Orono High School Chess Bids Farewell to Coach

06.10.08 On May 31, the Orono High School chess team, their families, friends and supporters, said farewell to departing coach Fred Irons with a party honoring his eight years of service to the team.

Coach Fred Irons and his students

Thanks to Stephanie Cotsirilos for contributing to this report.

Mr. Irons is Professor Emeritus at University of Maine, where his work in electrical engineering spanned the years 1967-1977 and 1990-2000. He is the first recipient of the Roger and Virginia Castle Professorship and in the late 1970's, at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, he supervised design and implementation of a jam resistant guidance and control system.
Mr. Irons has been a strong advocate for chess throughout the region and the state, supporting teams and young players, offering insight into the importance of chess in the academic and social development of young people and helping to establish chess mentoring as a qualifying program under the Orono High School service learning graduation requirement.
Under Mr. Irons' leadership, the Orono High School chess team emerged as runner-up to the state high school chess co-champions in 2006. Mr. Irons' team also took the Penobscot Valley Chess League championship in 2007 as well as the top league honors for individual points that year, with first place shared by Cullen Edes and Gabe Borland. In 2008, Mr. Irons' team was undefeated during the Penobscot Valley Chess League's season, while the reserve team placed second in the state scholastic championships. Also in 2008, Orono's Germaine Kickert became the Maine high school individual chess champion, the first young woman in 20 years to earn that honor, while Orono's Sorel Edes won first place in the girls' state scholastic championship. Additionally, the year 2008 saw Orono's Ryan Vienneau take first place in the high school state championship reserve section for players rated under 1200, with Orono's Nikolai Renedo taking second place.

Fred Irons competing in the 2008 MLK Jr. Chess Tournament


Thank you Fred for all of your dedication to teaching chess. Your contributions will be carried on for generations to produce more players and more teachers.

Congratulations, Fred! The Orono Chess Team is another testament to your warm heart, skill, and humanity. You have left behind a legacy!

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