State chess champs

Islander team wins 2007 title

Reporter staff

The Mercer Island High School Chess team won its second straight state championship earlier this month in Issaquah. In dramatic fashion, the MIHS team beat Garfield High School in a tie-breaker overtime session.

MIHS, the 2006- 2007 regular season KingCo Champions, triumphed over thirty-seven teams from all over Washington state who competed in the 2007 team championship event.

Each five-member team played five matches against other high schools and earn points with each win by a team member. Mercer Island and Garfield tied with 19 points (out of a possible 25) at the end of regulation time. In the ensuing “blitz” tiebreaker, MIHS squeaked past Garfield to take first place. The final game victory in overtime came with just six seconds remaining on the final players’ clock.

The MIHS team consists of Adi Lanka, Steven Taki, Sterling Kolde, Alex Glass, Greg Lee with Frank Wessbecher as alternate. Both Kolde and Glass won all of their games during the tournament. The team is coached by Dr. Leo Stefurak and Larry Bencivengo.

The team from Lakeside School in Seattle, that included David and Ben Wyde of Mercer Island, took third place with 18 points. Mercer Islanders Kevin Taki, Ernest and Conan So played for Interlake High School which took 7th place.

Bryan Solomon, a freshman at Lakeside from Mercer Island, won the JV tournament with a perfect 5.0 score - the only player in the 78 person JV section to win all games played. Frank Wessbecher of MIHS took 7th place in JV by accumulating 4.0 points. Michael Choi of Mercer Island, also played for Interlake and earned 13th place in JV play with 3.5 points.

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