The Triangle Chess League opened its inaugural season with the promise with a format not yet before seen in North
Carolina. Eight teams of six players each battled over the months of October and November of 2013 to win the TCL traveling trophy, a large traveling trophy loosely similar in concept to the Stanley Cup. The teams picked from eight animal names and color schemes in week one and in a round robin format feature two rounds of G/45 against their foes. This meant that participants in the league got in as many as 14 rated games. There was also a “farm section” of young players who could be called up to substitute for absent players.
The boards were slotted with players rated 1600 and up occupying board one. Players rated between 1400 and 1800 appeared on board two. Board three saw players between 1200 and 1600. Board four hosted ratings between 1000 and 1400. Board five 800 to 1200. Finally Board six featured players under 800. All 12 games in a section factored in to the team’s match score. A 6-6 performance led to a tied match. 6½ was good enough for a win. Some teams were able to stock their rosters with alternates and switch players out on a weekly basis. The Eagles did this quite well alternating the deJong family with the Crowley family throughout the season.
The Eagles team came away with the season one championship winning all but one of their matches (a 6-6 draw with the Scorpions). Soon-to-be-crowned national 9th grade champion Aaron Balleisen led the charge from the top board with father son combinations Mark and Christopher Chaves; Randal, Aaron, and Leo deJong; and Steven and Peter Crowley as well as Steven Kohl all pitching in in various arrangements on board two through five. Wolf Martin held the sixth board for the league champions. All of the members on the winning team got their names engraved on the traveling trophy and their team logo will sit atop the trophy until the winner of season two is determined.
The Rhinos finished in second thanks to league MVP Julio Quiroz who dominated board two with a 12+1=1- mark and a strong late surge by third board Rozalyn Katz. The Vipers finished in third despite not having a board one all season. They were helped by Edward Larson’s nine-game winning streak to start the season and Jason Chamberlain’s strong finish.
The league’s All Star teams reflected the top two performers on each board throughout the season. First Team All Stars included: Aaron Balleisen (Eagles) – Bd. 1, Julio Quiroz (Rhinos) – Bd. 2, Christopher Chaves (Eagles) – Bd. 3, Edward Larson (Vipers) – Bd. 4, Carolyn Gaug (Bulldogs) – Bd. 5, Mujib Muhammad (Vipers) – Bd. 6. The second team included William Lefew (Sharks) – Bd. 1, Chacha Nugroho (Scorpions) – Bd. 2, Rozalyn Katz (Rhinos) – Bd. 3, R.J. Raynoe (Scorpions) – Bd. 4, James Chamberlain (Vipers) – Bd. 5, and Peggy Corrigan (Lions) – Bd. 6. Seven of the eight teams were represented on the All-Star rosters. As a perk, should the Triangle KnightWatchmen travel team find time for a team match, these twelve players will receive first option to play on the team.
In the Junior Farm division, which was held for players rated under 800, Rohith Edupuganti scored an impressive eleven wins in twelve games to take top honors. Chetan Daswani had 9½ points for second place.
Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of the Triangle Chess League is the large turnout of players. Week one saw 59 players participate which set a new record for a weeknight club meeting in the state of North Carolina. By weeks three and four attendance peaked at 67 players. In fact each week saw at least 59 players show up. To say that the league exceeded expectations is an understatement. A coordinated effort led by Bill Clausen with assistance from Jeff “Pig” Jones, Cayhono “Chacha” Nugroho, Brad Dill, Prakash Bhave, Charles Pole, John Fedorjaka, and Mark Chaves led to the outstanding turnout.