Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End Wrap Up

For anyone who didn't get a personal communication, we will NOT be meeting for casual chess today due to the New Year holiday.  Have a wonderful and safe new year celebration and hope to see you all Wednesday at Sycamore Library, or back at the church on Monday, January 7th.

Under the advisory of all publicity is good publicity, today's Chronicle has a painful write up of this weekend's Home for the Holiday event. Alas, the reporter totally missed the boat on how USCF ratings work (and a few other details) but what can you do? Anyway, here's the article:

Daily Chronicle article 12/31/12

Speaking of the Home for the Holidays Open, congrats to Howard Cohen, winner of the Anand section (Open), Kyle Mathews, winner of the Lasker section (Under 1750), Gerry Crane, winner of the Nakamura (Under 1500) section, and Armel Peel who won the Rubinstein section, Under 1200.

Here are the USCF results:  USCF crosstable

It was terrific to see Gerry prevail in his first DeKalb event, only his third tournament ever. Congratulations also to our own Aaron Bartelt who tied for second in the Rubinstein section in his very first tournament.

Thank you to everyone who came out... 28 registrants made this the second largest event in our history. It was great to see some old faces (their faces aren't exactly old, but I just hadn't seen them in a while, you know?)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All Systems Go for Home for the Holidays

Despite a "feather dusting" of snow and one of the more challenging weeks of my life, the Home for the Holidays Open will take place today as promised.

With more than 22 RSVP's as of yesterday, this promises to be one of the better-attended tournaments in the DeKalb Chess Club's two and a half year history.

Will we eclipse the Lincoln Penny Challenge of 2011 which included 36 competitors? You'll have to tune in later to find out.

With the strong pre-registration, I've configured the tournament field into four sections: Open, Under 1800, Under 1500 and Under 1200... but as advertised, TD discretion allows sections to be adjusted as registrations dictate. Just trying to make this the most competitive tournament possible for as many entrants as possible, you know?  Special requests are accommodated within reason.

However, the unrated side event tentatively scheduled for the middle of the day will not be held due to the lack of a single advanced entry.

Thanks to Greg Protano for all his assistance with tournament set up and we'll see you after 9am for on-site registration. First round will begin PROMPTLY at 10am and the third round should wrap up neatly by 5:30pm.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Home For the Holidays Open

Squeezed in between Christmas and New Years, DeKalb Chess Club will be hosting the 2012 Home for the Holidays Open on Saturday, December 29th.

This 3-round, USCF-rated event is aimed at preserving the family structure, giving chess players a chance to blow off some steam after the Xmas bunny has left his droppings under the mistletoe or however you observe that day.

Registrations permitting, there will also be an unrated event starting a little bit later in the day, meaning no USCF-membership is required. The DeKalb Winter Classic will feature four rounds with Game/30 time controls.

Sections for both events will be developed based on registrations received.

Check out details posted elsewhere on this site or drop an email to with any questions.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Alekhine Memorial Sunday

Two events in one: DeKalb Chess Club hosts the Alekhine Memorial Sunday, October 28 at the American Midwest Bank, 1985 Bethany Road, Sycamore.

This used to be called the American National Bank for those who attended one of our events held previously. We use the beautiful basement conference room.

The USCF-rated event kicks off at 10am with registration from 9:15 to 9:50am. It will feature three rounds of Game 60 play with a 5 second delay. Sections will be determined at TD discretion based upon registrations received. Prize money will be offered. This event is only open to USCF members but membership is available on site.

The unrated event is open to all and will begin at 12:45pm. Registration will be from 12:15 to 12:40pm. Four rounds, Game/30 with no delay. Trophies and medals will serve as prizes and again, sections to be determined at TD's discretion.

Alexander Alekhine would have been 120 on October 31st, so come on out and do him proud with a full day of chess fun this Sunday.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Engel Trumps All at Star Trek Rated Four-Rounder

It had been 7 1/2 months since Will Engel had played in a USCF event. For some reason, a certain card game has attracted a little more of Will's time lately.

Nonetheless, Will went undefeated in four rounds Saturday to earn first place in DeKalb's Star Trek Rated Open. Perhaps this will spur a Will to maintain more sustained chess interest?

Chelsea Harper, playing her first DeKalb Club event, and in her first USCF-rated event in almost a year, took clear second with 3.0/4. We're hoping her bundle of joy, Max, the youngest USCF-member I know, didn't mind sharing Chelsea with us for a few hours.

Incoming NIU student Justin Suggs grabbed sole possession of Class C (1599-1400) prize money with a 2.5/4 score, and young James Zhang prevailed in the Under 1400.

Zhang raised his USCF rating over 100 points to a few points under 1000 while Suggs eclipsed 1500 and Engel surpassed 1700 for the first time in almost two years.

Despite one of the smaller turnouts in this affiliate's two-year history, $120 in cash prizes were distributed, continuing the proud tradition of providing the most generous prize pools among Northern Illinois events.

The Game/45, no delay format meant for shorter games but concluded in time to allow tournament-goers to attend the NIU football home opener (which the Huskies won, 35-7). The only other dual-rated event on the  ICA calendar this weekend charged a lot more money to enter and merely provided Amazon gift cards totaling a scant $100 as prizes.

Tournament organizers will give it one more shot Saturday, October 27, hoping local enthusiasts and others from across Northern Illinois will come out to support chess amid the cornfields. In the past two years, the DeKalb affiliate has attracted more than 150 different players to one of our 21 rated tournaments, averaging about 20 players per event.

However, WITHOUT A STRONG PRE-REGISTRATION for the October 27th event, this may have been the end of an era for tournament chess in this neck of the woods. Drop a note to if you plan to play on that day, or if you're willing to help out with some aspect of the event.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Star Trek Open Saturday

Saturday, September 8th marks the 46th anniversary of the epic TV show Star Trek's initial broadcast on NBC.

Even if you weren't around for that auspicious occasion, you're welcome to play four rounds of amazing chess, sponsored by the DeKalb Chess Club.

For those seeking USCF-rated play, first round will kick off at 10:30am (registration 10am-10:20am). Game/45 and no delay will allow us to get in four rounds. This will require a $15 entry fee ($20 at the door) with generous cash prizes. (Discounts available if wearing a Star Trek costume or if arriving by teleportation).

For folks who may or may not be USCF-members, there will also be an unrated tournament kicking off at 12:30 (registration noon-12:20pm). The time control for that will be shorter, Game/30. This will also be four rounds, but there will be medals/trophies instead of cash prizes, and the entry fee is only $7.

This set up should allow high school teams to kick off their year and get some experience. (This is NOT a team event, but team discounts will be provided). USCF members can play in the G/45 event, anyone may play in the G/30 event.

There will also be a skittles room available for kibbitzing and game analysis (and parental lounging).

The event should conclude by 5:30pm allowing folks to attend the NIU football home opener being held nearby.

Questions? To pre-register, send your name and USCF ID (if a USCF member) to

Thursday, August 9, 2012

First Steinitz Memorial Saturday

Registrations are streaming in for the inaugural Steinitz Memorial Open being held Saturday, August 11, 2012 in DeKalb.

Wilhelm Steinitz passed away August 12, 1900... 112 years ago, but his influence on chess remains noteable today. Steinitz is believed to be the first undisputed world champion, holding that title from 1886 to 1894. He also went 25 years without losing in formal match play!

The DeKalb Chess Club event will feature four rounds meaning USCF norms can be earned. Details are posted to the right of this entry.

Advanced registration can be accomplished through emailing a name and a USCF ID to

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It Ain't Over Saturday, 4 Rounds of Chess Comebacks

Happy Birthday, Yogi Berra!

Yogi turns 87 Saturday and in his honor, the DeKalb Chess Club will be hosting the "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" Open, a four-round chess extravaganza. Registration will be conducted from 8:30am - 9:00am at the First Congregational Church in DeKalb.

Berra, from the St. Louis area originally, played for the beloved New York Yankees and, according to pundit Bill James, is the greatest catcher of all-time. He went on to coach and manage as well, and in one capacity or another, appeared in 21 World Series.

Not bad for an 8th grade drop out! Yogi was prone to utter frequent malapropism, and while "It Ain't Over" may be his most famous, he also once reminded us: "I really didn't say everything I said."

While Yogi's quip may have have been uttered with the diamond in mind, its applicability to the 64-square battlefield is equally apropos. What chess player hasn't dropped a piece early in a game, or found oneself in a dire position, only to utter subconsciously, "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over!"  Many a comeback have ridden the coattails of that fine phrase. The perfect mantra for a chess devotee, it's about time someone named a tournament after those six contracted words!

Saturday's event will serve as a wonderful warm-up for the 2012 Chicago Open. Players can get in four games with lengthy time controls, G/60 plus a 5 second delay. Although the event will be USCF-rated, these results will not impact the seeding people receive for the Open.

Anticipated round times are 9:10a, 11:25a, 1:45p and 4:00pm. We should wrap up by 6:30 so that folks can enjoy a local theater production or drive home while there is still daylight.

Sections will be developed at the Tournament Director's discretion, but generally we try to have an Open Section, an Under 1600 section and an Under 1200 section.

But you don't necessarily have to win the section to be eligible for cash prizes. In the U1600, a Class D prize is typically awarded for player rated 1399-1200.  In the Open section, a Class B prize is usually awarded for players rated 1799-1600. We need to have at least three players qualifying for a award for that prize to be active.  So generally, after registration, the TD posts the particulars.

As of last tournament, we've added upset prizes for each section... in order to give everyone a chance for some recognition even if they're unlikely to partake of the bigger prizes.

Again, the size of the prize funds depends upon registrations received. At least 2/3's of the entry fees received are distributed as prizes, and generally it approaches 80%.

The DeKalb Chess Club prides itself on providing quality conditions for its tournaments and we're lucky to be able to enjoy the comfortable surroundings of the First Congregational Church.  Players should be aware that there is a Mother's Day plant sale fundraiser going on that day so there may be some occasional noise coming from the kitchen area around the lunch time. If you are prone to distraction, you're welcome to employ an audio device with some soothing music, ocean waves, or rain falling in the forest (always worked for me when I was studying!).

Pre-registration discount is activated by sending your name and USCF ID to Pre-registration cut off is 6am Saturday, 5/12, but it's only a few bucks more without the advanced notice.

In honor of the Rockford Chess Challenge occurring to the northwest, there will be no junior event this time around. Juniors are encouraged to play the Challenge, details at

Whether or not you're playing in the Open or are a die-hard Yankee fan, come out and enjoy Yogi's birthday and four rounds of great chess this Saturday. And don't forget to take home a plant or two for mother in honor of her big day Sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Can You Spell Webster Dictionary?

In 1828, Noah Webster published an American Dictionary of the English Language ... and almost two centuries later, the Webster Dictionary remains a staple in American libraries and homes. Yes, kids, before the internet, there were actually books where people looked up words, I know that's hard to believe.

In honor of that pithy tome, DeKalb Chess Club will host a USCF-rated chess tournament April 21 at its home base, the First Congregational Church, 615 N. First Street, DeKalb. Three rounds, Game/65 with a 5 second delay. Although the rules are a tad confusing, the Tournament Director (TD) believes that this qualifies the games for Regular Rating play only, so Quick Ratings remain intact.

Registration and warm up will begin at 9am with the first round beginning SHARPLY at 10am. Other rounds will commence at 1pm and 3:30pm with wrap up by 6pm.

Editor's note: registrations have been reasonably robust... but I apologize for not getting back to everyone promptly. Due to the hospitalization of a dear friend and other obligations, I have been unable to spend my usual time at the computer this week. Look forward to seeing you all by 9:45am this morning.

Between noon and 2:30, juniors may be competing in the "Curse You, Red Baron" Open. This will also be at the church. April 21 marks the 94th anniversary of the demise of Manfred von Richthofen, the World War I Flying Ace who was shot down by Allied forces. I don't know if the Red Baron played chess, but I always liked the way that Snoopy used his doghouse as a faux-airplane and dogfights seem like a wonderful metaphor for competitive chess.

Editor's note: as there have been no pre-registrations for the junior tournament, who knows if we'll get the necessary entrants for that event, but K-8 chess enthusiasts are welcome to observe the USCF tournament going on. Hopefully someday, you'll be up to competing in the rated tournaments!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Gone With the Wind Classic Blows Into DeKalb Saturday

First it was a book, then a movie... now Gone With the Wind will be forever known as THE classic chess tournament.

Actually, on Saturday, March 31, it'll be TWO chess tournaments in one... a four-round USCF tournament getting started at 9am, and a juniors-only event kicking off around noon.

Advanced registrations have been flowing in steadily, and we're already at 20, the most pre-registrations we've ever had for an event. Best of all, we have some highly competitive registrants rated as high as 2209, potentially the highest rated player ever to play in a DeKalb Chess Club event.

Suffice to say, the cash prizes should be rather generous if we get the expected field.

Still time to get in your discounted advanced registration... 12 hours to go!  Details found to the right of this posting... or drop me a note at and I'll type back V-E-R-Y slowly so you can understand what's going on.

This marks the 17th rated open event for the DeKalb club in the past 20 months (or so) since we became a USCF-affiliate. 117 different USCF members have competed in our tournaments, and several other players have enjoyed our junior and unrated events. Who knew there were so many chess players out there? 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rockford hosts Illinois K-8 Championship

The esteemed Rockford Clock Tower Inn will be the host to more than 500 young chess players this weekend for the K-8 state chess championship.

This correspondent will be serving as an official in "Chess Control" in hopes to better understand the dynamics of such a large scale event. This event typically rotates between downstate Illinois and Northern Illinois, and it is hoped that in the not too distant future, the NIU campus might be selected as a host location. 

Sadly, I do not believe ANY DeKalb County schools will be participating in this weekend's event. How can this be?

DeKalb Chess Club stands ready to assist with any schools wishing to develop chess programs. Further, we'll gladly donate chess sets to any school or public library which might need a chess set. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

11 Take Hyvee by Storm

In what may have been the final First Thursday event at Hyvee, 11 players enjoyed almost two hours of casual chess. Due to other obligations and failure to attract new players from this monthly outing, Coach Bill most likely not be hosting this event going forward. If someone wishes to take on that role, please step forward. Mondays at the church and Wednesdays at the library will continue. Happy chess!

March First Thursday Tonight at Hyvee

DeKalb area chess enthusiasts young and old will face off tonight at Hyvee, 2700 DeKalb Avenue, in Sycamore. We'll get going after 7pm in the food court.

Come on out and enjoy the fun... For those who have never played, search out Coach Bill and he'll get you started with an orientation to the board, the pieces and the all-important moves.

Hope to see you tonight to kick off March!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Huck Finn Classic honors anniversary

In honor of the 127th anniversary of the American publication of Mark Twain's classic novel, DeKalb Chess Club will be hosting two chess tournaments February 18th. Both events will be held in the spacious Fellowship Hall of the First Congregational Church, 615 N. First Street in DeKalb.

The Adventures of Huck Finn has gone down in history as a phenomenal telling of the tale of white and black framed on the Mississippi River. Saturday, the chess club and its visitors will be creating its own "tales of white and black"... atop a river of chess boards!

The USCF event will undertake registration beginning at 9am with the first of three rounds getting underway at 10am.

Registration for the junior event will take place starting around noon, just as the first round of the USCF event is concluding. The junior event will feature four rounds, wrapping up around 3pm, followed by a brief awards ceremony. Sections will be crafted based on the people who show up, but it may wind up being just one section. Anyway you cut it, it'll be a comfortable and educational setting for a first chess tournament.

The all-ages USCF event features G/65 plus a 5 second delay for time controls. Sections will be divided according to registrations received, but we hope to have an Under 2200 section, an Under 1600 section and an Under 1200 section. In addition, we hope to have prizes for Class B (1799-1600) in the Under 2200 group and Class D (1399-1200) in the Under 1600 group. But all this depends upon registrations and is subject to the tournament director's whim.

Hope to see you there, before 10am for the USCF event and around noon for the junior's event. USCF memberships are available at the tournament site, but is not required for the junior's event.

In the words of Huck: "I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it." Isn't this the very essence of chess?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Wrapped Up, Event Profiled

DeKalb Chess Club brought the year to a close with a small but pleasant four-round tournament Saturday.

In the adult division, Nathan Kozinski and Don Reyes tied for top honors with 3.0 points out of a possible four.

The top upset prize of the day went to Cliff Adams with a shocking first round victory over Nathan. But Kozinksi kept his cool, and was perfect for the rest of the afternoon to gain a share of first place.

In the junior division, Kelbrant managed to go undefeated to take the first place gold medal. Siblings Brian and Lily took silver and bronze respectively.

The event was profiled on the Daily Chronicle's website here and here.

It was exciting to include a pair of four year olds in the junior field participating in their very first chess tournaments. Moose and Joey acquitted themselves well. At four, some of us were still trying to figure out how checker pieces work. These two not only had piece movement mastered but if you observed their games in just the right light, there were some gleanings of strategy going on. Keep up the good work, Moose and Joey!

Thanks to all those who participated in the club's unrated tournament, meaning results are not submitted to the US Chess Federation. Should you be interested in playing in similar events, please contact the club through this site. Otherwise, we hope to bring more USCF-events to the Northern Illinois area in 2012.

In addition to providing some mental stimulation to kick off the new year's eve celebrations, the event raised $75 for the host facility's building maintenance! Every little bit helps, I suppose! Thank you, First Congregational Church for being such a gracious host to our events.