News & Events
Oregon's Chess Champions Foster an Inclusive Community of Players — in the Northwest, Across the U.S., and Around the World
Ranked among the nation’s best, the championship team is using its status to promote their sport and support underserved communities
February 25, 2019 – The Varsity Chess Team at Catlin Gabel School this weekend won the Oregon High School State Team Chess Championship for the third consecutive year. They defended their state title while hosting the championship at their school in Southwest Portland, a site familiar to players throughout the Northwest who have come to regard Catlin Gabel as a home base for scholastic chess competition.
Catlin Gabel team players are familiar too. Co-captain Seth Talyansky ’19 is a U.S. Chess National Master who has been the #1 ranked player in high school in Oregon since 2016; co-captain Avi Gupta ’19 is the two-time Utah state champion in his age group and currently ranked #5 in Oregon; and team members Hansen Lian ’19, Sean Uan-Zo-li ’21, Jimmy Maslen ’20, and Duncan Soiffer ’20 are all ranked in the top 5 in Oregon for their age. See the full team roster and state championship highlights.
But the team’s primary goal is far more ambitious than tournament victories: They are committed to promoting the game of chess and supporting players throughout the world. They have focused their efforts on communities where interest in chess is high but resources are scarce, and established working partnerships. Much of their cross-cultural support occurs online, but team members have also traveled great distances to meet with their counterparts and offer their help as organizers and advocates.
For example, Catlin Gabel Chess hand-delivered chess sets to children in Chajul, Guatemala; donated chess clocks to a chess club in Ohrid, Macedonia; organized an online match with a high school chess club in Jackson, Mississippi; and traveled to Equatorial Guinea in western Africa to organize that nation’s first open chess tournament.
The Equatorial Guinea trip, in November 2018, was the most impactful effort by Catlin Gabel Chess to support an underserved community of players, with four team members travelling 8,000 miles to meet their counterparts in this African nation. On their trip, they helped organize a chess festival that included a youth tournament and the inaugural international Equatoguinean Open. Read more about the Catlin Gabel Chess trip to Equatorial Guinea.
Back home, on their campus, Catlin Gabel Chess has organized and hosted two Chess Camps and five Chess Festivals that have drawn hundreds of players from throughout the region.
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