Prefect Council and Chess Club host tournament


Zoe Goor/Chronicle

Students play chess against each other during Prefect Council and the Chess Club’s tournament.

Alexander Dinh and Zoe Goor

Prefect Council and the Chess Club are partnering to host a chess tournament on the quad starting Tuesday. 56 Upper School students signed up to compete, and after four rounds, the top eight will move on to the knockout stages. The winner of the tournament will receive a $50 gift card.

Chess Club Leader Eric Vartany ’24 said that Chess Club is excited to bring the community together through the tournament.

“We’re super excited to host Harvard-Westlake’s first school-wide chess tournament in years,” Vartany said. “It’ll be both fun and competitive, which I’m sure everyone will enjoy. We hope to make this a tradition that will share the joy of chess with the school community.”

Day One Tournament Updates 

Students gathered on the quad to cheer on their classmates who participated in the chess tournament during lunch Tuesday. 56 participants played the first two rounds of the tournament at lunch, and 13 people won both rounds. Elliot Lichtman ’23, Victor Suh ’25, Alex Dinh ’25 and Declan Fahey ’23 currently hold the top four spots.

Sophomore Prefect Eric Lee ’25 said that Prefect Council has noticed that chess has become a trendy game, and decided to organize the tournament.

“Recently, we noticed that chess has been gaining a lot of popularity among the student body,” Lee said. “I noticed a lot of my close friends playing chess and, while the initial suggestion definitely wasn’t mine, there [are] definitely prefects on the council who are pretty passionate about chess.”

Day Two Tournament Updates 

The second and final day of the non elimination rounds occurred Wednesday. The 56 participants were narrowed down to the final 16, all of whom won at least three out of the four matches and will be playing in the knockout rounds Thursday. According to Tournament Director Eric Vartany ’24, the playoffs were originally supposed to have eight players, but due to the number of player finishing with three wins, the playoffs were expanded. Elliot Lichtman ’23, Victor Suh ’25 and Alex Lee ’24 are the only undefeated players left in the tournament.

Lichtman said the tournament and the conversation that it has sparked have been a great way to bond for beginners and experts alike.

“The chess tournament has brought out an amazing sense of community, both among the more experienced chess players and the people who have been inspired to try their first few chess games on the boards in the lounge,” Lichtman said. “As fun as the tournament itself is, perhaps the best moments are in the aftermath of each round when participants and spectators alike take advantage of the chess boards and newly spurred chess enthusiasm to sneak in a quick game or two, show off a cool gambit, and relive the most innovative tactics from their most recent tournament game.”

Day Three Tournament Updates 

The first day of elimination rounds occurred Thursday. Only four players are left in the tournament, competing to win the $50 gift card. Previously undefeated Victor Suh ’25 and Elliot Lichtman ’23 lost, so Alex Lee ’24 is the only undefeated player remaining. During the quarter finals, players had ten minutes on the clock, as opposed to the five minutes during non-elimination rounds. The semi finals and finals will also be ten minutes each.

Lee will play Colin Kneafsey ’23 and Collin Caras ’25 will play Jacob Wiczyk ’23 in the semifinals tomorrow. The winners will play for the the title of champion in the finals round. The games will be played on the quad, where there will be spectators, and it will also be commentated by Lichtman and Math Teacher Laffite Lamberto-Egan on HWTV.