Chess notches Top 100 finish in team state competition

Elizabeth Letkiewicz, Staff Reporter

Elk Grove’s chess team made the trip to finish its season downstate on Feb. 12. 

Although the chess players finished lower than expected, they nabbed a few successful wins over the course of the year, achieving a 7-3 record that included wins against Conant, Palatine and Prospect.

Before becoming the adviser of the chess club, Peter Wang had coached wrestling at Elk Grove from 2005 to 2008. It his his 10th year coaching chess

“I started out assisting Mrs. [Persida] Bujdei in 2009 and took over the program in 2012,” Wang said in an email.

The season kicked off in early September, and throughout the year the team competed in various conference matches with promising results. During a conference meet on Jan. 15, the team placed 5th. During the sectional tournament on Jan. 29th, they were tied 2-2 and placed 10th out of 17 teams. That performance allowed entry to the state meet. 

Elk Grove placed 80th out of the 126 teams.

“Although we didn’t finish the year as strongly as I’d hoped, we performed well throughout and I am proud of the way we played,” Wang said.

When asked about the team environment, it is a mix of having fun while taking it seriously. Sometimes different variations of chess will be played (like blitz, bughouse, four-player) but it doesn’t change the seriousness of improving.

Nine players took the trip downstate. A full lineup is eight players and an additional player as an alternate. Included in the lineup are Antoni Palucki and Jayden Sintic, two seniors who have been chess team members for three and four years, respectively. They were also the top two players this year. 


Antoni Palucki

Jayden Sintic

Uriel Vasquez

Isaac Padua 

Ben Vysnia

Timothy George 

Max Bellatti 

Tony Iepan

Jose De La Torre