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Over 300 Attend Mayor Daley Holiday Festival Chess Tournament

by Jeff Caveney, Renaissance Knights instructor and Northside Prep High School chess coach
 

Over 300 chess players, most of them young and the rest young at heart, came to Chicago's McCormick Place convention center December 18 to compete in the chess tournament at the Mayor Daley Holiday Sports Festival. The tournament was organized by Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation.

 

The tournament had sections open to all players and sections based on grade level for younger players: K-8th Grade, K-5th Grade, and K-2nd Grade. Each level was also divided into a Championship division for more experienced players and a Reserve division for newer players. This way everybody had a chance to play others at their level.

 

In the Open Championship section, 3 players achieved perfect scores by winning all 4 games: Bernard Parham of Purdue University, Xavier Martine, and Bryan Kapke. Parham won the 1st place trophy on tiebreaks, with Martine 2nd and Kapke 3rd. Purdue also won the 1st place team prize, and Downers Grove North High School took 2nd place team on tiebreaks over Argo High School from Summit, IL.

 

In the K-8th Grade Championship section, Michael Malis and Narayan Karra both scored a perfect 4 points. Malis won the 1st place trophy on tiebreaks and Karra took 2nd place.

 

In the K-5th Grade Championship section, Anupama Rajendra, Tripuraneni Ranadheer and Ricky Roman all won every game to score 4 points. Rajendra won 1st place on tiebreaks, with Ranadheer 2nd and Roman 3rd. Edison Elementary from Hammond, Indiana won the 1st place team prize on tiebreaks and Happy Hollow Elementary of West Lafayette, Indiana took 2nd place.

 

In the K-2nd Grade Championship section, Owen Power took clear 1st place with the only perfect 4-0 score. Cumberland Elementary of West Lafayette, IN was the 1st place team and Avery Coonley of Downers Grove, IL took 2nd place team.

 

In the Open Reserve section, David Rubin and Aleck Johnsen both won all their games for 4 points. Rubin took 1st place on tiebreaks and Johnsen 2nd. St. Ignatius College Prep High School in Chicago won the 1st place team prize.

 

In the K-8th Grade Reserve section the girls dominated, with Katlyn Bonnell and Anna Kurnat both achieving perfect 4-0 scores. Bonnell won 1st place and Kurnat 2nd place on tiebreaks. Forest Trails Junior High in Park Forest, IL won the 1st place team prize and James Hart Junior High in Homewood, IL took 2nd place.

 

In the K-5th Grade Reserve section Caroline Bates and Moses Carrisoza both won all their games for 4 points. Bates won 1st place on tiebreaks and Carrisoza took 2nd place. Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago won the 1st place team prize and Murphy School in Chicago took 2nd place.

 

In the K-2nd Grade Reserve section, Nicholas Chen took clear 1st place with the only perfect score of 4 points. Immaculate Conception School in Chicago won the 1st place team prize and the Latin School in Chicago took 2nd place.

 

We congratulate all the players, coaches and teams who came out, played hard and had a whole day of fun at the chess tournament!

 

Exciting Game Wins K-8th Grade Championship

 

The K-8th Grade Championship section 1st place player Michael Malis played a very exciting game in the final round vs. Rahul Dhiman. Both players fought very hard and played very well, and produced a great game that is fun to look at. The opening they played was the main line of the Sicilian Dragon Variation, where White launches a wild, fast attack on Black's king on the kingside and Black launches a wild, fast attack on White's king on the queenside. This game is an excellent example of just how wild and crazy and fun such a game can get. By the end of the game one king is hiding for his life and the other king is running for his life.

 

It would take a Grandmaster to explain everything that happens in this game, but I will highlight some of the key moments.

 

White: Michael Malis

Black: Rahul Dhiman

 

1.e4 c5

2.Nf3 d6

3.d4 cxd4

4.Nxd4 Nf6

5.Nc3 g6

6.f3 Bg7

7.Be3 Nc6

8.Qd2 O-O

9.O-O-O Bd7

 

White castles his king on the queenside so that he is free to push his kingside pawns toward the Black king without exposing his king there.

 

10.g4 Qa5

11.h4 Qb4

12.a3 Qa5

13.h5 Nxd4

14.Bxd4 Rac8

15.hxg6 fxg6

16.Qh2 e5

 

Black stops the white bishop from trading off the knight on f6, the defender of the pawn on h7 White is attacking.

 

17.Be3 Rxc3

 

This is a classic idea for Black, sacrificing his rook for the knight on c3 to break open the pawns around White's king.

 

18.Bd2

 

Instead of capturing immediately and breaking up his pawns, White uses a pin first.

 

18. ... Rxc2+

19.Kxc2 Qa4+

20.Kc1 Rc8+

21.Bc3 h5

22.g5

 

Usually White wants to trade pawns on the kingside to open lines, instead of block pawns.

 

22. ... Nh7

23.Rxd6 Nxg5

 

And Black should defend his pawn on g6 instead of taking the pawn on g5, to keep the lines closed on the kingside.

 

24.Rxg6 Nxf3

25.Qxh5 Rxc3+

26.bxc3 Qxa3+

27.Kc2 Ba4+

 

Now it gets really wild and crazy. The Black king is hiding for his life behind his bishop, while the White king is about to run for his life!

 

28.Kd3 Bb5+

29.Ke3 Qxc3+

30.Kf2 Qd2+

31.Kg3 Qf4+

32.Kh3

 

Here the players were running out of time and stopped writing down the moves. A few moves later the Black queen moved to e1, then White played Bc4+ checking the king with a discovered attack on the Black queen by the White rook on h1. Thus White won the queen and soon won the game.

 

Congratulations to both players for a great, exciting game!

 

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