Lake Forest Park resident on chess Team WA as it wins the national championship

Monday, September 20, 2021

By Breck Haining

Team WA successfully defended their title as national champions on September 7, 2021, defeating Team VA in the second annual master’s level States Chess Cup, an online master’s level team chess tournament between the states.

Playing for Team WA were Ryan Porter on board 1, Kyle Haining on board 2, Derek Zhang on board 3, and Alec Beck on board 4. Kyle, a Lake Forest Park resident, also played for the championship team in the inaugural tournament last year.

Lineup for games

The format of this tournament was that each state that chose to compete in the tournament would have four representatives play four games against the competing state’s team, so each player on a team played against each player on the other team.

One point was awarded for a win, half a point for a draw, and no points for a loss. The winner of the match was the team with the most points. Games were played under a rapid time control. Each player had 15 minutes to make all of his or her moves. 2 seconds were awarded to a player after making a move. A player who ran out of time would lose.

Team WA got off to a rough start this season, losing their first two matches. The coach made lineup changes, and the team was able to turn things around. Going into the final round, Team VA looked to be the favorite, as they had not lost a game all season.

Team WA defeated Team VA in the finals 10-6, which sounds like a blow out, but the match was much closer than the score would make it seem. Many games were on a knife’s edge and could have gone either way.

Spectators could watch the games being played online. The tactics and strategy employed by the players was really quite phenomenal, especially as time ticked away. The players showed why they are masters and experts at chess.
A video of the finals can be seen at


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