A week remains before the 2014 Illinois K-8 Championship kicks off in Schaumburg. Registrations are approaching 600 and organizers indicate 700 entries remains feasible.
The tournament itself will run Saturday, March 15 to Sunday, March 16 with seven rounds of non-elimination competition in four sections (by grade). The time controls vary by section.
Side events will be held Friday evening (3/14) including Blitz, Bughouse and a Puzzle-Solving Competition. On Saturday (3/15), chess players will have the opportunity to face members of the University of Illinois Chess Team which has qualified for the Collegiate Final Four this year.
Registrations for both the main event and the side events can be processed here. A list of current entrants to the main event can be seen here. The formal listing for the event can be found elsewhere on the ICA site.
A field of 25 of Illinois' best and brightest young chess players competed February 28 to March 2 in a trio of invitational tournaments to decide the state's representatives to prestigious national competitions.
The Barber, Denker and Girls Championships will be held preceding the US Open in Orlando in late July. The qualifying event was hosted by Chess IQ in Skokie and was officiated by Sevan Muridian. Crosstables can be found at: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201403020362.0
10-year old David Peng will represent the Land of Lincoln in the pre-high school Barber competition after running the field, 5.0/5 in the Qualifier. George Li was the runner up.
Senior Sam Schmakel needed a tiebreak to earn his invitation to the national Denker for high schoolers, after both he and Max Zinski compiled 3.5/5 tallies.
Not all chess needs to be rated by the US Chess Federation to have dramatic significance.
The Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) hosted its fourth championships February 28 and March 1, crowning individual and team champions in two sections.
Vincent Do of Rockford's Thurgood Marshall Academy and Bloomington Evans Junior High's Rithvik Musuku split the championship of the 7th Grade section, while Nathan Sobery of Normal's Kingsley Junior High won the 8th Grade section. All three players finished with perfect 7.0/7 scores. Impressively, all three are only in the 6th Grade.
If great junior chess players were grown in fields, Illinois' line up of young players could be termed a bumper crop.
Not only does Illinois now host a junior-aged Senior Master, not only is the Prairie State home to the nation's top-rated 9-year old, but the Land of Lincoln has now harvested a remarkable baker's dozen of experts age 18 or younger.
All in, that's 16 juniors rated 2000 or higher. On their heels, an additional dozen juniors are rated 1900 and up.
For the first time since David Peng enjoyed a short spell atop the official ratings, Illinois has a top-rated player in the US.
As previously reported in the Greater Midwest Class write-up, Aydin Turgut is now the highest-rated nine year old in the country!
Aydin earned expert status with a 2063 rating, doing well at the Greater Midwest event as well as earning a share of the championship at Decatur's Anderson Memorial in early December. At the latter event, Aydin shared top honors with Springfield's Tianlu Peng and Bloomington area's Pete Karagianis.
Some highlights from the world of chess include: Grandmaster Rogelio Antonio Jr. who won the National Rapid chess championship at the Philippine Sports Commission dining hall. Saina Salonika won the under-10 title at the World Youth Chess Championship. For the Under 14 year old girl section, Stavroula Tsolakidou from Greece won the World Individual Championships. Polish Grandmaster Radoslaw Wojtaszek took first place at the 37th Christmas Zurich Open.
In December some of the happenings in chess in the U.S. included, in Lubbock, Texas, Webster University won the PanAm Chess Championships. The same championship where the University of Illinois finished in the Final Four. In Las Vegas there was an eight way tie for first at the North American Open.
Ted Oppenheimer, the president of the Oppenheimer Family Foundation and a major contributor to CPS, has joined those calling for a new chess program in the city's schools.
In a letter sent by email on January 23rd to David Vitale, the President of the Board of Education, Oppenheimer offered to help set up a new nonprofit which would work in a partnership with CPS to spearhead a new program. The letter was co-signed by Jerry Neugarten, who heads ICA's Youth Committee. ICA has been advocating a new program for Chicago for four years.
The Oppenheimer Family Foundation, founded in 1933, has been giving grants to Chicago Public School teachers for the past 37 years through its Teacher Incentive Grant (TIG) program. The Foundation has also supported chess programs in a half dozen CPS elementary schools.
For the second year in a row, the chess team from the University of Illinois has excelled at the Pan American Games, beating teams with considerably higher average ratings and proceeding to the President’s Cup (national Final Four) in Manhattan in April. In doing so, the team has once again gained national recognition.
The Illini foursome is comprised of FIDE Master Eric Rosen, National Masters Michael Auger and Leo Xin Luo, and Akshay Indusekar. The team upset Texas Tech-B, Columbia University and Lindenwood A-teams, all with ratings 200 or more points above the Illini. As noted in an article on the USCF website, Illinois’ two consecutive strong performances mean “they can hardly again be termed a ‘dark horse.’” (http://bit.ly/1dq8yJx)
2015 IL K-8: Suggested dates are 3/14-15/2015. Preference will be given to bidders with a downstate location. Suggested format is 4 sections (K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8), with 7 rounds for each section. [corrected for typo on sections. TGS 1/15/13] Time controls: Section K-1 G/30, section 2-3 G/45, sections 3-4 and 6-8 G/60. Early entry fee is usually $30 - $35. Bid deadline February 15. Bids should be sent to Jeff Wiewel,
with a copy to Carl Dolson,
An increasing number of media outlets have added their voices recently to those urging reform of the chess program in Chicago’s public schools. A selection of the public comments follows.
NEW YORK TIMES:
Whitney Young… was the only representative at the [December 2013] K-12 Championships from [Chicago], which is not known as a chess stronghold. More students are enrolled in scholastic chess programs and are sent to tournaments across the country from schools in New York, which sends more teams to competitions than any other city; Miami; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and even Brownsville, Texas. It is unusual for a city as large as Chicago, with 2.7 million people, to have only one school enter a tournament as prestigious as the K-12 Championships. By comparison, Los Alamos, N.M., population 18,000, also sent one school. (Dylan Loeb McClain, December 28, 2013)