Benet Academy, Whitney Young 1-2 Atop 12th Grade Nationals, Max Zinski Wins 2014 K-12 Blitz Championship

By the slimmest of margins, one-half of one point, Lisle-based Benet Academy won the USCF National Grade 12 Championships in Orlando, FL at the competition completed December 14.

Benet's Max Zinski and Nate Kranjc both contributed 5.0/7 scores as they both tied for 5th place in the 66-player section. Grant Zozeny contributed a critical 4.0 score to round out the team result.

Whitney Young's Jimi Akintonde also participated in the 7-way tie for fifth place with his own 5.0 result. Oliver Natarajan chimed in with 4.5 -- good for a 12th place tie -- and Linden Kerr added 4.0 to the team tally.

All totalled, nine Illinois entrants placed in the top 10 of the main event's 13 sections. Over 1500 players competed in the three day event.

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Illinois Chess Loses Strong Supporter; Jim Warren, 81

James E. Warren of Lombard, Illinois, died earlier today, December 12, 2014, at the age of 81. 

Jim's contribution to Illinois chess as a player, organizer, patron, and volunteer is truly unparalleled.  He is survived by his wife Helen, a co-founder of the Illinois Chess Association.

For more than three decades, Jim worked for Western Electric (later AT&T Technologies, the forerunner of today's Alcatel-Lucent) until a 1989 heart attack forced him to take an early retirement.

Playing in the Chicago Industrial Chess League a couple years after its founding in 1957, Jim was the CICL's first Expert player at a time when most teams were happy to have one Class A player on their team.

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CALL FOR BIDS: 2016 IL K-8 Championships

The Illinois Chess Association is now accepting bids for the 2016 Illinois K-8 Chess Championships.

Suggested dates are March 12 and 13, 2016. Preference will be given to bidders with an upstate location.

Bid deadline is now February 1.

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GM Avrukh Claims '14 Greater Midwest Class Championship

Third time is a charm: Illinois' newest grandmaster, GM Boris Avrukh has finally earned an outright championship in an American event. With his fifth-round victory over GM Nikola Mitkov, Avrukh secured the lone 4.5 tally atop of field of 35 entrants in a combined Masters and Experts section of the Greater Midwest Class.

Earlier Avrukh had drawn GM Vlad Georgiev in the second round denying him a perfect score. Avrukh's provisional USCF rating has now eclipsed 2700. In three events since moving to Illinois from Israel, Avrukh has 12 wins, three draws and zero losses.

GM Georgiev shared runner-up status with FM Alexander Velikanov of Wisconsin, both with 4.0 results.  A five-way tie for fourth place at 3.5 featured GM Mitkov, New York's William Fisher -- a FIDE Master and the 11th-rated Under 21 year old in the US, and Illinois stalwarts IM Florin Felecan, Zach Kasiurak and Jacob Furfine.

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Alex Bian, Hanson Hao Achieve USCF Milestones; Illinois Youth in USCF Top 100 as of November 2014

A pair of Illinois teenagers earned new USCF classifications as of the November official ratings.

Newly-minted USCF Master Alex Bian, age 14, cracked the 2200-mark with a 43-point bump.

13-year old Hanson Hao finally earned his USCF Expert stripes with a 53-point jump.

Congratulations to both Alex and Hanson!

Age eventually catches up with all of us and for USCF Master Jonathan Kogan, a regular participant of these top 100 lists for years, turning 19 graduates Jonathan from these compilations. Jonathan had ranked 11th among US 18-year olds prior to his latest birthday. He continues in the top 100 list for American youth Under 21, with a 2265 USCF rating.

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FM Zin Nabs '14 IL Class; Akintonde Wins Class A; Baumann Family Posts Three Perfect Scores

A fourth-round draw with FM Eric Rosen secured the 2014 Illinois Class championship for FM Aung Zin. The long-time Illinois registrant had won his three prior games at the event held November 23 in Lisle, IL.

For FIDE puproses, Zin is a Myanmar registrant, earning his FIDE Master title in 1995. He ranks in the top 20 of players from his native country. Zin was the co-runner up at the 2013 Illinois Class won by GM Nikola Mitkov.

Rosen had previously drawn GM Dmitry Gurevich, compiling a 3.0/4 result and tying with Gurevich as runners-up.

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Call for 2015 USCF Delegates


The ICA is calling for delegates to the 2015 USCF Annual Business Meeting, taking place August 8-9, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ.

If you wish to serve, please submit your application to Carl Dolson, ICA president, no later than November 30, 2014. His email address can be found on the "contact us" tab of this site.

Article VII: Selection of USCF Voting Members

The Executive Board shall select the required number of delegates and alternates to represent Illinois as voting members of the USCF. 

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300 Compete at 2014 All-Grade in West Chicago

Peoria's Andrew Fei has added Illinois Champion to his chess resume sweeping all four rounds to claim the Grades 9-12 Championship of the 2014 All-Grade.

In the third round, Fei beat Dunlap High School teammate Yiliang Li. Yiliang had defeated Trevor Huang in the first round with both Yiliang and Trevor tying for second with 3.0/4 postings.

With Maxwell Jong contributing his 2.5 score to the tallies from Andrew and Yiliang, Dunlap won the team championship over Hinsdale Central. 

Three schools won a pair of team championships: Indian Trail (Highland Park) won Kindergarten and First Grade, Wheaton Christian won Grades 4 and 7, and Highcrest (Wilmette) won Grades 5 and 6.

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Daniels, Do, Liu and Mardov Win Polgar World Open Sections; Earn Invites to 2015 World Youth In Greece

Overcoming competitors from multiple states, Illinois saw four of its natives winning their respective sections at the Susan Polgar World Youth, completed November 2 in Schaumburg.

The event was coordinated by ChessIQ, directed by Sevan Muradian and Vytautas Vitkauskas. Crosstables available here. Over 200 juniors competed in nine sections.

In the Under 14 section, Vincent Do prevailed on tiebreaks amid a six-pack of 4.5/6 scores. Vincent accepted a draw in the final round against Kansas' Joey Kelly, after an exciting endgame with promotion opportunities in both directions. Kelly was the section's highest-rated player entering the event. In their final matches, Jacob Furfine drew and Matthew Stevens won to join the top score group. Tej Rai finished a half-point back in a three-way tie for 7th. 32 players from six states competed in the section.

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Illinois Youth in USCF Top 100 as of October 2014

For the first time since Penny Xu left the national Top 100 lists, Illinois has a female junior rated above 1900, thanks to Miranda Liu. At 13, Miranda is already among the top two dozen American females under Age 16 and the fifth-ranked 13-year old girl in the US.

Re-entering the ranks of the national Top 100 lists this month were 6-year old Alex Zhao and 10-year old Aiden Carey.

Posting the highest rating enhancements from the September to October lists were seven-year olds Arthur Xu (141) and Vrishank Ramnath (116). Also showing strong improvements were Miranda Liu (76), George Li (72), Edward Zhang (71), Stefan Musikic (64), and Rishi Narayanan (57).

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