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Brophy Roundup

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Junior Mohan captains chess team, ranks third in nation for age group

Photo taken by Daily Bulletin | Chess team showing off their awards from a sucessful tournament

By Hayden Welty ’19


Dave Mohan ’19 ranks third in the nation–first in Arizona–for his age group in chess, is the first board of the Brophy Varsity Chess Team and was recently voted to be the team captain for the coming school year.

He said he has been playing chess since he was 12 years old when he was still a student at Rancho Solano Preparatory School.  

“My mom signed me up for chess because she didn’t want me to get bored during the summer and ‘lose brain cells,’” Mohan said.

He said he immediately developed an affinity for the game.

“I picked up on it immediately and just started playing a lot,” he said. “I have thousands and thousands of online games now because that’s how I practice before all my tournaments.”

Mohan said one of the reasons for his rapid improvement was because of how often he played.

Junior Peter Moore ’19 said he has been pretty good friends with Mohan since sixth grade.

“In all the time that I’ve known him, I’ve beaten him once in chess in a game that wasn’t the base rules of chess…,” the team manager said. “That was several years ago, needless to say.”

Moore also said that Mohan is a great coach and teacher.

“He is always willing to teach openings and stuff,” he said. “A lot of people come to him in the club asking for advice, and he’s great at responding.”

Other teammates echoed the sentiment.

“We all have faith in him and in his hard work…,” said veteran chess player Herman Sanghera ’18. “We know he’s really talented and smart, so I definitely think that since this is going to be his year as captain, he’s going to organize us, train us, and make sure we’re better.”

There are two separate rating systems for high school chess players, according to Sanghera: the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) and the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

Mohan said that when you win competitive games (not including those played online), you get more rating points; losing or drawing, likewise, may lead to the subtraction of rating points.

The captain also said that he had recently passed the benchmark of 2200 points under the USCF system, granting him the National Master title and moving him up a division in play.

“I know to everyone listening 2200 sounds like a number, but when you get into chess…, you realize that’s godly-high,” Sanghera said. “It’s really hard to get up there.”

Aside from these competitive accomplishments, Mohan also said that he can play two to three semi-experienced people at once and that he can take on five or six beginners too, all without looking.

He also said that he remembers all of the games he played from the last year and that he can play back any one of those games in his head at any time.

Second board Sanghera said he currently sits at 1900 points under the USCF system and that the difference between him and Mohan is more significant that it may appear.

“The gap–300 points–sounds like a little, but it’s really a lot of expertise, a lot of time, a lot of training that really is the difference between me and him,” Sanghera said.

“It just sounds like a number, and it is a number, obviously, but it definitely doesn’t encapsulate the kind of thinking in his mind when he’s playing… It’s kind of unfair to just have a number define him because he is way beyond that.”

Sanghera also said that in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s rating system, Dave is literally the best (or most highly-rated) player in the entire world.

“We like to joke,” he said. “It’s the highest in the universe because if you’re the highest in Arizona, you’re the highest everywhere else because no one else is AIA; it’s just Arizona.”

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