Northside Prep, 5th in the state this year, has gotten an additional boost with the appointment of International Chess Master Florin Felecan.
CHICAGO -- Northside College Prep High School is pleased to announce the appointment of International Master Florin Felecan as coach of the Mustang Chess Team.
With the appointment of IM Felecan, Northside Prep will be one of the few chess programs in Illinois to be headed by a coach carrying a performance-based title awarded by the World Chess Federation.
IM Felecan is one of the highest rated tournament players in the country and a professional chess instructor. He is a key player for the “Chicago Blaze,” Chicago’s own professional chess team. In addition, IM Felecan is a former junior national champion of Romania. IM Felecan went undefeated in winning the 1998 National Denker Tournament of High School Champions in Hawaii. He continues to compile an extraordinary record in tournament chess.
IM Felecan steps into his new role following the departure of Jeff Caveney. Coach Caveney built the chess program at Northside Prep over three seasons. Caveney, who relocated to New York at the end of the season, coached the Mustangs to their first-ever Chicago Public Schools All-City Championship in 2012. He then guided the team to a fifth place finish at the Illinois High School Association’s state championship tournament in February.
``I am very pleased with the team's friendly, learning atmosphere -- a very good sign that the program built by Coach Jeff Caveney was on the right track,’’ Felecan said. ``The team has plenty of developing talent. Together with my extensive teaching and team experience, we are hoping to successfully attack the IHSA State Championship in the next few years. Meanwhile, we are going to have fun perfecting our skills on a daily basis and building higher levels of competitiveness with our newest members.’’
Faculty Coach Dan Caldwell said IM Felecan would bring a strong strategic focus to the Northside program for many years. During the recruiting process, Coach Caldwell said he was struck by IM Felecan’s impressive tournament history. But Caldwell said he was also impressed by IM Felecan’s dedication to chess instruction and his use of new technologies in that process.
“I am tremendously excited to have Florin coaching our team,’’ Coach Caldwell said. “The Northside chess team has had wonderful competitive success over the past three years, but the full story still hasn’t been written. This wonderful team and its dedicated players deserve an excellent coach who can guide them further.”