Ready, Set, Chess! The PDS Upper School Chess Tournament


Seniors Jai Kasera and Winston Ni prepare to go head-to-head in the 2023 PDS Upper School Chess Tournament (Photo/Umang Sharma ’26)

Spokesman Writer

At PDS, chess is a widely played activity and enjoyed by students of all grade levels. Though there are a few boards in the library, little has been done to accommodate the large popularity of chess within the Upper School. In hopes of resolving this, two students decided to take action.

At the beginning of March, two chess connoisseurs, senior Farhan Mohammad and junior Aadi Shankar, along with the help of the Student Council, decided to host a chess tournament open to all Upper School students and faculty. According to Shankar, “There is a large chess presence at our school, so Farhan and I wanted to create a chess tournament. 48 people signed up, and the tournament has been successful so far.” With chess being so popular among students, there was a high turnout of participants: the entire bracket was filled. The bracket was single-elimination, and 16 players started the first round off with a bye. While the beginning rounds were played on—the most popular online chess website—the later rounds were played in person. Additionally, online games were capped at 20 minutes, and both players were required to view each other’s screens to avoid cheating. 

There were many reasons why students participated in the event, namely their love of chess and desire to play against other students at PDS. Junior Alex Nieves shared, “I decided to enter the chess tournament because I have enjoyed playing chess with my friends, but never could formally play in a tournament against many different people. I have won my first-round game and look forward to my next one. It is a great way to have fun and possibly improve at chess.” 

The final round of the chess tournament, held on April 10 in the back of the library, pitted seniors Jai Kasera and Winston Ni against each other. However, there was a catch: Ni, known across the Day School for being an accomplished chess player, played blindfolded to make the game more fair and entertaining. The audience was amazed at Ni’s skill as he easily defeated Kasera. Overall, the PDS chess tournament was a great way for students who enjoy playing chess to demonstrate their skills among the community and potentially take a winning trophy home.