2017 Chess

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2017 Chess

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The 43nd annual IHSA Team Chess State Tournament returns to Peoria Civic Center on Friday and Saturday, February 10-11. A total of 149 teams from across the state are entered in this year’s competition, the largest field in tournament history and a record that likely will not be broken. Next year the size of the tournament field will be reduced somewhat as sectional qualifying tournaments are introduced. The state final field has grown substantially since 2001, the tournament's first year in Peoria, when 96 teams squared off.

The media has taken notice of the unique tournament, which was the subject of a 2015 documentary called "Chess State".

A chess team consists of eight players and up to four alternates. Approximately 1,550 competitors and 300 coaches will be participate in the two-day event.

"This is the largest team chess tournament in the country, and perhaps the world," said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Scott Johnson. "People think of chess as an individual pursuit. Turning it into a team competition encourages players to help their teammates improve and fosters a sense of camaraderie. They cheer for each other after a good win – or even a good draw.”

The 2016 tournament saw Chicago’s Whitney Young High School win its third team state championship in four years and third overall in school history. Stevenson High School placed second, marking the fifth time in the past seven seasons that the Patriots have hoisted the runner-up trophy. Four-time state champion Ilinois Math and Science Academy placed third a year ago, marking the school’s first trophy since placing third in 2005. Highland Park recorded its best finish in school by placing fourth last year, while Hinsdale Central’s fifth-place finish marked the program’s seventh straight year finishing in the Top 10. The remainder of the Top 10 included Maine South (6th), Evanston (7th), Northside (8th), Glenbrook North (9th), and Lane Tech (10th). Maine South, Evanston and Lane Tech are all previous state champions.

The Board 1 Medalists from 2016 included: Yuki Nojima, Hersey; Spencer Lehmann, Barrington; Nino Dakhundaridze Belleville West; Hanson Hao, Bloomington; Ryan Engelmann, Bolingbrook; Jonathan Hrach, Highland Park; Alex Bian, Stevenson; Jack Curcio, Maine South; Anshul Adve, Urbana University.

The first of seven rounds starts at 10 am Friday and action continues until about 8 pm. On Saturday the teams return to play at 9 am, with the awards ceremony about 5 pm. In each round, the teams are paired off and 592 (149 / 2 × 8) chess games are played simultaneously. While you can hear a pin drop during the competition, the play can be intense, especially "inside the ropes," a special viewing area where the top teams play. Last year’s championship was won by Whitney Young High School in Chicago, the only team to finish the tournament with seven wins and no losses. In this year's event, Illinois Math and Science Academy of Aurora is seeded first.

This year's tournament will again feature a day-long visit from Grandmaster Yury Shulman, the 2008 U.S. Chess Champion. Shulman, a native of Belarus, achieved grandmaster status at the age of 20. He came to the U.S. in 1999 to attend the University of Texas at Dallas and now lives in the Chicago suburbs. Shulman is not only one of the country's top players but also a chess patron. He is the founder of Chess Without Borders, an organization that uses chess as a medium for philanthropic causes. Shulman will be in attendance at the IHSA Tournament all day Saturday, opening Round 5 of the competition and conducting seminars for coaches and players when he is not observing play.

The IHSA Chess Tournament is open to the public. Elementary and junior high school players who are interested in watching high school competition or meeting Grandmaster Shulman are especially welcome. The Illinois Elementary School Association will hold its state chess tournament in the Peoria Civic Center Ballroom later in February.

Reporters and photographers are welcome but are asked to check in at the Tournament Office prior to entering the competition area.

43nd annual State Series
17th year at Peoria Civic Center


Peoria Civic Center (Peoria)


Friday, February 10
10:00 AM - Round 1
1:00 PM - Round 2
3:45 PM - Round 3
6:30 PM - Round 4

Saturday, February 11
9:00 AM - Round 5
Noon - Round 6
2:45PM - Round 7
5:30PM - Awards





No charge for entry

Gear from Minerva

Souvenir Program

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Instagram - @IHSA_IL


Classic IHSA YouTube Video


Country Financial

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