daniel has been one of a few consistent leaders for the team. “We really get better by just playing. What I think makes chess special is definitely the intellectual aspect,” he said.

“Chess offers a unique opportunity for students to engage in a sport-like atmosphere that is more dependent on having an intellectual edge,” agreed Junior Vito Aiello.

“I’m no chess master,” said Coach McCarthy, who believes his role in the team’s success is mostly about spirit and passion. “I’m more of an enthusiast, and there are some kids on the team who are better than me. I really think that the kids get better by playing, and my job as a coach is more to bring excitement to their playing. I just the love the game.”

Coach McCarthy also credits his friend and fellow-Islander, Jim Trish, with being an important mentor for the team. “He is an enthusiast of the game like me and comes to just about all of the practices,” he said. “He plays a big role, and I know the team benefits.”

With one final postseason match to wrap up an already winning season for the team, Coach McCarthy said, “Practice during Friday flex blocks doesn’t end after the competition season, because the kids really just love to play. That’s why it is year round.