As an officially IHSA-approved activity, high school chess season can be filled with intense competition and ruthless strategy. It is no different with the five DuPage Valley Conference schools. Some of the best players and teams in Illinois are from the Naperville area. Naperville Central, Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Naperville North all made the top ten at the state meeting a season ago, and Metea Valley has qualified for the state meeting four years in a row.
Before the 2021-22 chess season kicks off, Neuqua Valley students wanted to give these rivals the opportunity to come together for a much more relaxed tournament.
The first Naperville Crossings Chess Tournament was born, with dozens of local players ready to play against each other and many local companies ready to help. Kathy Jemilo, Naperville Crossings’ real estate manager, was instrumental in providing a venue for the tournament and sponsorship participation.
The tournament gave the local players the perfect opportunity to meet again in person and dismantle the rust before the competitive season begins this winter.
Due to the popularity of shows like The Queen’s Gambit and gaming platforms like Twitch, chess has seen a surge in popularity with younger players.
Despite the recreational nature of the tournament, there were still prizes to be won. The school with the best overall grade won a pizza party. The first Naperville Crossings Chess Tournament was a huge success thanks to the chance to expand the game of chess across the community.
I’m Justin Cornwell for Naperville Sports Weekly.
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