Daniel Vazquez Wins Local Chess Tournament


Fabiola Vazquez, Writer

Did the queen beat the king? Did the knight beat the rook? How did the king conquer them all?

Daniel Vazquez, who did the last checkmate of the tourney against Nathan Medina, describes his last move: “In the middle game of the match, I was able to calculate a forced checkmate in three moves which lead me to the victory. It was a good game and I recognize that Nathan is a good player,” he said.


The local chess tournament, organized by NHS Chess Club advisor Mr. Joe Hubbell, formally concluded on March 27th. The tournament ran based on an elimination system in which the player who lost was eliminated from the competition. In this way, the winner of each round proceeded to the next stage, where he/she had to face another player, and so on.


The participants, who met in the library during breaks and lunch included:

Abner Mariaca, Austin Boersma, Chase Prewett, Chris Otto, Damian Valdez, Daniel Vazquez, Geoffrey Gracia, Hailey Smith, Jacob Ortega, Jaime Reyna, Jayza Calderon, Louis Dimodica, Nathan Medina, Paul Snyder, Sam Bland, Rachael Todd and Renee Regnier.


Recognizing excellence in chess and motivating students to join and play chess were the two main goals of this local tournament. In addition to this, chess is considered as a mental sport; therefore, mental health is reinforced in every single match.

Mr. Hubbell believes that the best part of playing chess relates to mental training. He says, “It makes you think ahead and teaches good analytical skills.”


Hubbell says that every game makes you think differently because there are infinite possibilities that result in different games. Mr. Hubbell thinks that the variety of possibilities is what makes chess interesting. “I enjoy strategy. It is nice to play with people who are thoughtful,” he says.


Mr. Hubbell started playing chess when he was in high school. He used to play with a friend and his dad. But it was until he was working as a teacher in Dana’s Elementary when he started sharing chess. “I had students who were interested in learning how to play,” Hubbell said.


Both Louis Dimodica as well as Rachael Todd enjoyed their experiences in this tournament. Todd said, “I like the challenge and playing people I wouldn’t usually play.” Unlike her, Dimodica said what he most enjoyed about the tournament was that “it was relaxed and you could play whenever.”

On the other hand, they both believe that practice makes perfect. The best advice an amateur player can get according to Dimodica is “Practice before you get into the tourney. Learn about the basics of chess.” Todd expresses the same idea: “Always be prepared,” she said.


Daniel Vazquez said: “Never get confident against your opponent, especially when you don’t know who you claim. Always play at your best level and never underestimate someone. If you want to be better at something, put in some dedication, practice, and study. Remember that every failure doesn’t mean failure. It is a new chance to learn.”


Mr. Hubbell wants the chess club to continue after his retirement. He hopes Mr. Storm agrees to be the new chess advisor. In this way, Hubbell invites every student interested in learning something new to join. “The chess club meets officially every Wednesday in the library. Beginners are welcome and there is a game of chess going every day,” he said.


However, never be afraid of failure because just like Rachael Todd said, “You never know your limits until you push past them.”