GM Belous Wins '16 Chicago Open; Li Earns FIDE Norm

With a ninth-round draw, Russian Grandmaster Vlad Belous secured the 2016 Chicago Open and the first place award of $10,000 -- plus $300 for a clear first score. This was Belous' fourth regularly-rated US Chess event, all since March, and all but one saw him tie for first or win the event outright.

His 7.5/9 score was a half-point better than the tallies from a three-pack of GM's: Varuz Akobian (US-registered), Vasif Durarbayli (Azerbazin) and Wenjun Ju (China). Each of the trio collected just under $3000.

Three Illinois-based players posted 5.0's including GM Boris Avrukh, FM Sam Schmakel and IMSA's George Li. Li earned his first FIDE-norm from the event.

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Illinois Chess Contributors To Be Recognized By US Chess

Four long-time contributors to Illinois chess will be recognized by US Chess during a special luncheon held in conjunction with the 2016 US Open. This year's awards will be presented Saturday, August 6 in Indianapolis. 

Former ICA President Carl Dolson has been tabbed for Outstanding Career Achievement.

David and Sheila Heiser of Renaissance Knights will receive the Special Services Award.

The late Sevan Muradian will be acknowledged with a Tournament Director Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congratulations to all recipients.

Illinois Chess Fixture Howard Cohen Passes Away


Long-time Illinois chess stalwart Howard Cohen has passed away.

A memorial service was held at Congregation Emanuel, 5959 N Sheridan Road in Chicago followed by a visitation. A visitation will also be conducted at Howard's sister's residence on Sunday, May 1 from 5pm to 8pm.

Howard's chess history, largely as a Class A player, spanned the entirety of the US Chess MSA compilation dating back to late 1991 -- but clearly he'd been playing formal chess for many years before that. In three monthly rating supplements he actually achieved Expert status with a peak rating of 2026 in November of 1996.

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State's GM Count Will Rise to Nine With Arrival of Texas Pair


Grandmasters Nadezhda Kosintseva and Leonid Kritz will soon augment an impressive lineup of grandmasters who call the Land of Lincoln home. The pair will join the likes of Gurevich, Shulman, Avrukh, Mitkov, Georgiev, Goldin, and Amanov, making Illinois one of the most popular home states for those with the prestigious title.

Recent graduates from the University of Texas at Dallas, Nadezhda and Leonid are relocating to the Chicago area next month with their two-year old daughter.

Nadezhda, 31, is the second female chess player in the US (along with Irina Krush) to hold a Grandmaster title. Her current FIDE rating is the highest among all female chess players in the US.

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Chess Without Borders Honored By Points of Light


Barrington-based Chess Without Borders (CWB) has been honored by the Points of Light (POL) organization. The "service-minded" chess-education philanthropy was honored as the POL Daily recipient of April 13.

The Points of Light has recognized more than 5,000 organizations since the famous George Bush (Sr.) pronouncement of a societal need for volunteerism. The awards were initiated in November of 1989 with some the recognized volunteer initiatives dating back to 1900. CWB is recipient number 5717.

POL's posted profile recognizes the rich history borne out of Rishi Sethi's efforts at starting a chess club at an elementary school when he was nine-years old. Rishi is now a successful data analyst in New York City.

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