What is the Warren Junior Program?

GM Mesgen Amanov analyzes games with ICA Warren Scholars

The Warren Program was founded over 30 years ago by former ICA President Helen Warren.

The mission of the Warren Junior Scholar Program is to discover and develop the highest-potential youth chess players in Illinois, in order to be competitive on a national and international stage.

Players chosen for the Warren program have innate talent, and the intensive mentoring provided by the program gives them opportunity and reason to work hard. Through in-depth study and competition in chess, students acquire skills and habits that prepare them to succeed in many fields as adults, including high-level analytical thinking and problem-solving skills, discipline, perseverance, responsible decision-making and the ability to overcome setbacks and learn from mistakes.

In 2015, the Warren Junior Rising Stars platform was added as a talent developmental pool to identify and prepare youth players who with some nuturing may matriculate into the Scholar Program.

The current Warren Junior Program Committee consists of the following individuals:

  • Sevan A. Muradian - Program Director
  • Carl Dolson - ICA President (Executive Board Liaison)
  • Paul Carey
  • Charles Craigmile
  • IM Florin Felecan
  • Kris Harihara
  • NM Pete Karagianis
  • Badri Mangalam
  • Kevin Taylor
  • Vito Vitkauskas



Future Goals

In addition to providing adequate funding for all current activities, the program hopes to provide future funding for two initiatives:

  • Establish a series of invitational events for Warren Scholars with a prize of travel to a top-level national or international competition.
  • Create a fund to provide support for school chess clubs in underserved areas.


Activity Overview

Our year-round activities include:

Recognition: Players who qualify as Warren Scholars are presented with awards at the annual elementary and high school state chess championships, and their school principals are notified of their accomplishment.

Matching funds for private instruction:  When funds are available, Warren Scholars who indicate they have financial need are offered matching grants for private instruction with top-level masters and grandmasters.  These awards pay half the cost of 12 hours of private instruction.

GM Dmitry Gurevich gives a lesson to ICA Warren Junior ScholarsSubsidized Group Seminars:  About twice a year, Warren Scholars are invited to participate in group workshops with top-level masters and grandmasters.  These groups provide opportunity for intensive study and learning, and often have the feel of a graduate school seminar.  In addition, they foster a sense of community among the players, and serve to motivate them to work harder.  Past instructors have included GMs Mesgen Amanov, Dmitry Gurevich, Gregory Kaidanov, Nikola Mitkov, Alex Shabalov, Yury Shulman, and Alex Yermolinsky, and IM Jan van de Mortel.  Click here for a short YouTube video of a Warren Scholar seminar.

Chess Camp Scholarships:  For the second year in a row, the program is partnering with Yury Shulman's International Chess School to offer partial scholarships for 15 Warren Scholars to had attend the school's summer chess camp, whose instructors included some of the top chess players and teachers in the country. 

James PaveseAdele PadgettHigh School Denker Qualifier Championship:  The Warren Program provides all support and funding for the state Denker qualifier tournament, whose winner represents Illinois at the National Denker Tournament of State High School Champions, held each summer.  The winner receives a $500 travel stipend to attend the national tournament, as well as $250 towards chess lessons.  The runner-up receives $125 towards chess lessons.

Girls’ Invitational Championship:  For the second year in a row, the Warren Program has provided all support and funding for a girls invitational championship event.  The winner receives a $500 stipend to attend a girls national tournament, as well as $250 towards chess lessons. The runner-up receives $125 towards chess lessons.

ICA Warren Scholar tent at Taste of ChicagoCommunity Outreach:  For the last four years, the ICA Warren Scholars have been invited to host a tent at the Taste of Chicago, where they offer informal instruction and drop-in chess play.  Warren Scholar players are available to appear at other community events.  For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..