CBA Seniors Win National Chess Title

December 22, 2017
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Seniors from the Christian Brothers Academy chess team took home the gold at the 2017 Grade 12 National Championship last week. Seated from left are John-Gabriel Bermudez, Daniel Draganoff and Marc Sorrentino; standing are Thomas Greenwald, Michael Gilbride, Andrew Mullaghy and Matt Notaro.

By Elizabeth Wulfhorst |

For the second time in three years, Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) seniors have won a national chess championship.

The CBA seniors captured the 2017 Grade 12 National Championship, held Dec. 8 – 10 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The students rallied to defeat powerhouse Stuyvesant from New York City to win the title.

“Winning the national championship is especially nice because none of us knew how to play chess before high school,” said Daniel Draganoff who led the team to victory, finishing fourth overall individually. “I did not expect to place that high in such a strong field,” he said.

Joining Draganoff were John-Gabriel Bermudez, Michael Gilbride, Matt Notaro, Brendan Fitzgerald, Kenny Skelton and Marc Sorrentino.

This is the second national title in three years for CBA. They also won the U1900 championship in 2015.

Draganoff was a key player for CBA during the 2015 win as well. He recently obtained an expert ranking by the United States Chess Federation, which is one of the highest honors in U.S. chess play.

According to Draganoff, practicing a lot was the key to the team’s success and they were very happy with the outcome.

Just a few weeks ago, CBA won the Grade 12 New Jersey Championship, also for the second time in three years.

Behind the Scenes at ‘The Nutcracker’

The CBA chess program, led by Patrick Melosh, has a competitive team and club program which includes around 30 students each year. They meet two to three times per week and attend chess events throughout the school year.

This article was first published in the Dec. 21-28, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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