Washington’s best high school chess player is Blaine’s own Carson Roesch.
The Blaine High School junior competed in the Washington State High School Individual Chess Tournament over two days on January 19 and 20, defeating five opponents in the highest-ranked bracket of roughly 40 of the state’s best chess players.
Like the great chess grandmasters Carson Roesch looks up to – Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, Magnus Carlsen – he scrupulously prepares for every match.
Roesch said he stayed up the entire time, two straight all-nighters, to study his upcoming opponents. Blaine chess coach, and Caron’s dad, Jeremy Roesch, can back that claim up.
“At the hotel room, I woke up at about three in the morning,” Jeremy said. “He was still going over games from the database for his opponents the next day.”
The sleepless nights paid off. Carson won his first four matches and needed a tie in the final match to be named state champion.
After two days of multiple-hour long matches, running off nearly no sleep, Carson earned a draw and was named the best individual youth chess player in the state.
He’s seen success in high school chess before. He was named a First-Team State All Star in his freshman year and has been beating high schoolers since the fifth grade. But Carson said his last few matches for the title were draining.
How was he feeling after winning a state championship?
“Completely exhausted,” Carson said. “I barely made it through the last round.”
While chess might not get the same level of pomp and circumstance as other high school sports, a state championship is still a state championship. Carson said the recognition he’s received from friends, teachers and fellow students has been overwhelming.
“I’ve gotten a lot of attention, I’m pretty famous at my school,” Carson said. “Everyone’s super excited and it seems like my friends think it’s a bigger deal than I do, which I find pretty funny.”
The chess team will send five players – Carson included – to the state team championship at Interlake High School in Bellevue on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2.
For Carson, he will go on to compete in the Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions, a 50-person tournament of the best players from each state. The tournament is set for July 27-30 in Norfolk, Virginia.
“A light comes on in people’s eyes when I tell them I’m going to Virginia,” Carson said. “That’s when it really hits people.”
Head coach Jeremy Roesch says for anyone interested in joining the chess team to contact him at email@example.com.
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