Pleasant Hill: The View From Coquille

by Nancy Keller

This weekend, Coquille Varsity Chess Team went to tackle the 3A school, Pleasant Hill, that took the 3A state varsity championship away from them last year. Coquille attended the Al Leong memorial Chess Tournament at Pleasant Hill’s home turf. Before 2011, Coquille had been the 3A state varsity champion for many years but Pleasant Hill became a force to reckon with and won it for 2011. Both schools are anticipating fighting it out at the 2012 Oregon High School Chess Team State Championships later this month so this gave them a chance to practice and size each other out.

Coquille’s Varsity team did not manage to bring down Pleasant Hill, but Coach Keller hopes that it was based on their team not being up to full strength. Coquille was missing two members of their team but had some fairly strong alternates. Willamette High School, Eugene, won the event, beating Pleasant Hill by 1 point and beating Coquille by 2.5 points. Coquille Varsity Team took third place.

However, Coquille did well in individual and the other team divisions.

The Coquille Junior Varsity Team continues to look exceptionally strong. Two of the Coquille Junior Varsity players elected to “play up” out of the K-8 division and into the high school section for harder competition. Aaron Grabinsky was undefeated but drew in the final game to tie for second place in the K-12 division. Josiah Perkins after a single loss tied for fourth place in the K-12 division and he was the youngest competitor as a sixth grader.

Coquille Junior Varsity Chess Team did well in the K-8 division despite missing their top two boards playing up a section and yet snared first place. Hailey Riley was in a three way tie for first place and ended up in second place after blitz (5 minutes per player speed chess) playoffs. Kaden Johnson and Mason Collard were awarded Honorable Mention plaques for their performance.

Coquille Elementary Team won first place in the K-5 division. Joshua Grabinsky, despite being only in third grade, snared third place. Marino Santoro from Bandon won second place. Vincent Thrash and Johnathan Huffman helped Joshua Grabinsky with the great team result.

In the novice section, Tianna Huffman was awarded an Honorable Mention.

Between rounds, Pleasant Hill provided some wonderful side events of “Lucky Chess” and “Bughouse” that kept the kids entertained.