Chess Team finishes 3-2 , three players in Top 10

Three CGHS Chess Team members were recognized by the league as top 10 individual performers: Austin Stanfield far left; Lincoln Watne, third from left; and Elijah Brenn, far right.

The CGHS Chess Team won their last match of the season with wins on boards 2, 3 and 5 for a score of 3-2. That win put them in third place in the Midwestern League with a record of three wins and two losses.

After an almost perfect start to their season, the Cottage Grove High School (CGHS) Chess Team faced tough opponents and stood at an even two wins and two losses at the beginning of February.

Competitors have been playing their opponents virtually. Online chess has seen a boom at all levels of competition since the pandemic, including allowing Coquille to join the Midwest League that includes CGHS.

Distance was the limiting factor, but now players can compete on and avoid a long bus ride.   Team Captain Elijah Brenn won and second board Lincoln Watne led for most of his game but got caught in a tricky tactic and was unable to recover, for a match score of 4-1.

At the season’s end, the league gives awards to the top two teams and ten individual players. The Junction City and Coquille teams took first and second respectively.

Individually, CGHS had three players in the league’s top ten: Elijah Brenn, Lincoln Watne and Austin Stanfield. All three players are juniors, which bodes well for next year.

Awards night also includes an informal tournament of a fast-paced chess variant called bughouse that is played with two-person teams. Coach Taylor Wilhour was paired with South Eugene student Ian Vo and the pair went undefeated, winning all the glory and a box of Milk Duds.

The team is looking forward to the state tournament which will be held March 4 and 5 at Willamette HS.  It will have a hybrid format, with most teams playing in person and some competing online. The Lions are sending a total of eight players, including three from Lincoln Middle School.