US Chess Expert Giurgiu Wins MCS Conference Individual Crown, Bensenville's Fenton High School Wins MCS Team Title


Holding its second-ever conference tournament, the Metro Chicago Suburban (MCS) fielded five teams at Walther Academy in Melrose Park on Saturday, January 21.

Ionatan Giurgiu of Ridgewood High School in Norridge posted the lone undefeated score in the 46-player field, defeating Joseph Ghanimah of Fenton High School in the final round.

Nonetheless, Joseph's Fenton team (of Bensenville) ran away with the team title with 19.0 from its top 5 players. Riverside Brookfield placed second with 17.0 while Aurora Central captured third place with 15.0.

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300 Observe MLK Day With Bloomington-Normal Scholastic


Bloomington Normal Area Scholastic Chess hosted its 30th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. event. The scholastic tournament played out in four sections at the Bone Center of ISU on January 16.

Pragyan Misra had the lone perfect 5.0/5 score in the Lower Primary with 62 competing. Pragyan saw his rating go up 120 points.

Harshvardhan Bhangale and Jack Kerr were only a half-point back with 4.5/5 scores with Jack enhancing his rating by 239!

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340+ Play January YCFC at Brooks College Prep; Decatur Classical Wins K-2 and Advanced, Gora Wins Advanced


While there was plenty of hardware spread around the multitude of teams competing, Decatur Classical (of Chicago) managed to win two sections of the January 14 YCFC / CCF free scholastic tournament.

Christopher Gora managed to earn a better tiebreak than Decatur's Avi Kaplan when both posted 4.5/5 scores in the Advanced section. After two previous championships, Avi's second place finish lead the Decatur squad to the top team trophy,  posting 12.0 to Fox Valley's 10.0.

Decatur's John Seward (4.0) and Yuvraj Chennareddy (3.5) also contributed to the team total, with John nabbing 5th place honors and Yuvraj earning 7th.

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Boris Avrukh, Gopal Menon Deliver Training to Illinois Youth


Thanks to the tireless efforts of Warren Junior Scholar Director Scott Daniels, over 50 Illinois youth received training from top-rated Illinois players on January 15.

20 or so Warren Scholars were provided 90 minutes of instruction from GM Boris Avrukh, the top-rated active Illinois player by 80 points. GM Avrukh is the author of many opening books from Quality Press -- so it's no surprise that he was asked to speak on openings.

More than 30 Rising Stars were entertained and educated by NM Gopal Menon at approximately the same time on a separate WebEx conference. Menon, the 14th-rated Illinois player, encouraged the Stars to use "active learning" ideas in absorbing opening concepts.

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Single and Ready to Mingle? Players Seeking Teams for Feb 17-19 USAT North Are Contacting Organizers With Availability


With less than six weeks until the US Amateur Team North competition to be held in the northwest Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, registrations for both teams and individuals are starting to mount.

The February 17-19 event has two- and three-day options and will once again be hosted at the Hyatt Schaumburg.

Four person teams with one alternate can register until February 1 for a fee of $160. That calculates to $40 a person to play five rounds in a national event -- without even leaving the state of Illinois! 

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Chicago Chess Foundation Announces Advanced Training


[Editor's Note: The ICA has been notified that sufficient applications for Pawns to Queens have been received for the current acadmic year with only five scholarships available. Check back with the CCF at for 2017-2018 school year opportunities.]

Do you participate in or operate a Chicago school-based chess club? *

Have your students learned the rules of chess and the basics, but are they seeking to achieve that next level of chess prowess?

The Chicago Chess Foundation (CCF) may have the solution for your school program in what they are calling "Pawns to Queens" (P2Q).

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Ryan Kong Wins Winter Scholastic U1200, Jack Ding Is Perfect 5.0/5 in U700, 84 Participate in January 7 Event


Most players are happy to see their ratings increase a few dozen points at a tournament. At the 2017 Winter Scholastic, Ryan Kong enhanced his rating 139 points with four wins and an opening round draw.

Four players tied for second place a half-point back with 4.0/5: Jack Santner, Krish Khana, Advaith Kodipparambil and Atharva Awasthi. Kodipparambil and Awasthi both surpassed 1000. Ratings order was not published by the organizer as of this date.

Kodipparmabil provided Khana his lone blemish in the fourth round but fell to the champion in the final round.

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364 Players Compete In YCFC De La Salle December Event; Five Different Squads Prevail in Team Tallies; Kaplan Repeats

Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago (YCFC) hosts six free tournaments a year at various schools around Chicagoland. The second of the six events for the 2016-2017 calendar year was held December 18 at De La Salle Institute on Chicago's southside. 
George Dzuricsko of De La Salle, and Kelli Moore of St. Columbanus served as hosts with Mike Cardinale once again serving as organizer and Chief Tournament Director.
364 players competed in five sections, some as individuals but most as part of a club- or school-based team.
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102 Illinois Players Up Their Ratings 100+ from December; Three Are From the Same Family (Any Guesses Who?)


A whopping 102 players achieved rating enhancements of 100 rating points or more as of the January 2017 official USCF ratings!  Folks, that's one for every county in the state (not that rated chess is played in every Illinois county -- although that would be my dream for 2017!)

At the top of the list was Samuel Langdon whose rating bump was 296 -- playing in his fourth Kumbaya event.

Elijah Berry saw his rating go up 295 points playing in the St. John's tournament in November -- too late in the month to be included in the December official ratings. 

All totalled, 23 players had ratings growth of 200 or more as of January 1, 2017.

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Spencer Lehmann, Alex Bian Finish 1-2 At '16 North American Open in Under 2300; Roger Li Ties For First in Under 1500


With 6.5/7, Spencer Lehmann has won the Under 2300 section of the 2016 North American Open. Alex Bian placed clear second with 6.0/7.

The pair of Illinois high schoolers drew head to head in the penultimate round, with Bian drawing Iowa high schooler Arshaq Saleem in the final round to finish a half-point back.

Three players, including Saleem, finished with 5.5 to tie for third place.

The Continental Chess Association event concluded December 30 in Las Vegas drawing almost 800 players in seven sections.

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