CONTACT: Wes Fisk 785-342-1009 or 785-227-4121
Kansan Wins U.S. Junior Chess Championship

A second Kansan has captured one of the coveted national chess titles within the last 60 days. Maxx Coleman, Derby, narrowly won the U.S. Junior Open Championship trophy over Timothy Moroney from Michigan. Sunday afternoon, Coleman and Moroney were tied going into the last round at Smoky Valley High School. Both players went on to win their final games, which left them with identical scores of 5.5 out of a possible 6 points. Coleman and Moroney were declared co-champions, but when Karpov Chess School Director Tom Brownscombe calculated the tie-breaks, he awarded the 1st place trophy to Coleman. “I was very pleased to see Maxx win it,” said Brownscombe. Coleman is a veteran of the chess school, having played here many times.

Coleman’s win culminated three days of intense competition that drew players from as far away as Tennessee and Michigan. “We have been wanting to come to Lindsborg ever since we saw on the news that Gorbachev was here for the Chess for Peace event,” said Kerry Sernel, Germantown, Tennessee. “We decided to come to the chess camp and stay over for the Junior Open.” Her sons, Kenner, 6, and Ragan, 9, are regulars on the national chess circuit that includes major tournaments in Houston, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and St. Louis, Missouri. Ragan Sernel took home the 3rd place trophy in the section for those under 11.

Preceding Maxx Coleman’s win was that of Conrad Holt, Andover, who won the U.S. Cadet Championship that was held in June at the Karpov Chess School in Lindsborg. Coleman, by virtue of his win, will be invited to play in next year’s U.S. Junior Championship, which unlike the Junior Open is by invitation only.

The young hopefuls came to Lindsborg to try to win bragging rights, because the U.S. Junior Open is considered one of major U.S. chess events for young people. “When I told my son we were going to go to the U.S. Junior Open in Lindsborg, he got all excited,” said Raghu Kurella. His son, Nikith, 7, had recently been to a major chess tournament in Dallas. And what did Nikith think about this tournament. “It’s awesome; it’s big!”

Garret Wirka, Wahoo, Nebraska, outdistanced Kenny Lin from Tulsa, Oklahoma to win 1st place in the section for those under 15 years old. Charles Kinzel, McPherson, took home the 3rd place trophy.

The entrants got a special treat when Grandmaster Var Akobian played a simultaneous exhibition with many of the players before the start of the tournament. Afterward, he mingled with the young players, signing autographs, and posing for photographs with them. Akobian often sat with the players after their games were finished and went over their games play by play to help them better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Akobian stayed over in Lindsborg after holding two weeks of chess camps at the Karpov Chess School. Akobian has met and played Karpov in tournaments. “Karpov is one of my heroes,” said Akobian. Akobian will be going to Beijing, China this fall to represent the United States in the China Mind Games. In December, he will be part of a five-person team that will represent the United States in the Chess Olympiads that will be played in Dresden, Germany.

Joseph Stafford, Memphis, Tennessee, won the 1st place trophy in the section for players under 11 years of age. Zach Surch, a Kansan, won 2nd, and Ragen Sernel, Germantown, Tennessee, placed 3rd.

Kevin Nyberg, Garden City, was the assistant tournament director. “I considered this the calmest and most cordial scholastic chess tournament I have ever experienced in 30 years. I attribute this partially to the pleasantness of the tournament location, accommodations, and the friendliness of local volunteers,” said Nyberg. Volunteers stepped forward and worked the long hours in the concession stand at the high school.

The U.S. Chess Federation awarded the bid for the event to Lindsborg when organizers in New York failed to arrive at an agreement with the owners of the proposed site. Lindsborg also hosted the event in 2004. The U.S. Chess Federation, the Kansas Department of Commerce, and the Anatoly Karpov School of Chess made funding for the event possible.

The chess school hosts social chess every first and third Thursday of the month. It’s free and beginners are welcome. Additional details and photos of this event and other chess events can be found on the Karpov Chess School Web site: ###

World Champion Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess 106 South Main Street Lindsborg, Kansas 67456 (785) 227-2224

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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