Warren Junior Scholars and Rising Stars Enjoy Day of GM Training, Blitz, Bughouse, Awards... and Upscale Pizza


Approximately 75 ICA Warren Junior Scholars and Rising Stars enjoyed a spectacular day of training, competition, camardarie and recognition March 4.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of WJS Director Scott Daniels and event host Jeff DiOrio of Naperville North High School, the event represented the culmination of many months of activity to bring together the premier chess youth of Illinois with top-notch trainers.

The Scholars and Stars were also provided commemorative plaques memorializing their inclusion in an elite class for the 2016 - 2017 school year.

GM's Dmitry Gurevich and Mesgan Amanov, along with brothers Gauri and Arjun Manoj captivated four classrooms of engaged chess enthusiasts for several hours.

Following lunch -- and more training -- the participants, along with several parents and Naperville North chess team members, competed in a ten-round blitz tournament directed by Bill Buklis.

A three-way tie saw Scholars Aydin Turgut, Rishi Narayanan and Anshul Adve all compile 8.5/10 results, with Aydin earning the top trophy on tiebreaks.

Jason Daniels (8.0) won the Under 2200 award while Ed Zhang (7.5) was the high scorer for Under 2000's.

Adam Wallach (6.5) had the best result for U1800's and Rising Star Roger Li (6.0) posted the high score for U1600's.

Star David Chen (4.0) had the superior result for the 16 players in the event rated under 1400.

All of the top Under winners -- and the top three overall -- received sparkling blue trophies.

After a rousing bughouse competition officiated by Coach DiOrio, it was time for dinner and awards.

No Little Ceasar's at this swanky affair: Scholars, Stars and their families enjoyed the gourmet stylings of Lou Malnati's, a bounty of salads, chicken skewers and grilled vegetables from Just Kabobs.

While the collective banqueteers enjoyed their last morsels of catered cuisine, Director Daniels took to the ceremonial podium. Daniels thanked Coach DiOrio for his hospitality and the Walter Mander Foundation -- and the Stevens family -- for a continuing committment to the WJS program, particularly in relation to the Denker, Barber and Girls National Invitationals. Matthew Stevens -- along with many Whitney Young teammates -- were recognized during the evening -- but perhaps it is not said enough how much the Stevens family support through the Mander Foundation has meant to the Illinois chess community.

After some off-the-cuff perspectives from the ICA President, Daniels went on to recognize all the Stars and Scholars with stylish, personally-engraved plaques, a testiment to the hard work it took to earn placement into the program.

Grandmaster training does not come cheaply, but it is hoped that the ICA can continue to provide engaging training opportunities to its community while recognizing those who have persevered through competition -- and to some degree augment the support from the parents who have helped Illinois youth progress in chess -- and in life.

If attendees -- or others -- have feedback on the event, please feel free to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Director Daniels at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PS -- more photos will be added soon!