Seated, left to right, are Alekhin Hartung, Toan Do and Nick McGarrell. Standing, left to right, are Dave Kennedy, Nate Nemoyer,
Austin Henninger, Connor Daly, Chris Owens and Idris Coleman.

SU Chess Club takes second in state event

The Shippensburg University Chess Club placed second in the recent Pennsylvania State Collegiate Championship in Carlisle. 

Shippensburg, the defending state champion, held the lead for three rounds, but was ultimately passed in the final two rounds by the Duquesne University club which won with 14.5 points. 

Shippensburg tied with a club from the University of Pittsburgh with 12.5 points but was awarded second place on tiebreaks. Shippensburg’s score this year was the same score they earned last year to win the title. 

According to Dr. Dave Kennedy, associate professor of mathematics and the club’s advisor/coach, “With only two members back from last year’s state championship team, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year. I guess we’ve rebuilt faster than I thought. The club’s future looks bright with so many enthusiastic new players.” 

Collegiate players from nine were given 90 minutes each per game with each round lasting three hours. The top four scorers from each school were counted in the team totals. Players earned one point per win and a half point for a draw. 

Shippensburg students earned six individual prizes. Returning player Toan Do set a modern-era record for a Shippensburg student by scoring 4.5 out of a possible 5 points in the Under-1400 (chess rating) bracket. He found himself on Board 1 (the featured game) for the final round, where he played to a closed-position draw. Do won the trophy for Top Collegiate Player in the U1400, and also a prize for his share of first place in the open contest, which included non-collegians.   

Newcomers Alekhin Hartung and Nick McGarrell won prizes by ranking as the top scoring players rated U1200 and U1000, respectively, in the tournament. They each scored three points, a score usually reached only by higher rated players. 

Jason Rusman and Pat Krotz each posted three-point results, claiming shares of the prize for Top Unrated Player in the U1400 bracket. Krotz twice battled back from early deficits to secure important draws. 

Club president Clay “Austin” Henninger took on the steepest challenge, since his rating in the upper 1700s placed him in the U1800 bracket. Despite facing expert opponents, he earned three points. Also playing well in their first tournaments were Nate Nemoyer (2.5 points), Chris Owens (2), John Salasin (2) and Idris Coleman (2) who had to outlast teammate Connor Daly in the final round.