Warren Jr Scholars at Taste of Chicago
- Written by Andrea Rosen
Some of the state's top youth chess players, used to spending their weekends inside hotel basements, got a chance to take their chessboards outside on Saturday and get some sunshine. For the fourth year in a row, the ICA's Warren Junior Scholars were invited to participate in Taste of Chicago, the city's biggest summer festival. About a dozen of the Warren Scholars--the state's top nationally ranked chess players age 7 to 18--and some of the state's other top-rated kids, came out to offer Taste visitors a sample of the world's oldest and most-loved game.
Under a tent within the festival's Family Village area, they served up chess instruction and the opportunity to play. A steady crowd streamed to the tent all day. Many visitors sat down to play, but some were content just observing the impressive Warren Scholars as they demonstrated their speed and skill at the game. “It's so nice to see kids who can focus and concentrate,” commented one visitor.
The Warren Scholars not only got to play their favorite game, they also got to partake of a wider variety of food than the typical fare at weekend chess tournaments. Some of the favorites: Anything with barbecue, thai pot stickers, roasted corn on the cob, and ice cream.
Taking part in the Taste was an all-star roster of players, including 1st grade national champion Vincent Do of Rockford, K3 state champion Zhaozhi Li of Wilmette, and other top-ranked elementary players Conrad Oberhaus, Roshan Shankar, Matthew Stevens, James Wei, and Jack Xiao, High school participants included recently graduated Hinsdale South senior James Pavese, and members of the Niles North chess team who recently placed fourth in the 2009 national championships: Sagaar Gupta, Ilan Meerovich, Eric Rosen, and Fedya Titov.