Knighting of the chess team

Jones Chess Team secures new sponsor


The Jones chess team recently received sponsorship from the Chicago Chess Center, including financial support for the team to attend the 2023 National High School Championships in Washington, D.C. this April, hosted by the U.S. Chess Federation. 

Amongst team members, the sponsorship is believed to help further legitimize the presence of the Jones chess team in the tournament.

“The sponsorship could help pin a spotlight on us,” said Norna Sanchez ‘24, a chess team member. “That recognition could help us get resources from the school itself, similar to other sports teams.”

The sponsorship interests both the Chicago Chess Center and Jones due to the center’s location on 47 W. Polk St, around the corner from Jones. 

“If our chess team members wear those hoodies provided by the sponsorship, people around Jones will see the Chicago Chess Center logo and perhaps check them out across Polk Street sometime,” said David Franklin, the chess team sponsor, and parent of a Jones student.

Expenses for the Jones chess team are covered by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chess, which allows the team to go to different tournaments. 

“There’s an organization under the umbrella of CPS called CPS Academic Competitions [that] chess falls under,” said Franklin. “There’s a group called CPS Chess, and they sponsor the lion’s share of expenses for our team to go to tournaments like nationals.”

However, changes have been made to the funding portions granted by CPS.

“The CPS organization that funds the majority of those expenses has asked each school to pick up part of the cost,” said Franklin.

With the change in money allotment, the Jones chess team had to look elsewhere for financial support.

“We were [looking for] some money and a sponsor sounded like a good idea [because they could help us with that],” said chess team captain Ephraim Liang ‘23. “So our coach found a sponsorship agreement with the Chicago Chess Center, which is right next door to Jones.”

The Jones chess team also received a $720 grant from Friends of Jones to help the team travel to Nationals. 

“We submitted a written application and Friends of Jones very generously gave us what we asked for,” said Franklin.

The sponsorship by the Chicago Chess Center is beneficial not only to Jones but also Chicago as a whole as well.

“The sponsorship and expansion of the Jones chess team would not only be better for us but would also help represent the city since us succeeding also helps the city succeed in its image,” said Sanchez.

Beyond this new sponsorship, the team has many more aspirations.

“My goal is to get our team to be competitive with some of the legacy programs in Chicago who’ve been really well established for decades,” said Franklin.

The chess team welcomes people of varying skill levels to join and participate in competitions. 

“Most of the people who come to chess club are beginners or those who know the rules but never played competitively,” said Franklin. “A lot of people who played a couple of weeks ago in the Greater Chicago Championships for Jones are basically beginners.”

Besides learning and playing chess, members acknowledge that the community created through chess helps to strengthen the club.

“Our chess club is a very good, close-knit community with many of us passionate about the game and having fun socializing with each other,” said Joey Spalliero’24 a chess team member.