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 registration@DeKalbChess.com if you plan to play on that day, or if you're willing to help out with some aspect of the event.