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Chess Team is Headed Toward a Three-Peat

In its 88-year history, Malden Catholic High School has scored big on the turf with a Catholic Conference Championship football team and on the ice with four straight Super 8 Hockey Championship wins. The school also competes competitively, consistently and successfully on a different type of surface…a board with 6 distinctly movable pieces.  

In 2018, The Malden Catholic Lancers were undefeated in the regular chess season with a 10-0 record and won the year’s playoff championship. The Lancers also earned a 9-1 record in 2019 as part of the North Shore Interscholastic Chess League (NSICL) and then secured another championship with a 2-0 playoff score. This year, The Lancers are on-track to land a three-peat with a current 3-0 record including a recent win over Rockport. However, this is not the first time Malden Catholic has had a series of landslide chess victories. From 1985 to 1989, the MC chess team dominated the NSICL with five straight championships and again with wins in 2014 and 2016. 

According to the Massachusetts Chess Association (MACA), the Lancers are currently ranked 3rd in the state and the team consists of 24 players from the high school’s Boys and Girls Divisions. The chess team is coached by Physics teacher, David Milliern who is a highly skilled player himself and English teacher, David Murray. Milliern is a nationally ranked adult player who is intensely passionate about teaching chess and grooming grandmasters. “Chess is a mental sport that boosts the players’ cognitive abilities inside and outside of the classroom and we’ve been delighted to recruit some of MC’s brightest students to the team,” stated Milliern.  

Milliern has turned a very good player like Yiqian Yan, class of 2018, into a strategically-intimidatingly chess player who dominated the NSICL.  “Yan was an awesome tournament player who posted two consecutive undefeated seasons and was instrumental in our 2018 championship run,” commented Milliern. In addition to Yan’s success, Milliern is confident that MC has produced two additional top-scoring players – Bill Chen ’19 and Andrew Scacchi ’19.  Last year, both Chen and Scacchi beat top-seeded Lincoln-Sudbury High School at the Massachusetts state tournament. “Chen landed one of the biggest upsets in league’s history with a win over a top semi-professional Lincoln-Sudbury team member,” Milliern added. “And this season, our previous metrics have already been eclipsed by Zhiquiang (Tommy) Cai and Santiago Marmolejo-Rocha along with other championship-caliber players on our team.” 

The NSICL, which is in its 51st year of operation, features the Lancers next match on Thursday, December 12 against Burlington High School. Upon qualification, the Malden Catholic chess team will also participate in the United States Chess Federation (USCF) which hosts the Massachusetts Chess Association High School State Championships.  

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