Bian Wins '17 Junior Open; Gurevich 2nd in US Senior Open

 

Alex Bian trailed his higher-rated Pennsylvania opponent, Grant Xu, 4.5-5.0 heading into the final round of the 2017 US Junior Open, completed July 23 in Northfield, MN.

Observers indicate Alex was down several pawns -- and trailing on time. But king safety is often paramount, and Bian's triumph over Xu gave the Illinois high schooler uncontested first place in the top section of the six-round tournament. 

Xu finished second in the 51-player U21 section, followed by a three-pack of 4.5's. Shreyas Reddy finished in a multi-way tie for sixth place with 4.0.

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7 Illinois Juniors in June '17 US Top 10's; 28 in Top 50's

 

Dimitar Mardov is #2 in the country for players Aged 8 in the US as of the June, 2017 Official US Chess Ratings.

Aren Emrikian is #3 in the nation for players Ages 7 and Under. Ranking #6 are George Li for 17-year olds and Aydin Turgut for 12-year olds.

David Peng is the seventh rated 14-year old in the country. Both Alex Bian (16) and Arthur Xu (10) rank #10 in their respective age group.

Complete top 50 lists from the Illinois perspective are listed below.

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64-day Contest: How Are You at Solving Tactical Puzzles?

 

Chess knowledge is a wonderful thing: understanding strategic principles, the best way to deploy various piece combinations in end games, and how to optimize pawn structures.

But there is no substitute for pattern recognition, the ability to visualize how the pieces might be moved to capture a free piece or even make a checkmate!

There are numerous free websites where players can solve such tactical puzzles including Chess Tempo and the Chess Tactics Server.

As if the inherent reward from doing these puzzles weren't enough, a generous benefactor has offered to sponsor a puzzle contest specifically for Illinois youth (through age 18) this summer.

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26 Illinois Youth In US Top 50 Lists for May 2017

 

An amazing array of 26 Illinois juniors find themselves in the top 50 of their respective age group nationwide as the May 2017 ratings. These ratings reflect tournaments posted through the third week of April which did not yet include SuperNationals VI.

#1 in the lowest age category (7 & Under) is Aren Emrikian with Dimitar Mardov #2 in the Age 8 group. Aydin Turgut (8 in Age 12), David Peng (7 in Age 14), Jacob Furfine (10 in Age 15) and George Li (6 in Age 17) are the other Illinois top ten'ers.

New to this month's lists is Illinois K-1 Champion Anshul Shetty, coming in at #43 in the US for Age 7. The complete list is below:

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C-U Area School Gives "Treasure Chess" Fund to Charity

 

Since the advent of chess lessons, coaches have looked for ways to motivate students.

Champaign-Urbana area coach Rachel Schecter has devised an innovative -- and patent-pending -- approach: translating points earned through chess accomplishments into donations to local non-profits. This idea has been a huge hit with her Montessori school chess club.

She calls it "Treasure Chess" -- and it was the subject of a recent write up by the News Gazette.

(Editor's Caveat: when you click on the link, you may have to view a short ad delivered by the newspaper's site -- it appears to be harmless!)

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