Greenwich High School Chess Club Grows Organically, Accumulates Accolades

By Victoria Liu, Greenwich High School class of 2023

On June 5 the Chess Club at Greenwich High School hosted the second annual GHS Chess Championship.

The event was open to the Greenwich Public Schools middle schools, GHS students, and faculty.

GHS Junior Aubrey Niederhoffer placed first, winning all five of his games. There was a 6-way tie for 2nd place. The highly anticipated event marked the end of an incredibly successful year for the GHS Chess Club and Team. 

The club was founded in 2020 by Junior Max Lu, an International Master. Initially, the club operated solely online due to COVID restrictions. Three years later, the GHS Chess Club is one of the largest clubs at the high school, with around 240 members.

GHS Chess Team members (L-R) Victoria Liu, Isaac Dcruz, Elias Orrell, Carl Homan, and Max Lu with CT State Chess Association President Alexander Lumelsky at the 2023 Scholastic Team Championships in Manchester, CT. Contributed photo
Greenwich High School Chess Club members. Photo: Hannon Stern
Greenwich High School Chess Club members. Photo: Max Lu
Greenwich High School Chess Club members. Photo: Max Lu
Greenwich High School Chess Club members. Photo: Max Lu

The club’s affiliated chess team represents GHS at state-wide competitions and in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Chess League (FCICL), which includes both public and private schools in the county and New York. In the 2022-2023 school year, the team prevailed by placing first in the FCICL league, with an undefeated record. The team thrived not only in the FCICL season, but also at the state level. 

On March 4, the team of Isaac Dcruz, Carl Homan, Victoria Liu, Max Lu, and Elias Orrell was crowned State Champions at the 2023 Scholastic Team Championships hosted at Manchester High School, defeating around 25 other teams across the state. 

“[Next year,] it would be great for us to defend our state championship title and the FCICL title…and to send a team to either the National Grade Championships or the National High School Championships to get more people involved in over-the-board chess,” Max said. 

In addition, this year, the Chess Club developed a volunteer program with New Lebanon School and Hamilton Avenue, which gives club members the opportunity to share their love of chess with elementary-age students. The program takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:00-4:00pm at the elementary schools. 

With the rise of chess in popular culture, and with the rate at which the club has grown in the past year, it seems that the GHS Chess will only continue to progress. 

“Chess has really gotten a big boost from COVID, from The Queen’s Gambit to the explosion of popular streamers,” Max said. “Chess has become a lot more visible to people through the media. Once people start playing, they realize that it’s something that challenges them to use skills that they might not have used together… it takes a unique set of skills that many people find rewarding to develop.”