Argo's 2022-2023 Chess Team. (Supplied photos)

Argo's 2022-2023 Chess Team. (Supplied photos)

Argo Chess has another winning season; Coach honored by ICCA

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lucian Bogdan

Argo High School Chess Coach Lucian Bodgan.

The 2022-2023 chess season has been another great one for the team at Argo Community High School.

Even during a rebuilding year, after losing nine players (seven seniors and two transfers), the Argo Chess team managed to bring home the ninth conference trophy in a row, and qualified for the 2023 IHSA Chess State competition where they finished in 11th place in the 4A Division.

Throughout the year, the team competed in many tournaments. The top team performances include the Huntley Team Tournament, where Argo came in second place for Varsity and third place for JV, and the Grater Chicago Chess Tournament where Argo finished in third place in the Reserve section.

Individual performances were achieved by the following students:

  • Leo Benitez – second place on Board 1 in Conference and sixth place All Conference.
  • Andrew Yoe  – second place on Board 2 in Conference, 10th Place All Conference, third place on Board 1 in the Richards Invitational tournament, second place on Board 2 – Huntley Team Tournament.
  • Ally Coker – first place on Board 3 in Conference, second place Board 3 in the Aries Team tournament and second place in the Greater Chicago Team Tournament reserve section.
  • Giselle Salto – 2nd place on Board 4 in Conference, 2nd place on bd 2 – Richards invitational tournament
  • Lesly Silva – first place on Board 5 in Conference.
  • Somya Patel – first place on Board 6 in Conference.
  • Daniel Arredondo – second place on board 7 in Conference, fourth place undefeated in the Argo Team Tournament.
  • Christian Ovalle – first place on board 8 in Conference.
  • Kalil Abusalem – second place on board 5 in the Richards Invitational tournament.
  • Francisco Romero – 3/4 pts. Awards winner at the Aries team tournament – open section.

The 2023 IHSA State Championship was held on February 10-11 in Peoria at the Civic Center.  The team competing at State was led by Leo Benitez, Andrew Yoe, Ally Coker, Gisselle Salto, Lesly Silva, Daniel Arredondo, Somya Patel, Christian, Ovalle, Ian Cruz, Joaquin Lamas, and Daniel Cortes.

Chess coach Lucian Bogdan was selected as the ICCA Coach of the year.

The coach of the year is decided by a vote of ICCA members from a field of nominations. Nominations are submitted from other coaches, students, faculty, and parents in Illinois chess programs. All ICCA coaches are eligible for nominations.

Coaches honored by the ICCA Coach of the Year award will only be so honored once in their career, even though some coaches’ success merit selection several times. ICCA Coach of the Year honorees demonstrate dedication to chess beyond their team and contribute to the Illinois chess community at large.

Coaches earning this award have demonstrated contributions to the Illinois chess community over a period of years.   A variety of factors are taken into consideration, including: team success at chess tournaments, conference play, and IHSA State Final series; contributions in chess to their conference, region, and state; improvement and loyalty of their players; and, additional efforts in chess.

A nomination is to include one paragraph description of the reasons the nominee should be selected as Coach of the Year.

Voting for the Coach of the Year takes place during the first day of tournament play at the IHSA State Chess Tournament. Ballots are collected through the end of Round 4.

The following is a nomination that Bogdan received from his peers.

“I would like to nominate Coach Lucian Bogdan from Argo Community High School for the ICCA Coach of the year.   Lucian’s teams have consistently won five matches at the IHSA State Tournament and have rarely (never?) finished outside the top 30.   His program is one of the most active in the State.  Argo competes in numerous tournaments, hosts one of their own, and competes at Nationals every year.   Argo is successful without a true feeder program and with Lucian as the only coach for a roster that regularly boasts 20+ players.

“During the online COVID season, Lucian provided and presented his Master Your Chess website at the ICCA Coaches Clinic that he created to help with player development.   It is an amazing website that will take players of any ability level and teach them the game of chess in a logical order, from beginner to master.   And he offered it, free to use and for the benefit of the chess community as a whole. Additionally, in further service to the chess community, Lucian represents the South Suburban Conference and attends the IHSA State seeding meeting annually.

“I have watched the interaction of Lucian with his players and I know he deeply cares for them as people and players.  He has an amazing heart and is one of the most genuine and caring coaches that I know.  I cannot think of a more deserving Coach for this award that has been a long time coming for Lucian Bogdan.’

Bogdan said he was appreciative of the award.

“I’ve been coaching the chess team since 2009.  I felt extremely honored and grateful to receive the coach of the year award. I’ve been truly blessed by God to work with the most amazing and hardworking students throughout the years.”

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