By the slimmest of margins, one-half of one point, Lisle-based Benet Academy won the USCF National Grade 12 Championships in Orlando, FL at the competition completed December 14.
Benet's Max Zinski and Nate Austin both contributed 5.0/7 scores as they both tied for 5th place in the 66-player section. Grant Zozeny contributed a critical 4.0 score to round out the team result.
Whitney Young's Jimi Akintonde also participated in the 7-way tie for fifth place with his own 5.0 result. Oliver Natarajan chimed in with 4.5 -- good for a 12th place tie -- and Linden Kerr added 4.0 to the team tally.
All totalled, nine Illinois entrants placed in the top 10 of the main event's 13 sections.
James E. Warren of Lombard, Illinois, died earlier today, December 12, 2014, at the age of 81.
Jim's contribution to Illinois chess as a player, organizer, patron, and volunteer is truly unparalleled. He is survived by his wife Helen, a co-founder of the Illinois Chess Association.
For more than three decades, Jim worked for Western Electric (later AT&T Technologies, the forerunner of today's Alcatel-Lucent) until a 1989 heart attack forced him to take an early retirement.
Playing in the Chicago Industrial Chess League a couple years after its founding in 1957, Jim was the CICL's first Expert player at a time when most teams were happy to have one Class A player on their team.
Third time is a charm: Illinois' newest grandmaster, GM Boris Avrukh has finally earned an outright championship in an American event. With his fifth-round victory over GM Nikola Mitkov, Avrukh secured the lone 4.5 tally atop of field of 35 entrants in a combined Masters and Experts section of the Greater Midwest Class.
Earlier Avrukh had drawn GM Vlad Georgiev in the second round denying him a perfect score. Avrukh's provisional USCF rating has now eclipsed 2700. In three events since moving to Illinois from Israel, Avrukh has 12 wins, three draws and zero losses.
GM Georgiev shared runner-up status with FM Alexander Velikanov of Wisconsin, both with 4.0 results. A five-way tie for fourth place at 3.5 featured GM Mitkov, New York's William Fisher -- a FIDE Master and the 11th-rated Under 21 year old in the US, and Illinois stalwarts IM Florin Felecan, Zach Kasiurak and Jacob Furfine.
A pair of Illinois teenagers earned new USCF classifications as of the November official ratings.
Newly-minted USCF Master Alex Bian, age 14, cracked the 2200-mark with a 43-point bump.
13-year old Hanson Hao finally earned his USCF Expert stripes with a 53-point jump.
Congratulations to both Alex and Hanson!
Age eventually catches up with all of us and for USCF Master Jonathan Kogan, a regular participant of these top 100 lists for years, turning 19 graduates Jonathan from these compilations. Jonathan had ranked 11th among US 18-year olds prior to his latest birthday. He continues in the top 100 list for American youth Under 21, with a 2265 USCF rating.
A fourth-round draw with FM Eric Rosen secured the 2014 Illinois Class championship for FM Aung Zin. The long-time Illinois registrant had won his three prior games at the event held November 23 in Lisle, IL.
For FIDE puproses, Zin is a Myanmar registrant, earning his FIDE Master title in 1995. He ranks in the top 20 of players from his native country. Zin was the co-runner up at the 2013 Illinois Class won by GM Nikola Mitkov.
Rosen had previously drawn GM Dmitry Gurevich, compiling a 3.0/4 result and tying with Gurevich as runners-up.
Overcoming competitors from multiple states, Illinois saw four of its natives winning their respective sections at the Susan Polgar World Youth, completed November 2 in Schaumburg.
The event was coordinated by ChessIQ, directed by Sevan Muradian and Vytautas Vitkauskas. Crosstables available here. Over 200 juniors competed in nine sections.
In the Under 14 section, Vincent Do prevailed on tiebreaks amid a six-pack of 4.5/6 scores. Vincent accepted a draw in the final round against Kansas' Joey Kelly, after an exciting endgame with promotion opportunities in both directions. Kelly was the section's highest-rated player entering the event. In their final matches, Jacob Furfine drew and Matthew Stevens won to join the top score group. Tej Rai finished a half-point back in a three-way tie for 7th. 32 players from six states competed in the section.
For the first time since Penny Xu left the national Top 100 lists, Illinois has a female junior rated above 1900, thanks to Miranda Liu. At 13, Miranda is already among the top two dozen American females under Age 16 and the fifth-ranked 13-year old girl in the US.
Re-entering the ranks of the national Top 100 lists this month were 6-year old Alex Zhao and 10-year old Aiden Carey.
Posting the highest rating enhancements from the September to October lists were seven-year olds Arthur Xu (141) and Vrishank Ramnath (116). Also showing strong improvements were Miranda Liu (76), George Li (72), Edward Zhang (71), Stefan Musikic (64), and Rishi Narayanan (57).