It was a double dose of chess this week at Garneau with the senior team battling Albert Campbell and the junior team facing off against SATEC on Tuesday. These were the first games played at Garneau. Both teams played their best however only managed 3-2 and 4-1 losses for junior and senior, respectively.

The senior and junior teams were previously second overall in the Toronto Disctrict Chess League. “We are still holding on to our position as second place,” said Zameer Bharwani, captain of the junior team. The junior team, losing only 3-2, will now be tied with SATEC. The ranking for the senior team is unknown, however a drop in position is expected.

The games on Tuesday were a sobering wake-up for many players, the senior team especially. A 4-1 loss from a team with a legitimate chess coach and blue light-up chess clocks was not something we had planned after our victory at Georges Vanier.

“I thought they knew what they were doing,” repeated Josh Tham, Garneau’s strongest competing player. “This time, I was right.”

“I played a really tight game,” I recall. “I’m not ashamed that I lost this one, it was quite a challenge and my opponent was a better player. But it’s also just motivation to get better.”

Marc Garneau lacks the funding and chess resources that many other schools have – there are no clocks, barely enough sets, and our best chess advice comes from each other. This is a challenge that many competitive clubs starting up must face. While this certainly makes winning harder, it should not be considered impossible and loss should not be discouraging. Future games translates into more chances to win.

Both teams will be facing off with Don Mills Collegiate next week on Tuesday. Again, both games will be played in Garneau.

As for me, I will be hitting the books. Being the only member of the senior team without a win, I am adding chess into my study time with calculus and law as a matter of pride. Four books on endgames are currently balanced in my lap and as soon as I submit this article I will crack the first one open.