High School Chess League
Miami Valley School’s Team of Chess Champions: From left to right - Matthew Page, 10th grade, 5th board (shared), Matt Renner, coach (rear), Ishan Paranjpe, 10th grade, 1st board, Bo Wang, 12th grade, 5th board (shared), Bill Dyer, 11th grade, 4th board (rear). Phillip Shepard, 10th grade, 3rd board, Manish Paranjpe, 10th grade, 2nd board, Jon Graetz, coach
Miami Valley bested Fairmont HS, Beavercreek HS, and Bellbrook HS this year to take clear first in the round robin playoffs at the Dayton Chess Club in downtown Dayton on Saturday, February 18, 2012 between the top two finishers of the Western Ohio Chess League – Miami Valley School and Bellbrook – and the Dayton Suburban Chess League – Beavercreek and Fairmont.
The four teams finished – Miami Valley School – First, Bellbrook – Second, Beavercreek – Third, and Fairmont – Fourth.
Miami Valley School – Champions
Greater Dayton High School Chess League
After 23 years, often as the bridesmaid, Miami Valley School finally wins the Greater Dayton Chess Championship. This is the story of how they finally arrived there. – Riley Driver
By Jon Graetz
I arrived at the Miami Valley School in the fall of 1989, having just graduated from Wright State University. I had started a successful chess club at WSU, which interestingly, included Riley Driver and Earle Wikle, with whom I have been friends and rivals ever since. Riley Driver and his wife Sharon run the Dayton Chess Club while Earle Wikle is the administrator for the Greater Dayton High School Chess League.
At Miami Valley, I immediately started a chess club. Students flocked to join, and at one point, we had one third of the upper school as members! It was cool to play chess. My first board was Matt Renner, who quickly improved to the point of beating me. Five years ago, he returned to the Dayton area and has been coaching with me since.
Over the years, we have had many promising teams. We would power through our division (typically undefeated), then come into the playoffs and fall to other teams. During my tenure, our nemesis was Beavercreek High School, led capably by Dennis Diehm. Interestingly, their first win came in my second year. They have since taken the championship twelve times in those 23 years. In addition, there were two years where Colonel White High School ran the board on all of us with Riley Driver as their coach.
Most frustrating for me has been the fact that in the years I have brought my strongest teams (especially 1990, 1991, and 2007), Dennis had his strongest teams as well, and we would fall yet again.
This year, finally, we came with a very strong team and prevailed. Our top two boards, sophomores Ishan and Manish Paranjpe, have ratings of 1595 and 1530, respectively. They are regulars at the Dayton Chess Club and tournaments both local and regional. Our third board, sophomore Phillip Shepard, is new to competitive chess, but he has been catching up quickly, coming to the Dayton Chess Club and receiving lessons and competing. Our fourth board, Bill Dyer, seems to be a natural. We got him started last year as a sophomore, and his keen board sense and relaxed attitude earned him 3.5 points at last year’s states and provisional rating of 1333. At fifth board is Bo Wang, a senior who has represented us at the city tournament all four years of high school. Lastly, our sixth board, sophomore Matthew Page, is showing real promise. Bo and Matt took turns at fifth board and contributed points to the cause.
This year, the finalists were Miami Valley and Bellbrook from one league, and Beavercreek and Fairmont from the other. In Round 1, MVS defeated Fairmont 5-0 and Beavercreek and Bellbrook drew their match. In Round 2, MVS and Bellbrook drew, and Beavercreek beat Fairmont 4-1.
Thus an interesting situation developed for the final round: MVS and Beavercreek both had 1.5 match points, so if one of them won the match, they would win outright. But if they drew the round, then Miami Valley would be ahead by one “board point” (games won). But If Bellbrook defeated Fairmont with a sweep, they would be tied with MVS on both match points and board points, and an additional playoff would be required!
Bellbrook won their first four games, and MVS was leading 2.5-1.5, so the nail-biting was in full force. Our remaining board seemed to be headed for a draw (which would give us the win), but at the scholastic level, one can never be sure. The jam was broken by Fairmont’s fourth board, who drew with Bellbrook, meaning that their game points would come up short against MVS, even in the event of a tie. Our last game, too, went favorably, a draw, giving us the match win, and with it, an outright win for the day.
The curse is broken! Now MVS can pursue its dynasty in chess!