NDA Chess Club Competes in Oshkosh at State Chess Tournament


Ben Wolcanski, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Five Notre Dame Academy students participated in the Varsity State Chess Tournament in Oshkosh last weekend and played against 30 teams grouped into three divisions.

“You rank your players 1-5, then we play as a group against other schools with individuals playing their ranked counterparts (1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, etc…), and you ‘win’ by winning at least three  of the five matches,” explained Mr. Greg Geiser, who is in his ninth year as adviser of the Chess Club and the teacher who took the team to state.

The top three performing teams overall in each division get trophies and the top individuals at each rank get recognized as well, said Geiser.  

“Although we are grouped into divisions by team experience and ability, we ended up playing against three tough division 2 teams (two of which finished in the top three of division 2).  We ended up with a winning record overall but did not place in the top three of division 3. 

“Sean Giganti and Jeremy Jarocki were ranked top individuals for boards 1 and 2 in our division.  Pretty successful weekend overall in my estimation,” concluded the teacher/coach.

The lunch-time Blitz tournament that occurred two weeks ago at NDA provided the funds for the team to go to state. 

Over 30 people played in the Blitz Tournament, which produced the 5th member of the chess team that competed at Oshkosh. 

“We had 33 different people participate in at least one match as part of Chess Club.  On any given week we probably had between 10 and 20 people show up.  Many play for fun or to learn, and many play to win and compete,” said Geiser. 

The students that participated in the State Chess Tournament were Sean Giganti, Jeremy Jarocki, Gavin Gretzinger, Finn Riordan and Michael George.

“All five participated in Chess Club regularly and in the postseason tournament.  The top four  got in via their performance in Chess Club, and Michael got in by winning the Blitz Tournament,” said Geiser.

“I felt good about the tournament. I’ve been playing competitive for awhile, so I was up for the challenge, and I just needed a team to compete with. Fortunately I was able to find that at the school and, with Mr Geiser’s help, got the details worked out and played,” said Giganti.