Who Wants to Play a Master? Peoria Open Turns 50!

The Greater Peoria Chess Federation is doing it up big for the Golden Anniversary of their signature event: The Peoria Open. The third stop on the ICA's Illinois Chess Tour will feature a two-day extravaganza at the Grand Hotel April 26 and 27.

Restricting the Reserve Section to Under 1400, the event promises most Open players are likely to get a shot at playing at least one USCF master.

Collegiate Final Four Illini Club participants Eric Rosen, Michael Auger and Akshay Indusekar have all pre-registered. 

Pete Karagianis and Tianlu Peng -- co-champions of the recent David Mote Memorial, the second 2014 tour event, are also signed up.

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Franklin Prevails at Chess IQ, Status of Center A Mystery

Expert David Franklin won all four rounds in Chess IQ's April Game/60 event held April 19. 36 competed in the Open section with junior Ricky Wang and Wisconsin's Avinash Rajendra finishing one-half point back.

Raul Aillon, Daniel Bronfeyn and Douglas Middleton tied for fourth with 3.0/4 tallies. Seven players tied for seventh place with 2.5/4's. 

With a cryptic post on the Chicago Area Chess Facebook account, Center Director Sevan Muradian has evoked a rash of responses to his posting: "Tables cleared out, walls mostly empty now... just the TV's to take down now.... after three and a half years, priorities had to be set....."

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Illinois Youth in USCF Top 100 -- April 2014

Age is just a number. Right?

Chess is one of those fascinating activities which, with a modicum of determined study, children can compete on a level playing field with adults.

And then there is another level of ability where the youngster exceeds the average adult’s capabilities and keeps on going.

Illinois is honored to host two remarkable juniors at this time whom at age 10, are not only the nation’s second-rated player of their respective age and gender, but are also the top-rated players in the state aged 16 or younger. 

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2014 Warren Scholars Class Announced

The 2014 Class of Warren Junior Chess Scholars has been announced with 48 qualifiers, 32 in Grades K-8, 16 in High School.

Six are female, nine are from downstate. 15 have never been Scholars before, three are returning to the program after brief absences. 48 participants represents a leap from 37 qualifiers in 2013 and 36 in 2012.

According to Warren Director Pattie Zinski, "The Warren Junior program sponsors  unique training and playing opportunities for its Scholars, including quarterly clinics, subsidies for select summer camps and invitational playing events."

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Ice Harbor Scholastic Offering National Event Look-and-Feel at Midwest Site, May 17-18

Midwest scholastic players -- and teams -- are gearing up for the 2014 Ice Harbor Scholastic Open to be held May 17 and 18. Competitors from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois are already registering.

Hosted at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, this scholastic chess tournament is inspired by national tournament facilities and amenities. For the geographically-challenged, Dubuque is just over the Mississippi River from Illinois, in far-eastern Iowa, an easy drive from Bloomington-Normal, Peoria or Chicago.

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Marissa Li Wins U12 at 2014 All-Girls Nationals

Marissa Li has won her Under 12 section of the 2014 National All-Girls competition completed today in Northbrook, IL.

Achieving the lone 5.5/6 score in the 74-player section, Marissa entered the event having boosted her USCF-rating nearly 400-points since competing in the 2013 All-Girls and over 800-points since the 2012 All-Girls.

By virtue of her section championship, Marissa qualifies to represent the USA at the World Youth Championships to be held in South Africa late in the year.

In the Under 14 section, Long Grove's Miranda Liu took home the third place award on tiebreaks, tying for second place with 5.0/6.

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Niles North Top U1600 Team at HS Nationals; 2nd in U1200

Niles North High School claimed the Under 1600 Championship at the USCF Nationals concluded April 6 in San Diego. The team tied with a Miami high school with 18.0 points, but had the higher tiebreak.

The Skokie-based high school just missed another championship by half a point, placing second in the Under 1200 section behind a Virginia team.

Lisle-based Benet Academy placed fifth in the U1200, with Oak Lawn's Richard's High School taking tenth place.

In the Under 800 section, Richards placed second on tiebreaks, tying with the champions from Texas. 

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Schmakel Takes 2nd at '14 High School Nationals in San Diego; Richards' Cabel Wins U1600; Marshall's Blankenship Tops U800

942 players competed at the 2014 National High School Championship with several Illinois high schoolers coming home with hardware -- including two outright champions. Two Illinois players tied for second in their respective sections, two others tied for third.

The seven-round competition was conducted in San Diego, CA April 4-6. There were five K-12 sections divided by USCF rating, including 338 in the Open Section.

In the Open, Whitney Young's Sam Schmakel suffered a third-round loss to state-mate Nathan Kranjc, but won the rest of his matches to finish second with the top tiebreak at 6.0/7.

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Girls Invade Northbrook For '14 Nationals

Although relocated from downtown Chicago, the 2014 National All-Girls Championship returns to Illinois this week.

The six round, six section event convenes Friday, April 11 at the Crown Plaza Hotel Northbrook. In addition to earning a national title, winners of each section qualify for the 2014 World Youth Championships, to be held in South Africa.

The Under 20 section has been eliminated but organizer David Heiser reports more than 300 pre-registrations have been received in U18 through U8 classifications. Heiser promises this will be the fourth year in a row of increasing participation. The 2013 All-Girls fielded 280 players with more than three-quarters of the competitors registered from outside of Illinois.

The tournament is a joint production of the Kasparov Chess Foundation in association with the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation and the US Chess Federation. 

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Illini Foursome Competes in NYC 2014 Collegiate Final Four; Chess IQ Hosts GM Analysis Free to Public

Basketball isn't the only activity featuring a collegiate final four this weekend. For the second year in a row, four University of Illinois undergrads will compete in the President's Cup. This year's event is being hosted at the New York Athletic Club -- yes, the same venue where they annually announce the football Heisman award.

In honor of the event, ChessIQ in Skokie is fielding its own team of chess pundits to analyze the games for the benefit of the public. Organizer Sevan Muradian is offering free admission on a first come, first served basis.

The analysis lineup kicks off with GM Yury Shulman at 10am Saturday (4/5). Shulman has worked with the Illini squad which has reached out to the public for underwriting, raising 90% of its $9500 goal at last report.

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