Youth Committee Undertakes an Ambitious Agenda

by Jerry Neugarten and Eileen Schmakel

The ICA Youth Committee, appointed in December, began meeting in January and is at work on a number of projects intended to spur the growth of youth chess in Illinois. The formation of the committee is described in a December article in these pages by Tom Sprandel (Announcements, "Cooperative Effort Leads to New ICA Committees"). Short bios of the Committee's 28 members appear in the Youth Committee section of this website.

In one of its first meetings, the Youth Committee adopted a mission statement which states, in part: "Every child should have the opportunity to learn and play chess." This grew out of our belief that chess is beneficial for every child, and a concern that chess programs are not available to many kids who could most benefit from them. Much of our work is therefore guided by a focus on inclusiveness.

Developing web resources to foster program development. Our primary focus during our first three months has been on two goals: compiling information to make it easier to start new chess programs, and providing resources to existing programs. Some of this will be done in new sections of this website.

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Local youth players get some press

Check out this article from the Doings Weekly, featuring a local team that played in the recent FIDE World School Team Championships.,burr-ridge-chess-040110-s1.article

NM Rosen Wins Denker, Xu wins Girls Invitational

NM Eric RosenPenny XuPhotos: Betsy Dynako

NM Eric Rosen and Penny Xu both emerged as winners in two prestigious events this weekend, Rosen in the Illinois high school Denker qualifier which wrapped up Monday and Xu in the state girls invitational which ended Sunday. Rosen, a sophomore at Niles North High School in Skokie, will go on to be the Illinois representative in the National Denker Tournament of High School Champions in Irvine, California this summer. Xu, a seventh grader from Champaign, plans to attend both the Kasparov Girls Open in Columbus, Ohio next month and the National Girls Open in Irvine this summer.

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More than 600 Compete at State K8

    More than 600 players from across the state gathered in St. Charles last weekend to play in the State K8 Elementary Chess Championships.  While historically these tournaments often sport multiple ties for first place, this one was unusual in that all four playing sections--grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8-- had one undefeated player who was the clear winner. 
    In the middle school division, 8th-grader Penny (Yue) Xu, of Champaign, who entered the 161-player section as the number 4 seed, put together a string of seven wins that included a fifth round upset against top seed Sam Schmakel, who won the division two years ago as a sixth-grader.  Penny became the first girl in many years to win the section.  She saw her rating climb more than 60 points to 1812, making her the top-rated female under 18 in Illinois.  She’ll be competing this weekend with five other girls in a round robin invitational sponsored by the ICA Warren Junior Scholar program.
    In the 186-player K5 section, competition at the top was particularly tough, with at least nine players boasting a rating of 1400 or better coming into the tournament.  Fifth-grader Bryce McClanahan of Glenview, the number two seed, managed to hold his ground and go 7-0, earning his third state championship title and boosting his rating to an all-time high of 1791.  Bryce won the K1 division in 2006, and the K3 division in 2007.

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Pairings are set for Denker and Girls Invitationals NEW: Updated Results

BREAKING NEWS, March 22, 2010

Congratulations to Eric Rosen, who with 5.5/6 points was the clear winner of the Denker qualifier, and will go on to represent Illinois at the National High School Denker Tournament of Champions in August in Irvine, California.  In second place was last year's representative, Trevor Magness, who finished with 4.5 points after a tough loss in the final round to Evanston High School's Ashok Raife.  Raife, with an official USCF rating of just 1150, earned the wildcard spot at the qualifier by winning the ICCA individual championships on Feb. 6.  Although he was about 850 rating points behind the next lowest rated player, he finished the tournament with three points.  His other wins were over Zach Kasiurak (who had the flu and withdrew after the first round) and Josh Dubin. 


Rosen:       4.5

Magness:   3.5

Raife:         3.0

Auger:        3.0

Wilber:       3.0

Dubin:        2.0

Kasiurak:   0.0


BREAKING NEWS, March 21, 2010:

Congratulations to Penny Xu and Adele Padgett, who tied for first at 3.5 points each at the 2010 Girls Invitational.  Penny came out slightly ahead on tiebreaks, and gets first prize of a $500 travel stipend to a national girls tournament, plust $250 towards chess lessons.  Adele will receive $125 towards chess lessons.  Rachel Ulrich came in third with three points, and Sonya Vohra, Shayna Provine and Victoria Bian had two points each.


Xu:            3.5

Padgett:    3.5

Ulrich:       3.0

Provine:     2.0

Vohra:       2.0

Bian:         1.0

Pairings are set for this weekend’s upcoming 2010 Denker qualifier and Girls Invitational events.  Both events are a round-robin format; the Denker will be 7 rounds and the girls tournament will be five rounds.  The tournaments will be held at the same time and place as the North American Chess Association’s FIDE World Amateur and Masters events, and all kick off Friday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Skokie Holiday Inn, 5300 W. Touhy Avenue.  Rounds will continue Saturday and Sunday at noon and 6:30 p.m., and for the Denker, also Monday at noon and 6:30 p.m.

The Denker qualifier players are Michael Auger, Josh Dubin, Zach Kasiurak, Trevor Magness, Ashok Raife, Eric Rosen and Matt Wilber.  The Girls Invitational players are Victoria Bian, Adele Padgett, Shayna Provine, Rachel Ulrich, Sonya Vohra and Yue (Penny) Xu.  The Denker winner will be named the Illinois representative to the National Denker Tournament of High School Champions in Irvine, CA in August,  and the girls winner will have her choice of attending either the Polgar national girls tournament in Texas in July or the newly established National Girls Open in Irvine, CA in August.  Both winners will receive a prize of a $500 travel stipend and $250 towards chess lessons, funded by the Illinois Chess Association Warren Junior Scholar Program. (Click Read More to see pairings)

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