GM Perspective: USAT-N -- Battle of the Quarterbacks -- and Queen + Pawn versus Queen endings

The 2017 U.S. Amateur Team North Chess Championship, held February 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Schaumburg, set new records, with 78 teams and over 320 individual participants.

Two teams tied for first: “Fake Moves” (pictured) led by FM Sam Schmakel, and “How to Train Your Sicilian Dragon” with IM Eric Rosen on the first board (pictured with second board Tansel Turgut). 

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"Fake Moves" Edges "How To Train Your Sicilian Dragon" in 2017 USAT North Team; Rosen & Jayaram Are Top Board 1's


 With 4.5/5 scores, Fake Moves and How To Train Your Sicilian Dragon both had their way with the 78-team field at the 2017 US Amateur Team North.

The five round tournament concluded February 19 at the Schaumburg Hyatt with over 320 competing.

How To Train's first board Eric Rosen had a perfect 5.0 score, as did Nice To Mate You's Ashwin Jayaram. Both received Amazon gift cards for their perfecto's -- with Rosen earning the slightly higher tiebreak.

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New ICA Board Conducts First Board Meeting; Peoria's Patrick Cohen Assumes Duties as Downstate Vice-President


After assuming office February 1, the ICA Board held its first telephonic meeting Wednesday, Feb. 8. A quorum was established shortly after 7:30 and while little business was accomplished, board members were able to get acclimated to the procedings and agreed to meet again March 8.

Metro Vice President Kevin Taylor has asked that the boad undertake a SWOT assessment -- looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relating to the 55-year old 501 (c) (3) as the Illinois affiliate to US Chess.  The board is being tasked to complete a survey addressing these ideas when prepared by President Bill Feldman.

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Four Tie at Howard Cohen Memorial

22 players turned out on Saturday February 11, 2017 to help honor the memory of Howard Cohen, a long-time Illinois chess player who passed away last April at the age of 62. 
My brother Howard would have been 63 on February 8, so with the help of the Glenwood Chess Club I put on a tournament to honor his memory. 
All of the participants went away with a doorprize of one or more of Howard's books or pamphlets. 

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102 Illinois Players Up Their Ratings 100+ from December; Three Are From the Same Family (Any Guesses Who?)


A whopping 102 players achieved rating enhancements of 100 rating points or more as of the January 2017 official USCF ratings!  Folks, that's one for every county in the state (not that rated chess is played in every Illinois county -- although that would be my dream for 2017!)

At the top of the list was Samuel Langdon whose rating bump was 296 -- playing in his fourth Kumbaya event.

Elijah Berry saw his rating go up 295 points playing in the St. John's tournament in November -- too late in the month to be included in the December official ratings. 

All totalled, 23 players had ratings growth of 200 or more as of January 1, 2017.

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