‘Perfect’ Orono student wins chess championship

Posted March 24, 2009, at 7:20 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — With a perfect score of 4 points, Gabe Borland of Orono High School became Maine’s 2009 high school chess champion at the state’s individual scholastic chess tournament on March 21 at the University of Maine.

Lucas McCain of Yarmouth High School earned 3.5 points for the second-place trophy.

Tie breaks split a three-way tie between John Bapst Memorial High School’s Zach Smith and Bangor High School’s Henry Chai and Andrew Audibert, each of whom had 3 points, giving the third-place trophy to Audibert.

Borland will represent Maine in August at the Denker national tournament for high school champions in Indianapolis, Ind.

Borland, a college-bound senior planning to study biology, was elected First Board by the Orono High School chess team, which also included 2007-2008 state girls champion Sorel Edes.

Orono was undefeated during the Penobscot Valley Chess League’s regular season and won the league tournament championship in February. Orono went on to place fourth at the state team tournament on March 7. Borland won his individual title two weeks later.

Orono High School students have earned the boys and girls state individual chess titles six times in the last seven years. Borland joins a roster including Zening Chen, Cullen Edes (winning twice), Sorel Edes and Germaine Kickert. All represented Maine nationally at the prestigious Denker or Polgar tournaments.

With the support of former Asa Adams principal Sue O’Roak, Borland helped found and revive Orono’s elementary school chess program. He was instrumental in establishing weekly chess mentoring of third- through fifth-graders as a community service project through which Orono High School students could interact with younger players and satisfy their service learning requirement for graduation.

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