MHS chess team wins state, Jack Easton takes first individually

Kris Long, Staff Writer

For the first time in the history of the Manhattan High chess program, the four members of the MHS chess team held up the state chess first place trophy.

A school year of hard work paid off Saturday resulting in the win. The team has been practicing every Tuesday since the beginning of the school year, as well as occasionally over the summer.

According to Jack Easton, senior and vice president of chess club, since placing second in last year’s state tournament behind Lawrence Free State, all of the team’s chess skills have greatly increased. Everybody on the team was also more highly rated, meaning their opponents were slightly easier.

The four competing members of the team included senior and president of chess club Greg Chikan, senior Parjiiat Mondal,  junior Jacob Grace and Easton.

According to Chikan, the team was very strong this year. With Easton being almost guaranteed to win all six matches and the rest of the team being relatively proficient, the team was likely to win.

“I was [expecting to win],” Easton said. “I don’t know if anyone else was… but I… thought we would win.”

Out of six rounds all the team members won at least four, with Easton winning all of his matches, leading the team to it’s first win. Easton won the individual first place prize for the second year consecutively.

According to Chikan, the trophy presented to the team was incredibly large, around three or four feet tall.

“Just holding that trophy was incredibly satisfying because of its sheer size,” Chikan said.

According to Chikan, the team hopes that they will be able fit it in the school trophy case or in chess club sponsor Darren McCoy’s classroom.

The team will leave a legacy to live up to with all of the members excluding Grace graduating this year. Easton is planning on attending the University of Texas Dallas to play chess, however he is the only member continuing to the collegiate level.

“We had our run and we won our last tournament,” Easton said.