Now that Mikhail Korenman is finished running the Illinois Class Chess Championships in Orland Park, he is turning his attention to bringing in some of the best young chess players in the world to Oak Brook.
The International Scholastic Chess Festival takes place March 24 through April 1 at the Oak Brook DoubleTree Hotel for players in the U-10 through U-18 divisions.
“This is an event I am looking forward to because I believe that kids become friends through playing chess,” Korenman said. “This is a chance for friendships to develop with young players from all over the world.”
Special guests scheduled to appear at the festival include chess champions Anatoly Karpov, Alexander Onischuk, Yury Shulman and Anna Zatonskih.
Korenman was born in Russia and now lives in Willowbrook. He founded the first Karpov School of Chess in the country and runs it out of the Orland Park Cultural Center.
He helped run the two-day Illinois open tournament Saturday and Sunday at the center and brought in 8-year-old Awonder Liang, of Madison, Wis., who recently was crowned a world champion in Brazil for his age group.
(PHOTOS: Orland Park hosts chess tourney.)
Liang took on adults in this competition and finished second to Decatur surgeon Tansel Turgut and tied with Albert Chow of Chicago. Both Turgut and Chow have reached the rank of master while Liang is closing in on that level.
Liang’s father, Will, said his son has been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio in recent weeks. Will Liang said that while some speculate that his son has a chance to become the first American world champion since Bobby Fischer from 1972-75, he is not pushing it.
“To become a world champion takes a lot of work and coaching,” Will Liang said. “We’re not even thinking about that right now. It’s very hard to make a living playing chess. I’ve told all my kids that they could probably get a much better job elsewhere than playing chess. But when they grow up, they should do what they want.”
Locally, Tinley Park’s Kyle Kras, 10, won the Under 1000 ranking division in Orland Park. Kras and his seven-year-old brother, Kolin, have goals of someday becoming grand masters. Their mother, Michelle, said the two have traveled across the country to play chess. She said Kyle is teaching and coaching chess to fellow students at Millennium School in Tinley Park.
Kyle said his goal is to play chess and football at the University of Florida and to become an engineer.
He plays football for the Tinley Park Bulldogs and finds the two sports similar.
“The pawns are like the linemen,” he said. “The king is like the quarterback and the queen is like the running back. They are both fun to play.”
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