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Superintendent Listening Post

Rochester Area Scholastic Chess Team hopeful for next season


Over the last few months, a battle of minds, tactics, and strategy featuring the Mayo Chess Team occurred in Rochester Public Schools.

Unfortunately for the Mayo Chess Team, the winners of the Rochester Area Scholastic Chess League were the Century Chess Team this year.

Mayo has one of six teams in Rochester Public Schools participating in the Rochester Area Scholastic Chess League, a non-competitive association that gives all interested students an opportunity to learn and play the game. This competition lasted from December 6 until March 1. The competing teams were from Mayo, Century, John Marshall, Byron, Lourdes, and STEM Academy. 

Each Wednesday, a chess team, five players and a coach, from each respective school would meet at a different school to play each in five matches. These matches involved a single one-on-one round. 

A concern expressed by Mayo Chess Team leader, Roy Truelson, was that the Chess Team did not have enough players available to play at these matches. If a board is unable to be filled by a member, then that board is forfeited to the other team. 

In the future, the Mayo Chess Team is hopeful for more members to join them, so they would be able to participate in more matches. One factor that could have played a role in Mayo Chess Team’s not being unable to fill every spot could be transportation. Max Rivera, a member of the Mayo Chess Team, stated, “you’re supposed to provide your own transportation, but there are some rules.” Sometimes, there were willing members, but they just couldn’t get to the match.

A misconception surrounding the Mayo Chess Team is that members are required to join the Mayo Chess Club first in order to be a part of the chess team. Mr Truelson, Mayo Chess Team’s coach, noted, “in general, the students on the team are a subset of those in the club, although one wouldn’t necessarily have to be in the club to be on the team,“ and “we actually have some middle school students on the team, and some have occasionally attended the club meetings as well.” 

The Rochester Area Scholastic Chess League is one of many chess competitions; the Minnesota State Chess Association is another popular team-based competition. Noah Spinner, a member of the Mayo Chess Team and participant in the Rochester Area Scholastic Chess League, commented, “there’s less competitiveness, more fun. [It’s] less stressful for me at least ’cause I know high results don’t matter too much. I’m just having fun playing with my team.” Although other tournaments are available in Rochester, many of them are likely played as an individual rather than a team, and they are likely less known, which can make them harder to find.

Hopefully, the Mayo Chess Team will be the ones who win next year; maybe you are the player they need in order for that to happen.


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