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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Skinner North Wins K-2, 3-4 at May YCFC / CCF Tournament; Harry Heller Wins Advanced; 234 Enjoy Nobel Hospitality

 

The Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago wrapped up its six event season with a 234 player tournament May 20 at Alfred Nobel Elementary on Chicago's north side. There were four Novice sections and an Advanced with a rich array of trophies awarded.

Harry Heller was once again a perfect five-for-five to take clear first place in the Advanced. Harry was also perfect in the prior YCFC event in April -- but lost out on the first place trophy due to tiebreaks -- to his younger brother of all people!

Skinner North managed to win two of the Novice section team trophies: K-2 and 3-4 with Lenart (5-6) and host Nobel (7-8) winning the other two.

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Land of Lincoln Wins 11 Individual and Three Team Awards in K-12 Championship Section at 2017 SuperNationals VI

 

In the K-12 Championship division, the very best section of SuperNationals VI concluded May 14, Illinois won 11 individual trophies and three team awards.

Alex Bian, Matthew Stevens and Marissa Li all posted 5.0's, tying for 18th place. Alex received the 19th place trophy while Matthew and Marissa nabbed "tied for 25th" hardware.

Whitney Young (Chicago) earned the 14th place team trophy while New Trier (Winnetka) nabbed 15th place and Naperville North earned 17th.

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