New Record: 23 Illinois Juniors Rated Above 2000!


With the arrival of downstaters Caleb Denby and Andrew Fei, Illinois now has 23 juniors rated above 2000 as of the August official ratings. Five juniors are rated above 2200 and are considered "Masters". Between 2000 and 2199 is considered "Expert" territory.

Aren Emrikian jumped into the top five of the 7-and-unders (4th) -- and is the top six-year old in the nation.

Dimitar Mardov (7th), Aydin Turgut (4th), David Peng (5th), Jacob Furfine (10th), and George Li (9th) are also in the top 10 of their respective age groups.

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Matura Doubles US Chess Rating From mid-June to mid-July! Andrew Byrnes, Srihas Rao and Linda Pham All Up 300+!


With solid performances at four tournaments in June and July, Max Matura boosted his official US Chess rating a remarkable 632 points from July to August!

With a published rating in the 600's, Max won four of his five games at the 9th Chicago Class (in Class D competition). He also competed admirably at the 127th Knight's Quest (two wins, two draws), the June Elite Open and a Chicago Chess Center Pre-Opening RBO.

Others showing strong advances in their August ratings include Andrew Byrnes, Srihas Rao and Linda Pham (all 300+ changes). A larger table is listed below.

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47 Compete At Aurora Fundraiser Fighting Blindness In India


When Sriram Ashokkumar mentioned to his uncle that he thought a chess tournament could be more than just about chess, it sparked a chain of events leading to a wonderful outing August 20 in Aurora.

47 competed in a four-round, non-rated chess with all proceeds going to the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission. The Mission aims to eradicate blindness which it deems "the most painful human handicap".

Four players tied with 3.0 points in the adult / high school section with Indian Creek high schoolers Sean and Austin Insley, Alwyn Pang and Joe Zemgulys all in that score group.

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Big Tournament Weekend Ahead: BSO, Iowa Open, Indy Open


There is something for everyone who enjoys tournament play on the weekend of August 26-28. Iowa, Indiana and Illinois will all host major tournaments that weekend, with thousands of dollars in prize money on the line.

The Bradley Summer Open will take place on one day, Saturday, August 27 with $240 guaranteed to the winner, among many other awards. More importantly, the BSO is the 7th stop of 10 Illinois Tour events. The Peoria event's history is over 50 years. Both the Open and the Reserve (Under 1400) feature four rounds, Game/80, 5-second delay.

The Iowa Open is a two-day event with a 61-year history, but the Reserve (U1600) and RBO (U1200) are Saturday only. 

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GM Anish Giri's Visit Thrills Chicago Chess Community


Giri small eThe 9th-ranked player in the world drew an overflow crowd to a short question-and-answer session followed by some thrilling blitz simuls.

Anish Giri, a Dutch-based grandmaster, appeared at a reception sponsored by the electronic trading firm Optiver at their offices at Prudential Plaza, August 18.

Dozens of familiar faces in the Illinois chess community jumped at the chance to meet the GM.

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Girls in US Top 100 Lists for August, 2016: 44 Active Illinois Players Posted on Elite Lists, Li Striving to Join Liu as Expert


44 Illinois girls have managed to earn spots on this month's top 100 lists compiled by US Chess. Unfortunately, Illinois is without a qualifying 18 year old, but managed to have at least two active players on each of the other 11 lists.

Marissa Li is now within 25 points of joining Miranda Liu in the rarefied air of female Experts (rated 2000 or higher).

The lists are based on ratings achieved and processed by the third Wednesday of the prior month, in this case July 20, 2016.

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Menon Approaches 2400 With Strong 2016 US Open Showing


Gopal Menon's 6.5/9 at the 117th US Open Championships in raised his rating to 2394, within a pawn's throw of the coveted 2400-mark.

With 24 Illinois entrants, 11 finished with plus-scores, five were even at 4.5 and three were just a half-point away with 4.0's. The nine-round tournament was hosted at the Marriott Indianapolis East completed August 7. Complete US Chess posting is here.

In the ninth round, Menon closed with a draw against IM Andrey Gorovets of Texas. He was perfect against six lower-rated opponents, losing only to a pair of grandmasters: Aleks Lendrman in the fourth round and California-based Melikset Khachiyan in the seventh round.

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Karagianis' "The Struggle" Wins Best Story from Chess Journalists; ICA Site Named Best Of USCF State Affiliates


Pete Karagianis wrote an amazing set of articles for the March 2016 edition of Chess Life, the US Chess monthly publication. "The Struggle" was a profound depiction of the sacrifices it takes to improve one's ratings and skills, and the vital role played by regional tournaments such as the Iowa Open.

The Bloomington-Normal area chess coach was rewarded for his efforts, not with rating points, but with the Chess Journalists of America's Award for Best Story of the Year... one of the top four prizes it selects annually.

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Illinois Loses Three US Chess Life Members


At the onset of the 2016 US Chess Delegates meeting, a memorium roll call is read and the assembled pay respects to those in the chess community who have passed away during the past year.

In addition to the way-too-early death of Sevan Muradian previously covered on this website, three Illinois gentlemen were identified.

Duane Muehler, Fred Braucher and Fred Ekstrom were all Life Members of US Chess.

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IL Trio Posts 4th Highest Total at Denker, Barber, NGIT


The elite team of George Li, Vincent Do and Miranda Liu admirably acquitted themselves at the 2016 Denker, Barber and National Girls Invitational Tournaments.

The competition concluded August 3 in Indianapolis, IN, including entries from all but four states while adding back a second team from California and an entry from Washington, DC.

The Illinois-based trio tied for fourth place with 12.5/18 combined, the same score as Wisconsin and Oklahoma, a half-point behind third place Virginia and 1.5 points behind the champion New Jersey squad.

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