DBG17It took significant contributions from all three of Illinois' representatives as the state posted the top combined score at the 2017 Denker, Barber and National Girls Invitationals completed August 2 in Virginia.

George Li drew Praveen Balakrishan in the final round with both players winding up in a four-way tie for the championship with 5.0/6.

Edward Song of Michigan and Bryce Tiglon of Washington needed sixth-round victories to join the elite score group.

Aydin Turgut also drew in the final round of the Barber, finishing in a three-way tie for third place with 4.5/6.

Marissa Li was the lone Illinois victor on the final day, lifting herself into a two-way tie for third place, also with 4.5/6.

And Illinois needed that extra half-point: Marissa's superior score to Washington's Naomi Bashkansky meant Illinois wound up with 14.0 points, a half-point better than Washington's 13.5. Washington won all three of its final round matches to finish strong.

As mentioned, WA's Bryce Tiglon and IL's George Li had identical 5.0 scores in the Denker while WA's Jason Yu and IL's Aydin Turgut had 4.5's in the Barber.

As a team, Texas finished in third place with 12.5, ahead of a three-pack at 12.0: Southern California, Virginia, and Maryland.

Illinois' neighbor to the north (Wisconsin) posted 11.0, while our neighbor to the west (Iowa) posted an 8.5 total. Indiana compiled a 10.5 tally.

27 states entered juniors in all three competitions.

The Denker is the national high school one-entry per state competition while the Barber is a similar competition -- with a shorter history -- for K-8 players. Illinois has sent representatives to the Denker for over 30 years running.

The ICA applauds the trio -- and their coaches and parents -- for bringing home the combined award for perhaps the first time in history (research pending!). A huge debt of gratitude goes to the Walter S Mander Foundation whose sponsorship provided travel and coaching stipends for the Illinois invitees (along with training stipends for the runners up, just in case).

There is no doubt it took tremendous personal sacrifice and family support to put these individuals in a position to achieve their successes, but it is hoped the ICA played some role along the way. The ICA, a 501 (c) (3) dating back to 1961, welcomes financial support -- and sponsorships -- to assist in programs of training for all our up and coming juniors through the Warren Scholars and ICA Rising Stars. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thanks to Richard Li for the photo above. Shown left to right are Marissa Li, Harold WInston of US Chess Trust, George Li and Aydin Turgut.