September 2017 Top 100's: Not-So-Terrible Two's!


Despite being shut out in the 11-year old ranks, Illinois posted 55 juniors in the top 100 nationwide as of the September ratings, ages 7 through 18. A couple players may have left but the state, but until they update their US Chess membership, we'll still claim them as native sons!

Three Illinois juniors rank number two in their respective age groups, Aren Emrikian (age 7 & under), Dimitar Mardov (age 9) and David Peng (age 14).

Yuvraj Chennareddy had an amazing summer, raising his rating to 1523 as a 7-year old, ranking 14th in the US now.

For the first time in recent memory, Illinois has two players in the top 10 of the same age group with George Li and Alex Bian rated 6th and 7th among US 17-year olds.

The complete September list is posted below. Events submitted prior to August 16 were included in these results.

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2017 Illinois Open Hits FIDE October Ratings


Those asking organizers when the Illinois Open will be rated by FIDE now have their answer! is the magic link providing the complete roster of those achieving FIDE differentials.

Marissa Li holds the distinction of the highest FIDE-rating improvement from the event with 85.6. Marissa won three of her five ratable games, climbing to 2110.

Jack Curcio grew his FIDE rating 57.6 points to 2161 while Wisconsin's Ritika Pandey bumped hers 50.0 points to 1923.

Five Illinois juniors, Ricky Wang, Akhil Kalghatgi, Roger Li, Edward Zhang and Natalie Wisniowski, all enhanced their FIDE rating more than 40 points.

All totalled 26 players enhanced their FIDE ratings ten points or more from the 2017 Illinois Open which was completed Septmember 4. Despite the early in the month submission to US Chess who then submits to FIDE, the event is categorized with "October" results.




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Arthur Xu, Family, Reflect on World U10 Silver


At the recent 2017 World Youth in Brazil, Oak Park's Arthur Xu earned the silver medal in the Under 10 competition. With the World Cadets beginning this week, also in South America, Arthur and his supportive family were kind enough to share thoughts with the ICA website.


Arthur became the USA's U10 Official Representative ("OR") when Eric Li became the "Personal Rights" designee from winning a Gold medal in the Pan America Youth in July. As a result of this designation, Arthur received training from GM John Fedorowicz as assigned by US Chess.

Arthur's thoughts on the event:  Before I went to Brazil I thought I could have a really good chance to get Top Three.

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Election Season Begins For At-Large Board Members To ICA


The multi-month election cycle regarding the five at-large ICA board members has kicked off. 

Nominations should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including a statement of interest and 10 declarations of support from current ICA members aged 19 and older.

If interested in an appointment to an open seat between the present time and December 31, 2017, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nominations should be submitted by Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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ICA Hosts Organizer Workshop With Tim Just (and Friends)


In conjuction with the 2017 Illinois Open held at the Crowne Plaza in Northbrook, the Illinois Chess Association hosted an underpublized "organizer's workshop" with a trio of experienced organizers in attendance: Tim Just, Wayne Clark and Glenn Panner. The one-hour session was held September 2.

Relative organizing newcomer John Porter is making a name for himself with Chicago Chess Iniative and the recent Chicago Cup. Mr. Porter attended the workshop and submitted this to the ICA website:

Organizing chess events is a science!

While the 2017 ILLINOIS OPEN was a great success with over 200 players participating for cash and prizes, it was also a great tournament to learn from some of the best people related to organizing chess events!

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GMs Georgiev and Mitkov Split $2400 at 2017 IL Open


With a gentleman's draw in the final round, GM Vladimir Georgiev and GM Nikola Mitkov became co-champions of the 2017 Illinois Open, both with 5.5/6 tallies.

GM Georgiev had also been co-champion in 2016 with an outright championship in 2014, the first time it was held in Northbrook. For GM Mitkov, it represented the fourth time he has tied for the championship.

For the first time since 2003, the event drew over 200 players. The 214 entries represented a 15% increase over the 186 who played in the 2015 and 2016 events. The Labor Day weekend event concluded September 4 at the Crowne Plaza Northbrook.

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First IL High School Chess Champion DeFotis Passes Away


Back in the 1960's, long before the IHSA team format and before the upsurge in chess popularity from Bobby Fischer, there was something called the Illinois High School Students Chess Championship.

Greg DeFotis was the very first champion of that event in 1966.

Word has reached the ICA that Mr. DeFotis has passed away at the age of 65. He died September 5. Funeral services were held at Yurs Funeral Home in St. Charles on September 9 followed by a private burial service.

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Illinois' Emrikian is World U8 Champ; Xu Scores U10 Silver


Aren Emrikian 1 1 700x350By virtue of his 11th round victory against fellow-American Abhi Mishra, Aren Emrikian has won the 2017 World Cadet Under 8 competition!  Aren finished with 9.0/11.

Playing the black colors, Aren trailed the top-seeded Mishra by a half-point heading into the last round. Aren's victory dropped Mishra into a second place tie at 8.5 with Battulga Tenuunbold of Mongolia who scored a mild upset in Round 11.

In the U10 section, Arthur Xu drew his 11th round match, compiling an 8.5 tally and the Silver Medal for clear second!

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FM Sam Schmakel, WIM Viktorija Ni Enter '17 Illinois Open; Mid-Level Entry Fee Remains Available for $10,000 Event; Author Tim Just to Present Free Organizer Workshop


With three GM's already signed up, FM Sam Schmakel and Women's International Master Viktorija Ni have thrown their hats into the ring for the 2017 Ilinois Open, a week and a day away.

The ICA is pleased to see 100 paid entries to date and expects to approximately double the size of the field before the tournament begins September 2 at the Crowne Plaza in Northbrook.

As a special feature, Organizer-Extraordinaire -- and US Chess Rulebook 6th Edition Editor Tim Just has agreed to conduct a free organizer workshop.

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Nearly 70 Play in Inaugural CCI 2017 Chicago Cup


On the 19th and 20th of August 2017 history was made in Chicago, The history I am referring to is the first annual “Chicago Cup” chess tournament. The tournament was held at the luxurious Chicago South Loop hotel, and facilitated by the Chicago Chess Initiative and organized by long-time area player John Porter.

The reason I say historical is two-fold: one, because the southside of Chicago has been a chess desert since the passing of one of our favorite chess organizers and teachers, Tom Fineberg. And two, because it was a FIDE-tournament which means the time controls are set for those rules and that rating system.

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