Wang leads Comets to 6th straight GMC Chess Championship

By Andrew Little | The Chronicle Sports Editor

The Mason Comets Chess team completed a perfect season on Tuesday, November 30, winning their final five matches at the Greater Miami Conference (GMC) Championships held at Sycamore High School to finish 13-0-1, their second consecutive undefeated season and sixth straight conference championship. 

The tournament was held in a format called swiss-style where teams play five different opponents with no eliminations, essentially a smaller scale round-robin. After all the matches have been played, scores are calculated together to determine a winner. A match consists of five individual matches and a team receives a point for each individual win and half a point for a draw. The Comets defeated Fairfield 5-0, Lakota West 5-0, Sycamore 4.5-0.5, Lakota East 4-1, and Hamilton 5-0 to win the tournament.

Sophomore Jason Wang led the way as the first board, the team’s top performer typically matched to the opponent’s top competitor, and was named GMC Athlete of the Year for his dominant season. Wang is ranked first in the state of Ohio by the United States Chess Federation and has the title of International Chess Federation Master, which means he is rated in the top one percent of players in the country. Wang said he was still excited and humbled to earn the honor as the GMC’s top player. He attributed his success to his teammates.

“It’s obviously an honor and it makes me feel really happy but I couldn’t have done it without our whole team,” Wang said. “I’m happy but even prouder of the team in general.”

Earlier in the season, the Comets tied Sycamore 2.5-2.5. Sycamore was the dominant team in the GMC, winning five consecutive conference titles before Mason won its first championship in 2011-12. Sycamore is also the only team to have won a conference championship in the last 11 years other than the Comets, winning in 2015-16. The Comets won the rematch at the conference tournament 4.5 to 1.5. Wang said that tying their rivals served as a turning point and motivated the team heading into the rest of the season.

“We were obviously a little bit disappointed after that tie so we started working harder,” Wang said. “At GMC we beat them four and a half to 0.5. So that was good, and we were really happy afterward.”

The Comets have controlled the GMC for over a decade now and are showing no signs of stopping. With Wang only being a sophomore, as well as two freshmen in Pranav Pendurti and Joseph Winkler being named second-team all-conference, the Comets are in a strong position to extend their streak next year to seven. Wang said that year after year the team continues to cycle in top talent and that he hopes to continue extending the team’s legacy of success throughout the rest of his high school career.

“I feel like our team is pretty strong and out of all the teams we have consistently, especially in the last five years, been the dominant team,” Wang said. “I believe our players are the strongest in the conference and we have some pretty talented players coming up, even though some more seniors are graduating. I definitely hope that we can continue our streak. To make it seven or eight consecutive years would be really nice.”