Strong Field, Large Turnout at Evanston Chess Club January Tournament

Three masters and five experts showed up for the Gold section of the Evanston Chess Club tournament on January 17, which led to some hard-fought draws in the third and final round. It also meant that five players tied for first with 2.5 scores: NM Ken Wallach, FM Kevin Bachler (Bachler annotates his three games below), and experts David Franklin, Hanson Hao and Daniel Bronfeyn. Thanks also go to guest master FM Albert Chow. Aiden Carey and Jonathan Lee each had perfect scores in the Silver section, and James Marchert Jr. was the sole three-game winner in the Bronze section.

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Mateusz and Bennett: Co-Champions at 3rd DuPage CCC

The 3rd Annual DuPage County Chess Championship, hosted by Elite Chess, was held at Benedictine University on Sunday, December 28th.

And for the third year in a row, the event set new records for attendance. 154 players competed in the end-of-the-year tournament, with 113 playing in the rated sections and 41 playing in the unrated grade-level sections. 

Crosstables from the tournament can be found here.

The field was also the strongest that the DuPage County event had ever seen, with eight players in the Championship Section boasting ratings over 2000.

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Illinois Youth in USCF Top 100 as of December 2014

In the game of Blackjack, 21 is a winning number. When it comes to youth chess, the Land of Lincoln has hit the lucky number -- but may not be satisfied to stand pat.

For the first time in history, Illinois now boasts 21 juniors rated 2000 or higher! With 9 more at 1900 or higher, 2015 may see that 21 and raise it!

With Arthur Xu's ascendency among the 7-and-unders, the Prarie State has four top 5 players in their respective age group. 

As 2014 draws to a close, Illinois has 22 youth among the top 35 of their respective age group irrespective of gender, 31 among the top 50, and 56 active players among the top 100 in the 15 relevant lists.

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2014 ICA Election Results

The ICA election has concluded. Here are the certified final vote totals (winners in bold):


Carl Dolson: 28
Michael Auger: 1
Sherwin Chan: 1


Bill Brock: 30 

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Benet Academy, Whitney Young 1-2 Atop 12th Grade Nationals, Max Zinski Wins 2014 K-12 Blitz Championship

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 Kranjc 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. Over 1500 players competed in the three day event.

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Illinois Chess Loses Strong Supporter; Jim Warren, 81

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.

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CALL FOR BIDS: 2016 IL K-8 Championships

The Illinois Chess Association is now accepting bids for the 2016 Illinois K-8 Chess Championships.

Suggested dates are March 12 and 13, 2016. Preference will be given to bidders with an upstate location.

Bid deadline is now February 1.

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GM Avrukh Claims '14 Greater Midwest Class Championship

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.

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Alex Bian, Hanson Hao Achieve USCF Milestones; Illinois Youth in USCF Top 100 as of November 2014

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.

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FM Zin Nabs '14 IL Class; Akintonde Wins Class A; Baumann Family Posts Three Perfect Scores

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.

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