As an officially sanctioned activity by the IHSA, the high school chess season can be full of intense competition and ruthless strategy. It’s no different with the five DuPage Valley Conference schools, with some of the top players and teams in Illinois coming from the Naperville area. Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Naperville North all finished in the top ten at the state meet a season ago and Metea Valley has qualified for state four years in a row.
So before the 2021-22 chess season begins, students from Neuqua Valley wanted to provide a chance for these rivals and competitors to come together for a much more recreational tournament. The first Naperville Crossings Chess Tournament was born, with dozens of local players eager to compete and many area businesses willing to lend a helping hand. Naperville Crossings property manager Kathy Jemilo played an instrumental role in providing a location for the tournament and sponsor involvement. The tournament provided the perfect opportunity for local players to socialize in person once again and knock the rust off before the competitive season begins this winter.
Chess Finds a New Audience
Due to the popularity of show’s like The Queen’s Gambit and gaming platforms like Twitch, chess has seen a spike in popularity among younger players. Despite the recreational nature of the tournament, there were still prizes to be earned. The school with the best overall scores won a pizza party.
The inaugural Naperville Crossings Chess Tournament was a roaring success thanks to a chance to grow the game of chess across the community.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.
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