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HSP Wins State Chess Championship

Posted: 3/28/2017

Holy Spirit Preparatory School has won the inaugural State Chess Championship sponsored by the Georgia Independent School Association. The tournament, hosted on Thursday, March 23, at Marist School in Atlanta, pitted six varsity chess teams against each other in six rounds of individual chess matches: including 1st-place Holy Spirit Prep, runner-up Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, 3rd place Trinity Christian, and Marist School.

Holy Spirit Preparatory School claimed the inaugural championship after earning the most points in six rounds of chess games. One point was awarded for each individual win; ½ point was awarded for a draw, and 0 points were awarded for a loss. Each competitor’s points were added to their team’s collective score to determine the final winner, Holy Spirit Prep.

“People don’t understand the stress of a chess competition. It’s the same stress that any athlete feels, but it’s mental,” said competitor Daniel Grantham. Daniel was one of two student organizers of HSP’s chess team. After learning about the competition from his teacher, Mr. Chris Oppermann, Daniel and friend Gabe Hosier assembles a team from their friends, playing chess for practice before school, during lunch, and after school.

“I just have a love for the game,” Gabe said about his victory. “As a team, we only trained for a month, but I’ve been playing for a long as I can remember.” Gabe claimed a 2nd place trophy for Holy Spirit Prep in the individual competition winning 4.5 points and a 4-1-1 record - shy of Cristo Rey’s champion, who picked up a flawless 6 wins during the tournament.

For a time, the team didn’t know how close they were to victory. Competitor Mason Anker reports that his match against a Cristo Rey player was the final game in the final round. “We had all 40 or 50 competitors in a circle around us watching: it was very stressful,” Mason said. Mason did not know during the game that whoever won his game would be the ultimate champion of the tournament. “I was so happy,” he said. “I knew I had to win the game, but I had no idea it was the difference between first and second place.”

HSP’s varsity team plans to coach their middle school players, preparing for a GISA middle school chess tournament on April 20.