Denker Qualifier Guidelines
- Written by Andi Rosen
ICA Denker Qualifier Tournament Guidelines
Adopted November 1, 2009
1. The ICA Warren Program will sponsor and organize a Denker qualifying tournament in the spring of each year to determine the state representative to the National High School Denker Tournament of Champions.
2. Date: The tournament will be held at least two weeks after the ICCA individual championships and before April 30. It will not conflict with the high school national spring tournament, and will make every effort not to conflict with ACT, SAT, or AP testing dates.
3. Eligibility: All high school players (grades 9-12) whose peak rating was USCF 2000 and higher between the February supplement of the current year and the prior year , who are current active players (at least 10 regularly rated USCF games in the past year, and/or verification from their high school chess coach that they are active on their current-year high school team) whose home chess federation is the United States, will be invited to play in the qualifying event. Additionally, the highest scorer of the ICCA individual championships, usually held in February, who is not otherwise qualified to play by rating (but who meets the other qualifications), will also be invited. One alternate player, chosen by rating, will also be invited to stand by in the event there is a last-minute cancellation. If there are not at least five players who have peaked at 2000 or above in the past year, the next highest players based on rating will be invited. Additionally, all players must be under the age of 19 on Sept. 1 of the year in which the National Denker tournament will be held, and have been enrolled during the previous spring, the 9th to 12th grade of an Illinois school. Home-schooled Illinois students who meet the age requirements, and have never attended college on a full-time basis prior to June 1 of the year in which the tournament will be held are also eligible. Players must also be current USCF and ICA members at the time of the qualifying tournament.
4. Format: Ideally, the tournament will be a round-robin format, and consist of six players and five rounds over two days. However, there may be some years where there are more than six eligible players. If there are 8 players eligible and able to play, the tournament will ideally be a round-robin format with 7 rounds over 3 days, if this is logistically feasible. While this may require players to miss a day or partial day of school, every effort will be made to minimize the amount of time players will need to miss. If there are 10 players or more, the tournament will be a 5-round SS over two days. Time control will match the National Denker: currently G90 plus 30-second increment. If the tournament results in a tie for first place, the winner will be chosen based on tiebreak rules which will be announced and made available to players at least two weeks prior to the start of the tournament.
5. Notification: The date and location of the qualifying tournament will be announced on the ICA and other relevant websites as early in the fall as possible, along with the rules regarding eligibility. A preliminary list of potential invitees and alternates will also be published, so players who are close to being eligible have ample time to enter tournaments and try to increase their rating in order to qualify. This list will include at least the top 10 high school players, and all high school players rated over 1900.
6. Invitations: Formal invitations shall be provided to all players eligible by rating as soon as possible after the USCF February supplement is released. Letters shall also be sent to the top two alternates by rating, notifying them of their alternate status. Names of the invitees and alternates will also be posted on the ICA and other relevant websites. For the ICCA-seeded player, the invitation will be issued at the conclusion of the tournament. Invitees will be required to accept the invitation by the deadline given in the notice, by submitting a $50 deposit refundable at the completion of the qualifier tournament. The deposit will be returned upon the individual’s playing all tournament games.
7. Prizes: The winner of the qualifying event will receive a $500 minimum participation stipend to attend the national event, with the possibility of more based on available funds if the national tournament is 500 miles or more from Chicago. The stipend will be paid after the player competes in the national event. The winner will also receive $250 towards chess lessons, payable directly to a mutually agreed upon instructor suitable to the player’s level (this would generally be a master or grandmaster), and who is unrelated and does not reside in the same household as the player. Other runner-up prizes, to be announced before the tournament, will also be given based on available funding. If the winner of the qualifying event is unable to attend the national event, the prize will be given to the runner-up. (Runner-up prizes in the past couple of years have been $125 towards chess lessons for the second-place or second and third-place finishers. Trophies have also been given to the top three).
These guidelines were developed by the Illinois Chess Association Warren Junior Scholar Program Advisory Board:
Andi Rosen: Warren Program Director
Bill Brock: Advisory Board member and past ICA president
Chris Merli, Advisory Board member, past ICA president, and chess coach at University Lab High School, Urbana, IL
Grandmaster Yury Shulman, Advisory Board member and director of the Yury Shulman International Chess School and founder of Chess Without Borders; Barrington, IL
Mike Zacate, Advisory Board member, president of the Illinois High School Chess Coaches Association, and past ICA president