Queen of Katwe Hits Chicago and Downstate Screens


To some, Disney is the purveyor of Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Goofy, Bambi and Dumbo, the Lion King and Jungle Book, the underwater adventures of Nemo and the Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty and her USAT North dwarf teammates.

Unlike the imaginary backdrops of Frozen and Fantasia, a just-released Disney vehicle uses real-life Africa as a backdrop. Move over Woody from Toy Story, there's a new sheriff in town and she is the Queen of Katwe.

The two-hour film portrays one young girl's rise from poverty in the slums of Katwa in Uganda. 10-year old Phiona (wasn't Fiona the heroine's name in Shrek?) is introduced to chess by an amazing coach who seeks to provide an activity to the slum children beyond playing soccer in hard dirt fields. After some initial challenges, Phiona takes to the game as she starts to achieve some success, and in return, chess opens up the world to the young teen, providing travel and educational opportunities that would have otherwise been unavailable.

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Eva Harrison Shocks GM Timur Gareev in Blindfold Blitz


IMG 59071Chicago's Eva Harrison, a chess mom and a top Illinois female player in her own right, "shocked" the chess world with an upset of Grandmaster Timur Gareev.

In an attempt at setting the Consecutive Blindfold Blitz record, GM Gareev played 64 opponents September 24, one right after the other for 10 hours, dueling away at a smorgasbord of rapid chess variants.

The fun took place at the Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Coralville, Iowa and was sponsored by the Iowa Chess Association and organized by its President, Eric Vigil (who supplied the picture to the left).

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Egerton Releases Business On The Board (Updated)


Longtime Illinois chess coach Jim Egerton has released his Business on the Board book through Amazon.com. The ebook is available for free download for a limited time and a discounted rate for the print edition is offered.

The book looks at the intersection of business and chess principles.

By the end of the first day of publication, Sept. 19, Egerton reports the book was Amazon's top sellingn Professional Development and Education title and number two in the Business and Money category.

Egerton suggests a featuring of the book in the October edition of Chess Life "should be a big lift".

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Toby Ching and Parker Sorenson Post Strong Months


Toby Ching and Parker Sorenson had the largest ratings bumps of any Illinois players in August.

Toby raised his rating 335 points to 821. Parker upped his rating 317 points.

Toby did very well in the "Oh My's" section of the Berkeley Summer Camp tournament in Tampa Bay, FL at the end of July. Toby came in second place out of 10 participants, with 4.0/5. His only loss was to section winner, Wolfe Hudepohl, a 1200-player from Florida.

Parker tied for first in the U1000 section at the August 14 Knights Quest, going four-for-four. All five of Parker's rated events have been Knights Quest tournaments.

Jack Heller (+251) and Elton Huang (+222) also showed strong gains.

24 others had increases greater than 100 points!

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'14 IL Senior Open Champ Michael Penway Passes Away


The ICA has received word of the passing of Michael Penway from cancer at the age of 54. 

Penway was the 2014 Illinois Senior Open Champion, winning three matches and drawing two. Michael raised his rating to a peak of 1869 at that event, a hefty increase from his 1200-provisional rating in 2003.

He was a frequent participant in the Illinois Open (including 2007-2012 consecutively), the (Tim Just) Winter Open/Reserve, the Chicago Open and Chicago Class, and Wisconsin's Greg Knutson Memorial and Wisconsin Memorial.

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