There is a lot going on in the world of chess. For starters, as the world gets set to battle between youth and experience at the World Championship, the next wave of youth is getting ready for the battle down the road as Wei Yi becomes the youngest person to ever become a grandmaster. The 51st National Challengers Chess Championship 2013 in India had IM Thejkumar and IM Ashwin Jayaram tied for first. Cercle d'Echecs de Monte-Carlo won the Women's Section of the European Club Cup which is her fifth title for this tournament. After starting in Bastia, the 17th Corsica Masters moved on to Aiacciu, and in the end GM Ivan Saric won. IM Jahongir Vakhidov not only won the 3rd Central Asia Cup but also achieved a GM norm. Over in St. Louis, IM Kayden Troff tied for first at the SPICE Cup Open and achieved his second GM norm. GM Alexey Dreev won the Indonesian Open Chess Championship 2013, and Fabiano Caruana secured victory in Bucharest at the 7th edition of Kings Tournament.
Sam Schmakel, Chicago’s top youth player, added to his long string of national championships on the weekend, winning a fifth individual national title and leading the chess team from Whitney Young Magnet High School to three other national first place awards. The event, USCF’s National Scholastic K-12 Championships, was held Friday through Sunday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Schmakel won the 12th grade national championship, the clear winner with 6.5 out of a possible seven wins. He previously won the national championship in 2nd grade (2003), 9th grade (2010), and 10th grade (2011) and was co-champion in 11th grade (2012).
The Romans played in the St. John's Scholastic Chess Tournament last Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Danny took First Place with a perfect 5-0 score in the Upper Primary Section. In the final round he had to overcome an opponent who kept making constant and repeated draw offers and would put captured pieces back on the board. Danny's picked up 229 rating points.
Mark Coleman edged out Julio Alejandro Lara on a tiebreak to take first place in the 15-and-up section of the 21st annual Chicago Latino Chess Championship, held Nov. 30 at Rudy Lozano Branch Library in Pilsen.
Coleman and Lara both went into the fifth round of the event with scores of 3.5/4 and won their last-round games, but it was Coleman’s victory over top-rated Expert Joe Fennessey of Marist High School, who’d entered the round with a perfect score, that clinched his tournament win.
While Grandmasters Yury Shulman and Josh Friedel shared the championship of the first ever Greater Midwest Class, it was an occasion of personal bests for many Illinois youth players.
Sam Schmakel and David Peng both finished in a seven-way tie for fourth. Schmakel bolstered his rating to a personal best 2389, losing only to Shulman while drawing Friedel. 10-year old Peng upped his rating to 2174. His only loss came at the hands of Wisconsin master Erik Santarius.
The three-day, six-round tournament concluded December 1 in Rosemont, IL with 105 players competing in the main event.
Juniors Aydin Turgut and Daniel Bronfeyn smashed the 2000-barrier for the first time, with Turgut unofficially becoming the highest-rated nine year old in the US.
While Massachusetts may be the only state with two top-rated players in their respective age group, Illinois is one of only four states with three among the top two.
Thanks to Aydin Turgut (age 9), David Peng (age 10) and Adarsh Jayakumar (age 18), all ranked second in their particular age classification, the Land of Lincoln joins New York, California and Texas with that distinction this month.
New class levels were achieved at the Midwest Class by Joe Fennessey (Expert), Andrew Fei (Class A), and Stefan Musikic (Class B). Jason Daniels also achieved Class A status due to his second category titling at the 2013 Hobbit Classic.
A huge walk up registration saw 99 compete in six sections at the 2013 Illinois Class. The ICA-sponsored event was held November 24 at the Lisle Hilton. The four-round event also represented the tenth and final stop on the 2013 Illinois Chess Tour.
With a fourth-round draw over Gopal Menon, GM Nikola Mitkov claimed the championship in the combined Masters/Expert section. Menon shared second place with Aung Zin and Nathan Kranjc, all posting 3.0/4 scores.
In the Reserve, Gama De Luna scored a perfect 4.0/4 in only his second USCF-rated tournament. In the Booster, the host Aurora Naperville Chess Club's (ANCC's) Matthias Guillet also ran the table 4.0/4 while competing in his first rated event. Matthias recently returned to chess after a multi-decade absence.
Aaron Maney has been practicing his chess lately and it shows. Maney defeated experts in back-to-back rounds to earn a stake of first place at The Other Tal Memorial, held Nov. 9 in DeKalb.
Jon Winick, Vincent Do and Chelsea Harper joined Maney with 3.0/4 scores. Winick's fourth-round victory deprived Maney of a perfect score. Still, Aaron, playing in his sixth tournament this fall after a three year absence from rated play, raised his USCF rating over 100 points to 1830.
Overall, 38 players battled it out in four sections of dual time-controlled chess (with a few extra games thrown in). USCF Crosstables.
Neal Suwe’s job description has changed. Instead of teaching and mentoring and overseeing his kids at tournaments, as he’s done for most of his 20 years as chess coach at Kelly High School, he now spends his time trying to raise money through candy sales and skating parties. His chess players have to help. He told them recently that being in a Chicago Public School is sometimes like being in a Third World country and that to sustain the team they’d have to raise the funds themselves. But raising money in an urban, low-income school is easier said than done, says Suwe, and many of his efforts fail. “I feel like Ralph Kramden with his get-rich-quick schemes that never pan out. I am one CPS chess coach who sees the writing on the wall that I may soon have to give it up. I need a lifeline."
If Suwe’s team folds, it will be but the latest casualty of a high school program that has shrunk from more than 40 teams in 1997 to fewer than a dozen today.