Guilford High School

Chess Team

Chess teaches players to embrace chaos and manage it calmly, creatively, and methodically.

"Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent's mind." ~Robert James Fischer

"A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle." ~Japanese Proverb

"A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others." ~Norman Hidle

GHS Chess Team Practices will be held...

For text message reminders, text "@CzChess" to 81010

Click here when purchasing Chess Equipment! Support our sponsor: Wholesale Chess

Click here for our 8to18 page...

During Chess Team Practice, players will do the following:

  • Self Study (LiChess Practice, workbook pages, team quizzes)

  • Analysis (Game Analysis, Position Analysis, Work with a Coach)

  • Ladder Games

Players must complete each of the above at least once per week.

See this link for complete details: Chess Team Practice Requirements

All other team activities:

  • Team Members are expected to attend

  • Team Members are expected to compete

GHS Chess Team Records

GHS Chess Team Records

GHS Chess Team Ladder

  • Players can challenge any player above them

  • If lower rung wins, the winner takes the board of the person they beat and every below shifts down one board

  • Must take accurate notation and submit it

  • Cannot refuse a valid challenge

  • Game 25 d/5 (setting 18 on DGT clocks)

  • Game 25+5 on LiChess

  • Top 8 go to Sectionals & State

Chess Team Ladder

GHS Player first steps...

  1. Set up a free account at LiChess--Follow these players: CzTeacherMan, RockfordGuilford

  2. Learn the basics of chess at LiChess Basics

  3. Learn Checkmate Patterns, tactics, and endgame basics at LiChess Practice

  4. Continue drilling your tactical skills at LiChess Training

  5. Drill your board vision with LiChess Coordinate Training

  6. Use LiChess Videos to expand and extend your chess knowledge.

  7. Check-in your progress with the coach to earn team points towards goals!

  8. Apply your skills with GHS Chess quizzes to earn rewards

  9. Play practice and ladder games while doing post-game analyses constantly

  10. NEVER STOP growing as a player!

Study, Practice, Play, Study, Practice, Play, Study, Practice...

  • How you Study is key! Always apply what you learn in puzzles and in games!

  • Drill your skills at a chess drill website like LiChess, or - Free registration!

  • Learn about a variety of openings so that you understand some of the ideas and threats with them. Try

  • Join the USCF and play in as many tournaments as possible (find Illinois tournaments here)

  • Reflect on and STUDY all the games that you play. Look for errors you made and reflect on WHY you made them. (Even if you win!)

  • Play games against someone MORE knowledgeable than you (if you're winning, you're not learning)

  • Reflect and study games with someone MORE knowledgeable than you.

  • Read and STUDY the Manual of Fundamental Chess Skills

  • Find positions/puzzles where you don't know what to do... Do Positional Analyses on those positions, review them with someone MORE knowledgeable than you.

  • Figure out what kind of games you like to play and choose 4 openings that lead to those kinds of games (2 for White and 2 for Black). Find anything and EVERYTHING you can on those openings and study them over and over and over and over and over and over. Memorize ALL the main lines and memorize a few less played lines, but stay focused on the ideas and concepts behind those openings.

  • Buy chess books and "READ" them. Never read a chess book without a board (or two) in front of you. Study the books, don't just read them. Play the lines and watch the boards. If you don't understand a move played, read deeper, reflect on the move until you see what might work.

  • Subscribe to the Chess Network on YouTube and watch as many videos as possible.

  • Find GOOD analyses of classic games on YouTube and watch them over and over and over and over until you understand the game from start to finish.

  • Study and MEMORIZE how to bust the King's Gambit (by Bobby Fischer)

  • Notate EVERY game you play. ALWAYS use a clock. ALWAYS follow the rules of chess. NEVER take back moves. Play back EVERY game at least once to double check your notation.

  • Find clinics in the area and attend them. They're worth the money.

  • Teach some willing person everything you know about chess until they can beat you.

  • Solve a puzzle a day (a good, DIFFICULT puzzle)

  • Find Grandmaster games from recent tournaments (2011 or more recent) and study them over and over and over.

  • Find a Grandmaster you like to observe and study ALL of his or her games that you can find. Learn how they play and try to mimic their style in your own games.

  • Do ALL of these things every chance you get over the summer. Set aside one hour a day to study chess, and you'll start in the fall as a very strong player. Set aside 2 hours a day, and you'll come back a great player. Set aside 3 hours a day, and you'll come back defeating everyone in the NICL. Set aside.............

Guilford Chess History...

Rockford high schools, specifically Guilford, were instrumental in the early stages of IHSA chess back in the 1960s. Coach Gary McLammarah of Guilford started a team in 1965 and organized inter-scholastic tournaments with teams from across northern Illinois. The original Guilford chess team stopped competing sometime in the early 1970s.

Guilford Chess was reborn in 2012 when coach Erik Czerwin arrived in the 2012-13 school year. That first year was sparsely attended and had a rough start. However, in the 2013-14 school year, enough players played frequently enough to organize a couple of matches with Byron High School. Finally GHS began competing competing again in the 2014-15 school year, winning 2 rounds out of 7 at the IHSA State Chess Tournament, despite having only 7 players. The following year, GHS grew to about 10 players and won 3 rounds out of 7 at the State tournament. In 2016-17, Guilford had a regular crew of about 12 players and finally broke the .500 barrier in conference, at tournaments, and at State (4.0/7).

Guilford Chess - 1966

Head Coach, Gary McLammarah

Guilford Chess - 2013-14

During the 2012-13 school year, Coach Czerwin held a handful of chess club meetings, but nothing ever coalesced into a team. In 2013-14, GHS Chess had consistent attendance and organized 2 matches with Byron HS. 2 members from this team, Franco Trujillo and Calvin Nofsinger, stayed with the team over all 4 years of their high school career, forming the basis for the reborn GHS Chess Team.

Guilford Chess - 2014-15

  • Head Coach Erik Czerwin, Asst. Coach Nick Glowaty

This year was the first year of the new Guilford HS Chess team. With only 7 players, it was a tough, but successful season. The team hosted an in-house tournament at the end of the season to draw more attention, and it was very successful!

Guilford Chess - 2015-16

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin, Asst. Coach, Nick Glowaty

Building on the 2014-15 success, the team grew, adding a few new members who brought diversity and life to the team. After a successful season, the team again qualified for the State tournament and won 3 rounds out of 7, improving on the previous year's record.

Guilford Chess - 2016-17

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin

Having lost Assistant Coach Glowaty to Huntley HS, GHS struggled to recover, but rebounded well. The team grew to a regular crew of about 12 players and finally broke the .500 barrier in conference, at tournaments, and at State (4.0/7). The team won the North Boone tournament, bringing home the first chess trophy in 5 decades.

Guilford Chess - 2017-18

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin

With new players, new team structures, and a new resolve, the GHS Chess Team started the season with a double win at the North Boone Individual/Team event on Columbus Day. On Veteran's Day, the team made the trek to Sterling, IL, for the Sterling Invite; winning 3 out of 4 rounds ended in a 4th place finish out of the 18 teams competing. After a long week of competing, GHS Chess made it out to Bolingbrook to fight among the best in the state; finishing with 2 points out of a possible 4 and finishing 18 out of 32 teams. We wrapped up the conference season 2nd in the NICL East Division and 3rd overall. At the NICL Conference Tournament, we finished 5th overall with 3.0 points, only having lost to 1st place finisher, Sterling HS. On January 27th, Guilford hosted one of 8 Sectionals (the first IHSA Sectionals in decades), and we won rounds 1 & 2 which meant we had to face both Barrington HS and Auburn HS who ended the tournament with a perfect 4.0. Those first two wins secured our spot at State, however, and so two weeks later, we headed to Peoria. With one of our key players ineligible to play at State, we were still happy to wrap up the season with 3.0/7 at State and a 89/123 finish overall.

Guilford Chess - 2018-19

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin

Having graduated the first "core group" in spring of 2018, the Guilford chess team started off the new year with a large group of new faces. We started with 2 wins and 2 losses at the Aurora Charger Challenge; a good beginning to the season. A month later, we began the NICL Conference season with a win over Byron and a loss to Stillman Valley, revealing some critical weaknesses on lower boards. We ended the season 4-3-0 in our division and placed 9th out of 16 in the Conference Tournament. Our 2 wins at Bolingbrook, Conference, and Sectionals landed us a decent seed, and we finished the season with 3 wins at state, placing 93 out of 124 teams. A rebuilding year, to be sure, but fun and full of developing steps.

Guilford Chess - 2019-20

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin

    • Varsity Coach Logan Rodgers

    • J/V Coach Franco Trujillo

Joined by former team captain Franco Trujillo and former Jayhawk Logan Rodgers, the Guilford Vikings reached new heights. 5 freshmen joined the team and 1 sophomore, building a new core group focused on competitive chess. While keeping the fun going, the team competed more than past years and had the extra support of two more experienced coaches. The Vikings traveled to several Saturday tournaments including the Joliet Steelmen, the Argo Team, the Red Devil Challenge, and the Palatine Pirate tournaments. Plans to attend the Naperville Central tournament in January were snowed over. 6 of our 8 players took medals at the Conference Tournament (3 were 1st place); leaving Guilford holding 3rd place in the NICL.

With a strong showing throughout the season and 3 wins at both conference and Sectionals, Guilford was seeded 31 out of 128 going into the State Tournament. We wrapped up a record-setting weekend in Peoria. Guilford earned 4.5 out of 7, finishing 27th out of 126 teams; 4th out of 20 in Division 4A. Jeremiah Davis had the tournament of a lifetime, winning 7.0 including one against Barrington's 2110-rated Board 1. Everyone played a critical role in bringing Guilford to the forefront of IHSA State chess and did so while wearing knit Viking hats courtesy of Judah Salberg's family.

We graduated our first players to attend the State tournament all 4 years. Jocelyn Nunez-Monreal played in every State tournament for 4 years, ranging from Board 8 through Board 4. Joaquin Santillan joined as a freshman, but didn't play on the boards until his sophomore year, ending as a senior this season on Board 2 and team captain. Their dedicated presence helped to shape the team and drive it towards success.

Guilford Chess - 2020-21

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin

    • Asst. Coach, Joaquin Santillan

Joined by former team captain Joaquin Santillan, the GHS Chess Team moved online amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Practices moved to Google Classroom, tournaments and competitions moved online to LiChess, and playing on screens replaced playing Over-The-Board.

Team Captain Jeremiah Davis served his final year on the team, setting records in every category that will be nearly impossible to beat for many years to come. He and Judah Salberg celebrated being team members for 4 years while we also said goodbye to Charles Kang and Cedric Taylor who were with us for 3 years. Jefferson Jayhawk and senior Kyle Reed played with the Guilford team since Jefferson was unable to get a team together, and he was a welcome addition.

The State Tournament was played on campus, virtually. It was a unique experience, and everyone that came in had a great time. Two days of Portillo's dinner is hard to beat! The team settled in for each round, observing one another's games when finished with their own. As a season-ending event, the Vikings were happy to finish 44th out of 113, having been seeded 55. That placed the team 7th out of 19 teams in the ICCA Division awards.

All in all, it was a historic season with lots of new experiences for everyone. In-person over-the-board chess was definitely missed, but we made the best of a bad situation and built memories that will last generations.

Throughout the season, since chess was the only IHSA competitive activity running, we were frequently in the news...

Guilford Chess - 2021-22

  • Head Coach, Erik Czerwin

    • Asst. Coach, Brennan O'Connell

Coming out of COVID lockdowns, the early season was