Illinois Youth: July Top 100 Listings


51 Illinois youth have made one of the dozen age-based Top 100 Lists for nationwide juniors.

This includes an all-time high five Masters and seventeen Experts, marking a total of 22 juniors rated 2000 or higher.

Vincent Do will be representing Illinois at the Barber Championships (for K-8's) in Indianapolis starting next week. George Li, on the cusp of 2400, will be representing Illinois at the Denker Championships (for high schoolers) also in Indianapolis.

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GM Mikhalevski Wins 2016 Chicago Class


With a fifth round victory over Michigan's Michael Chen, GM Victor Mikhalevski secured top honors in the Masters section at the 2016 Chicago Class completed July 17 in Wheeling.

GM Mikhalevski claimed $2100 in prize money with his 4.5/5 tally. A trio of GM's tied for 2nd through 4th place: Alex Chimanov, Fidel Jimenez and Illinois-based Vlad Georgiev, all with 4.0's. They each cashed $600 checks.

Four players tied for 1st and 2nd place among players rated Under 2400 in the section, all with 3.5's earning $300: David Peng, George Li, Iskandar Aripov and the aforementioned Michael Chen.

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One Way Chess Launches in Chicago, Champaign


Former ICA Board Member At Large and two-time Collegiate Final Four participant Michael Auger has developed a chess training company with some associates.

While conducting private lessons online to students around the country, the in-person lessons are mostly being offered in the Chicago and Champaign areas.

Michael was kind enough to respond to some questions posed by the ICA which appear below. We wish Michael well in his new endeavor. Details can be found at

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Illinois Players On Top Of the World (Open) 2016, Claim $36K


Illinois-based Ionatan Giurgiu won the Under 2000 section of the 2016 World Open completed last week in Philadelphia. Giurgiu won $12,000 with eight wins in eight games -- not even playing in the 9th round as the title was already secure. Ionatan had played nine events at Chess IQ from 2012-2014 and even played in the Illinois Open back in 2012. 

Downstater Caleb Denby tied for 10th in the section with a 6.5/9 tally.

Boguslaw Niemczewski claimed the Under 1600 section with a 8.0/9 score. Niemczewski took a half point draw in the last round with the title -- and a $10,000 first prize -- secured. Niemczewski has played in many Chicago Opens including 2003-2009 consecutively. 

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Lenox Advocates Chess For Veterans, Physically-Challenged


The Illinois Chess Vets spread the word about chess at the Chicago Abilities Expo from June 24 to 26. ICA Veterans Committee Chairman Michael Lenox estimated there were as many as 5000 attendees across the three days.

Lenox broadcast play-by-play announcements of blitz games using a wireless microphone and PA system, attracting visitors to the group's display. The Vets hosted 2014 US Blind Champion Jim Thoune who had driven up from Bowling Green, KY. 

Thoune won games against all challengers, except for that of Robert Stoltz -- who was somewhat of a ringer.

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Santner Bumps Rating 395 Points! Wagner, Tipirneni Up 300+


Playing in only his third US Chess-rated tournament, Jack Santner enhanced his rating 395 points from the June 12 Knights Quest event hosted by the Renaissanace Knights in Northbrook. Jack returned to rated chess earlier this year after a five-year absence. His only other tournament before this year was the 2011 IL K-8 Championships.

21 Illinois players had ratings jumps of at least 150 points this month.

In June's event, Santner went four for four to claim the U1000 co-championship along with Sriram Tipirneni. Sriram raised his rating an impressive 314 points with his perfect score.

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Liu: First Illinois Junior Female Expert In Recent Times

With an impressive performance at the National All-Girls Tournament, 14-year old Miranda Liu becomes the first Illinois female junior to achieve the US Chess Expert title in recent times. As of the official June 2016 ratings, she comes in at 2015.  Congratulations to Miranda!

An observant reader of the ICA site wrote in to correct a previous erroneous posting that Miranda was the first ever. Yelena Gorlin became an Expert in 1999 as a high school sophomore at Niles North. Sadly, it appears Ms. Gorlin stopped playing rated chess as of the 2002 Pan American Collegiates in Miami when Yelena was presumably a freshman in college. She went 3.5/6 to raise her rating to 2169. The event also included Yury Shulman, Jennifer Shahade, Eugene Perelshtyn, Irina Krush, and Alexander Onishchuk. It was also Illinois-based NM Hugo Padilla's first USCF-rated event.

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Warning: Notes and Analysis Restricted During US Chess Tournament Play, Keep It in Your Brain, Not Your Scorebook


Chess is all about context.  A competitive chess player takes to heart -- and usually indestructable memory -- a long list of solid principles to be followed almost universally.

But depending upon the specific situation on the board, those tried and true principles can lead to disaster for the myopic player. Exceptions abound!

Similarly, there are two recommendations I have for all players, young and old: notation and analysis. DO take notation of all your tournament games and DO use that record later to analyze what might have been at various junctures of the completed contest. There is no better way to improve at chess; how often the patterns and positions repeat.

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IL Players Show Significant Ratings Jumps As of June


Thanks to his co-championship of the K-12 U1200 section at April's National High School Championships in Atlanta, Jeffrey Guerrero saw his rating climb from a provisional 1061 to an established 1367, a whopping 306 enhancement! Jeff played 5th Board on the Highland Park team which finished 4th in the state this year.

With a sharp showing at May's National Elementary Championships in Tennessee, Ayush Banerjee's rating climbed 276 points. Ayush earned 4.5/7 in the K-5 section.

Naperville North's Ryan Guan demonstrated he's not the only serious chess player in the family with a 6.0 showing in the same section as Jeffrey. With 357 players competing, Ryan finished in a nine-way tie for third place to up his rating 261 points. 

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May 2016 US Top 100 Lists For Girls


22 female juniors have surpassed the 1000 mark as of the May 2016 ratings... with three girls rated above 1900. Actually, one has gone over the magic 2000-mark thanks to her championship performance at the National All-Girls in late April... but you'll have to tune in to a subsequent article to see if that is forever recorded in the June rating supplement.

Tournaments as of April 20 were included in this compilation.

39 appear on one of the Top 100 lists for their respective age group nationwide with eight young ladies in the top 20.

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