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The 38th annual IHSA Chess Team State Tournament returns to Peoria on Friday and Saturday, February 10-11, for its 12th installment at the Civic Center. This year's tournament will again feature a day-long visit from Grandmaster Yury Shulman, the 2008 U.S. Chess Champion.

A total of 125 teams from across the state are entered in this year’s competition. A chess team consists of eight players and up to four alternates, meaning that approximately 1,400 chess players and 200 coaches will play in Peoria this weekend.

"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 make their teammates better players and fosters a sense of camaraderie. They cheer for each other after a good win – or even a good draw.”

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 first of seven championship rounds starts at 10 a.m. Friday and action continues until about 8 pm. On Saturday the teams return to play at 9 a.m., with the awards ceremony about 5 pm. In each round, the teams are paired off and 496 (62 × 8) chess games are played simultaneously. While you can hear a pin drop during the competition, the play can be incredibly intense, especially "inside the ropes," a special viewing area where the top 16 teams do battle. Last year’s championship was won by Whitney Young High School of Chicago, the only team to finish the tournament with seven wins and no losses. Whitney Young is seeded first in this year’s event.

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 own state chess tournament in Bloomington next weekend (Feb. 17-18).

Peoria Civic Center (Peoria)


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

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





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No broadcasts are currently scheduled for this event

No charge for entry





Past Team Champions

Record Book


Posted In: State Central

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