Chess Club Crowns Champion


L to R-Mr. DeRoos, Andru Sysouphanh, Chris Orpilla, Dean Stanley, Mr. Cerezo


After a grueling five days of competition, the WRHS Chess Club finally has a first-semester champion.  Chris Orpilla started as the number one seed in the 14-person tournament and cruised to the victor’s circle.  Orpilla has been the guy to beat for the past several years, and it looks like the Chess Club members will need to wait another semester to knock him from the castle.  Orpilla, a 4-time champion, took on all players on his way to his 5th title.

“I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old,” stated Orpilla.  “I play chess every day.  It’s a mental sport and it’s very competitive.”  Orpilla claims his fastest victory was accomplished in 4 seconds.  After watching him play, it was easy to see why he is WRHS’s Grand Champion.  Coming in 2nd place was Andru Sysouphanh and taking 3rd place was Dean Stanley.

“I thought I could beat him,” a dejected Sysouphanh sighed.  “I made too many mistakes and Chris is good at killing you for making mistakes.”  When asked how he plans to beat Opilla next semester, Sysouphanh thought and said, “Just can’t make mistakes.”  Good luck, Andru.

Most of the Chess Club members have been playing the game for a number of years.  Chess is a difficult game to understand and master, so the dedication of these young players is quite remarkable.  Meeting every Thursday during lunch, the Chess Club offers matches for the beginners, intermediate players, and the advanced, like Orpilla.  Club advisors Mr. DeRoos and Mr. Cerezo are accomplished players in their own right and are quick to point out the strengths each individual member brings each Thursday.

“Most of our players are intermediate, but the challenges are real for these players.  They love the competition and they enjoy spending lunch time working on strategies,” said Mr. DeRoos.

Chess offers many levels of advancement.  A new player may be ranked at a low level and progress up the chain as they win more games.  For example, a player who achieves a 1450 level is considered new, but not necessarily unknowledgeable (  Those players who learn from their mistakes quickly ascend to higher levels (1600, 1800, 2000, and 2400+) with practice and a limited number of mistakes on their way to victory (  There are also Master and Grand Master levels which are the ultimate achievements for chess players.

Mr. DeRoos closed out today’s ceremony with the following thoughts:  “It’s a grueling, 5-day test of will, strategy, focus, and mental fortitude. Only the strong survive. The Grandmaster Chess Club’s end-of-semester tournaments are not for the faint of heart.”

Best of luck next semester.  Again, Chess Club meets Thursdays during lunch in Room 706.  For more information, please see Mr. DeRoos or Mr. Cerezo.

L to R-Mr. DeRoos, Andru Sysouphanh, Chris Orpilla, Dean Stanley, Mr. Cerezo
Patrick Boutsy and Andru Sysouphanh ponder strategy.
Eugene Yang and Alexandra Recalde getting ready to battle.