Players are set for the Denker Qualifier and Girls Invitational

Two invitational tournaments in March sponsored by the ICA Warren Junior Scholar Program will have the state’s top high school players and the state’s top youth female players vying for a chance to win travel to a national summer event.

Seven high school boys will participate in the Illinois Denker qualifier, with the winner moving on to become the state representative to the National Denker High School tournament of champions in Irvine, California in August.  The state’s top six girls will play in the State Girls’ Invitational, and the winner will have her choice of traveling to either the National Girls’ Polgar Invitational Tournament in July in Lubbock, Texas, or the brand new National Girls Open that will be held in Irvine, California at the same time as the National Denker tournament.

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2010 Illinois Denker Qualifier Announcement

The state’s top high school players will be invited to compete next March in the Illinois Denker High School Qualifier, where the winner is named the official state representative to the U.S. Denker High School Tournament of Champions.  The national tournament will be held July 31 to August 3 in Irvine, California.

DATE: Friday, March 19 to Sunday, March 21, 2010

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Reflections from the National Denker

Trevor Magness at 2009 National DenkerWhile Trevor Magness was busy representing Illinois at the National Denker High School Tournament of Champions, his parents Phil and Cheryl Magness kept a lovely journal of Trevor’s participation in the event, and their reflections on his involvement in chess in general.  On the next page are some excerpts.  To read the whole thing, go to:

Trevor did Illinois proud and came in fifth in a very strong field.    

Phil from the Denker opening ceremony:

It really is a great honor to be here. The opening ceremony was about ninety minutes long and included several speeches and moving testimonies. This is the 25th Denker Tournament of Champions, and many former participants have gone on to great things--both in and out of the world of chess.

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2009 Illinois Scholastic Chess Championship

Vincent Do
2nd and 3rd Grade Warren Scholars

More than 650 chess players from across the state met up at the Illinois State University student center in Bloomington the weekend of March 7-8 for the Illinois Scholastic K-8 championships. It was an exciting weekend of chess with many talented players.

Taking first place out of 100 players in the Lower Primary K-1 division was Vincent Do of Rockford. Vincent was the only player in the whole tournament to achieve a perfect score of 7-0.

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Warren Jr Scholars at Taste of Chicago

Some of the state's top youth chess players, used to spending their weekends inside hotel basements, got a chance to take their chessboards outside on Saturday and get some sunshine. For the fourth year in a row, the ICA's Warren Junior Scholars were invited to participate in Taste of Chicago, the city's biggest summer festival. About a dozen of the Warren Scholars--the state's top nationally ranked chess players age 7 to 18--and some of the state's other top-rated kids, came out to offer Taste visitors a sample of the world's oldest and most-loved game.

Under a tent within the festival's Family Village area, they served up chess instruction and the opportunity to play. A steady crowd streamed to the tent all day. Many visitors sat down to play, but some were content just observing the impressive Warren Scholars as they demonstrated their speed and skill at the game. “It's so nice to see kids who can focus and concentrate,” commented one visitor.

The Warren Scholars not only got to play their favorite game, they also got to partake of a wider variety of food than the typical fare at weekend chess tournaments. Some of the favorites: Anything with barbecue, thai pot stickers, roasted corn on the cob, and ice cream.

Taking part in the Taste was an all-star roster of players, including 1st grade national champion Vincent Do of Rockford, K3 state champion Zhaozhi Li of Wilmette, and other top-ranked elementary players Conrad Oberhaus, Roshan Shankar, Matthew Stevens, James Wei, and Jack Xiao, High school participants included recently graduated Hinsdale South senior James Pavese, and members of the Niles North chess team who recently placed fourth in the 2009 national championships: Sagaar Gupta, Ilan Meerovich, Eric Rosen, and Fedya Titov.