Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation
Illinois' Premier Chess Organization








       • Press



Renaissance Knights Quest turns 50
by Jeff Caveney


The Super Bowl wasn't the only big competition on Sunday. Earlier that afternoon at the Renaissance Hotel in Northbrook, 78 chess players young and old battled at the 50th monthly Knights Quest tournament organized by the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation. The Knights Quest was the original series of monthly Scholastic & Adult Class Tournaments in Chicago having three sections:  U800 and U1200 for children and an Open Section for children and adults.  Today the series has expanded to 4 sections: U600 & U1000 for children and U1400 and Open for children and adults.  The success of these tournaments has changed the landscape of scholastic tournaments in Chicago; more and more organizers have switched to this format from the traditional grade level format. 


FIDE Master and former 'Illinois State Champion' Aleksandar Stamnov won the top section of the tournament with a perfect 4-0 score. Two of his opponents, Paul Seet and Joey Bikus, won all the rest of their games to tie for 2nd with a 3-1 score, as did Expert Larry Cohen. There was a four-way tie for 5th place at 2.5 points: Howard Cohen, Timothy Zhou, James Demos and Ryan Toepfer. A field of 22 players took on the challenge of competing in the top section.


Another 22 players battled in the next section, for those with ratings under 1400. The competition was so tough that no one won all of his or her games, but 3 young chess players tied for 1st with 3 wins and a draw for 3.5 points: Akash Mattu, Josh Power and Miranda Liu. Three more players scored 3 wins and lost only one game to one of the top finishers. They tied for 4th with 3 points: Lukasz Tony Zak in his first ever rated chess tournament, Daniel Sun and Eric Gan.


The third section, for young people with ratings under 1000, had 12 players and the competition was intense. Avinash Rajendra secured 1st place with a perfect 4-0 score. Samuel Bergman and Anupama Rajendra tied for 2nd place with 3 points each. There was a big six-way tie for 4th place at 2 points: Joshua Liu, Adarsh Mattu, Prateek Dullur, Jacob Zhou,  Vishesh Verma and Brody Frapolly.


Finally, the section for young people with ratings under 600 or beginners had 24 enthusiastic players. This section always has a mix of new young players in their first or second ever tournament and more experienced players. Jason Bai won the section with a perfect 4-0 score. Dylan Cotter earned 2nd place with 3 wins and a draw for 3.5 points. Five more players tied for 3rd place with 3 points: Saivikas Gundam, Frederic Fosco, Brandon Smithson, Owen Power and Ethan Shifrin.


Congratulations to all the winners! We also congratulate everyone who bravely competed in such a challenging tournament. At Knights Quest events, every young player who doesn't win a trophy for the top 5 places receives a medal in recognition of the achievement of coming out to compete, playing hard, and having fun!.


The next big event 'Renaissance Knights' will hold is the Greater Chicago Scholastic K-12 Championships, in partnership with 'The Kasporov Chess Foundation'. This unique tournament is coming to Chicago for the first time; it is similar to “The Greater New York Scholastic Chess Championships!”America’s longest-running rated scholastic chess tournament.  Last weekend's Greater New York Scholastic Championships had a record breaking turnout with over 900 players.  The Greater Chicago Scholastic K-12 Championships will be held at the 'Crowne Plaza Hotel' in Northbrook the weekend of February 27-28. All young players from kindergarten to 12th grade are welcome to attend, and players can play either on Saturday or Sunday or both days.  Please visit the event page for more information on this regional championship tournament:  


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