Denker: HS (9-12) Information

40th Annual GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions

Revised January 12, 2024


The US Chess National State Invitationals Committee has compiled this list of suggestions designed as a Best Practice document for State Affiliates and State Scholastic Coordinators to assist in the process to determine, nominate, and assist their state’s representatives in having a successful experience playing in the Irwin, Denker, Haring, Barber, or Rockefeller tournaments held annually in conjunction with the U.S. Open. As a description of Best Practices, this document is not prescriptive; rather, it is based on lessons the committee has learned over the years.


GM Arnold Denker stated, “The invitational is intended to honor and recognize the finest chess player in each state.”

GENERAL INFORMATION

The GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions is an annual invitational event run by US Chess that has determined the Denker National Champion since 1985. The 2023 champion was International Master Arthur Guo (2536, GA), $18,519 in prizes will be awarded, including $5,800 to the champion. The champion will qualify for the U.S. Junior Championship and the World Youth Championship, as long as eligibility requirements are met. Any tournament-qualification prize will be determined by tiebreak—not by a playoff.

The next Denker will be held Saturday, July 27 - Tuesday, July 30, 2024 in Norfolk, VA at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel with hotel accommodations available using US Chess' reduced rate during the 124th Annual U.S. Open Chess Championship. If calling, mention U.S. Open Chess. NOTE:  If the host hotel’s room block is full, check out the US Open’s webpage for updates.   

Players who complete all 6 rounds of the Denker may register onsite at Chess Control for the U.S. Open’s 4-day schedule, 6-day schedule, or 9-day schedule (with byes) for 50% of the early registration fee.

QUALIFICATION

Each state affiliate may nominate 1 player to represent its residents in grades 9-12, and that state representative will receive free entry to the Denker. Washington, DC will be considered a state, and California will be considered 2 states (Northern California and Southern California). US Chess recommends the following methods of qualification, in descending order of preference:

1. A championship section that is restricted to state residents in grades 9-12 and that is part of a state championship tournament open to players in grades 9-12.

2. A section restricted to state residents in grades 9-12 with a high rating.

3. The highest-rated state resident in grades 9-12.

Ultimately, though, a state may determine its representative by whatever method of qualification it deems best—as long as the representative is a state resident (or was a state resident during the state qualifier), is in grades 9-12, and will be 19 years old or younger on September 1 of the year in which the Denker is held. If the representative is unable to compete, then the state may substitute its next highest qualifier as an alternate.

US Chess will email to each state a link to an online nomination form that must be completed by June 1st. US Chess reserves the right to appoint a representative for a state that fails to meet this deadline. After the deadline, an appointment made by US Chess will take precedence over an appointment made by the state. However, prior to US Chess’s appointment of a state representative, if the state were to inform US Chess of its desired appointment, then US Chess would honor the state’s selection.

To eliminate byes, the host state (the state in which the tournament will be held) may provide an alternate who will play only in rounds that have an odd number of players. If the alternate is not needed to play in a round, then the alternate will be paired for free in a concurrent round of the U.S. Open and in any concurrent U.S. Open side events. The alternate is eligible for prizes.

ELIGIBILITY

During the State Qualifier for the Denker

The representative must be enrolled in a curriculum approved by the state for grades 9-12. During or prior to the qualifier, the representative may also be enrolled either part-time or full-time at a college or university while still enrolled in high school. The representative must be a resident of the state the representative will represent. Each state may determine who is a state resident—but only of that state. Consequently, if a player were to be considered a resident by multiple states (say, both by the state in which the player maintains a home address, and by a different state in which the player attends school [day or boarding]), then the player would be eligible to represent multiple states and could compete in multiple states’ qualifying events; however, note below that a player may not represent multiple states.

During the Denker

A player may not represent multiple states—neither in the same national invitational for state champions, nor in multiple national invitationals for state champions. A player may represent only 1 state and may play in only 1 of the simultaneous national invitationals for state champions. Proof of eligibility is the responsibility of the representative and of the state certifying the representative. The representative must have a current US Chess membership.

After the Denker

The representative must be 19 years old or younger on September 1 of the year in which the tournament is held.

 

SCHEDULE for 2024

Date

Day

Time(s)

Activity

Notes

July 27

Saturday

10 AM - 1 PM

Blitz

Optional

 

 

1 - 2:45 PM

Check-in

Required. Check in early after Blitz to avoid scrum at 2:30 PM. Receive medallion & state flag.

 

 

3 - 4:30 PM

Opening Ceremony & Group Photos: Denker, Haring, Barber, & Rockefeller

Required

 

 

7 - 11 PM

Round 1

Same time as U.S. Open round

July 28

Sunday

12 - 4 PM

Round 2

 

 

 

5 - 6:30 PM

Reception: Denker, Haring, & Barber

Required. Light dinner buffet.

 

 

7 - 11 PM

Round 3

Same time as U.S. Open round

July 29

Monday

12 - 4 PM

Round 4

 

 

 

7 - 11 PM

Round 5

Same time as U.S. Open round

July 30

Tuesday

10 AM - 2 PM

Round 6

 

 

 

4:30 - 5:30 PM

Awards Ceremony

Gift certificates awarded here.

Cash prizes will be mailed.

Checking in onsite is mandatory prior to the opening ceremony.  Should travel or other reasons delay your arrival, contact the Chief Tournament Director of the Invitationals (CTDI) who may allow up to two half point byes. Players not checked in within 1 hour of the first round will not be paired.  Players checking in after that time will only be paired if the alternate is available otherwise will not receive any byes for the first round.  Notify the CTDI if you plan on being late.

All players, including the host state’s alternate, are required to attend the opening ceremony. Attendees should wear Smart Casual clothing.  T-shirts, tank tops, and shorts are not permitted. Photos will be taken for Chess Life, Chess Life for Kids, and state chess publications—so, look sharp. This dress code applies only to the opening ceremony.

RULES

The invitationals are prestigious national events in which the player represents their state.  Significant prizes are at stake. As such, players are required to play all 6 rounds of this Swiss tournament. Any player unable to play in a round or in the remainder of the tournament must notify the CTDI as soon as possible. This allows time for the CTDI to substitute or remove the host state’s alternate player, if needed.

A player:

  • Whose absence for any round is excused by the CTDI shall receive a half point bye for that/those round(s). The CTDI may grant up to two such byes.
  • Whose withdrawal from the tournament or forfeiture of a round has not been approved by the CTDI before the withdrawal/forfeiture is subject to disciplinary action by US Chess.
  • Who withdraws or is expelled from the tournament loses all rights to any prizes.
  • Whom the CTDI expels for violations of fair play shall have his/her case forwarded by the CTDI to the US Chess Ethics Committee for review. If the Ethics Committee finds that the player violated fair play, the player is subject to the full range of sanctions available to the Ethics Committee, including loss or suspension of US Chess membership and/or loss of the right to attend future national invitationals for state champions as deemed appropriate by the Ethics Committee. The player has the right to appeal a sanction imposed in accordance with the timeline and procedures given to the player upon notification of the sanction.

The tournament follows FIDE rules and is both FIDE-rated and US-Chess-rated. US Chess's National Scholastic Chess Tournament Regulations do not apply. The time control is G90 +30: 90 minutes base time with a 30-second increment added after each move. Players should bring a chess clock that supports time increment. US Chess will provide boards, pieces, and scoresheets—but not clocks. Players are required to furnish a complete and legible scoresheet at the conclusion of each round.

The default time is specified as 60 minutes from the start of the round.  Any player arriving 60 minutes or more after the start of the round will lose the game by forfeit.  If two players paired against each other are late for their game, upon the arrival of at least one player, the arbiter will adjust the clock so that both players will lose half the elapsed time from the start of the round to the player's arrival. While a player is playing in a round of a national invitational for state champions, the player may not play multiple games simultaneously. That is, a player may neither play multiple games simultaneously (for multiple states) in the same tournament, nor play multiple games simultaneously (neither for the same state, nor for a different state) in the national invitational for state champions and in another tournament (the U.S. Open, a side event of the U.S. Open, or any other tournament).

PRIZES

College/University Scholarships

  • 1st $5,000
  • 2nd $3,000
  • 3rd $2,000

If there are ties, then the scholarships will be awarded to the highest finisher, based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the scholarships will not be split. A recipient may use the scholarship at any school of higher learning. To redeem a scholarship, the recipient must contact US Chess’s Senior Accountant at Click here to show mail address, provide proof of enrollment in an institution of higher learning (will need student ID number), prove standing as at least a half-time student, and claim the scholarship prior to the recipient’s 26th birthday.

Cash Prizes

  • 1st $800
  • 2nd $500
  • 3rd $400
  • 4th $300
  • 5th $200 (each player tied for 5th will receive $100)

Ursula Foster 15U Memorial Award

The $500 Ursula Foster Memorial Award will be presented to the highest finisher 15 years old or younger as of the first day of the tournament. If there are fewer than 2 participants 15 years old or younger, then the award will go to the top finisher 16 years old or younger. There must be at least 2 eligible players for the award to be given. If there is a tie, then the award will go to the highest finisher based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the award will not be split.

Joanne Haskel Memorial Award

The $100 Joanne Haskel Memorial Award will be presented to the highest finisher with an under 2000 rating.  If there is a tie, then the award will go to the highest finisher based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the award will not be split.

Gift Certificates for U.S. Open Bookstore

State versus State Championship

The five national invitationals for state champions that run concurrently with the U.S. Open are:

The state whose representatives have the highest combined score will be recognized. Gift certificates for the U.S. Open bookstore will be awarded to each player from the 3 highest-scoring states $100, $80 and $70 respectively. In addition, gift certificates will be awarded to each player of the highest-scoring state whose players’ average rating is Under 2100 -  $60, Under 1900 - $50, or Under 1600 - $40. States must have at least 3 players from the 5 concurrent national invitationals for state champions to be eligible for team prizes. If the host state has 2 representatives in 1 or more of the 5 concurrent national invitationals for state champions, then only the representative’s score (not the alternate’s score) will count toward the team total. Ties for a team prize will be broken summing the team members individual Median, Solkoff then Cumulative tiebreaks. Each state’s Irwin (Senior: 50+) representative will be the state’s honorary captain.

Internet Chess Club (ICC) Membership

Each participant who completes all 6 rounds (including the host state’s alternate, if available for all 6 rounds) will receive a free, 1-year ICC membership valued at $70. If a participant is already a current ICC member, then the participant will receive a 1-year membership extension.

Awards Ceremony

Gift certificates must be picked up during the awards ceremony and may be redeemed onsite with the U.S. Open bookstore vendor or may be redeemed online at uscfsales.com within 6 months (no shipping charged). Cash prizes will be mailed and are intended to reimburse some players for tournament expenses. Note: The bookstore may not open until 7/30, so only those playing in the U.S. Open will be able to redeem on site.

5th ANNUAL FM SUNIL WEERAMANTRY NATIONAL BLITZ TOURNAMENT OF STATE CHAMPIONS

The FM Sunil Weeramantry National Blitz Tournament of State Champions is an annual invitational event run by US Chess that has determined the Weeramantry National Champion since 2020. The 2023 champions were FIDE Master Terry Luo (2396, DE) and FIDE Master Gus Huston (2438, NY).

Saturday, July 27, 2024, 10 AM – 1 PM. Optional. No entry fee. Open only to players in the 5 simultaneous national invitationals for state champions running concurrently with the U.S. Open: the Irwin, Denker, Haring, Barber, & Rockefeller. 5 sections: Championship (2100+), 1800-2099, 1500-1799, 1200-1499, & Under 1200. Prizes: $4,000 ($800 per section). Section eligibility and pairings determined strictly by US Chess Regular rating—no playing up. The tournament follows US Chess rules and is US-Chess-rated. 4DSS: 4 double rounds (players alternate as White & Black) with Swiss-system pairings. G3 +2: 3 minutes base time with a 2-second increment added after each move. Players must bring a chess clock, and it should support time increment. If neither player brings a clock to the board, then both players will forfeit the round. US Chess will provide boards and pieces—but not clocks. 9:45 AM: announcements & review rules. All Invitational players are welcome to register for the free, optional Weeramantry Blitz tournament by filling out an online form, the link to which will be emailed to them. No onsite signups.

Prizes for Each of the 5 Sections: Gift Certificates for the U.S. Open Bookstore

  • 1st $240
  • 2nd $200
  • 3rd $160
  • 4th $120
  • 5th $80

If there is a tie, then the prize will go to the highest finisher based on tiebreaks (1. Modified Median, 2. Solkoff, 3. Cumulative, and 4. Cumulative of Opposition); the prize will not be split.

SPONSORS

The primary sponsors are US Chess Trust, Anonymous, US Chess, US Chess: Susan Percy Rockefeller Book Fund, and the Internet Chess Club (ICC).

TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATIONS

Players are responsible for arranging and financing their travel and accommodations. Players sharing rooms should make their arrangements carefully, as neither US Chess, nor the tournament sponsors are responsible for any consequences arising from such arrangements. Please note that registration in a hotel room requires the presence of a person at least 21 years old.

CONTACT INFORMATION & CONFIRMATION OF PARTICIPATION

US Chess will email to each state a link to an online nomination form that must be completed by June 1st. Soon thereafter US Chess will contact parents, who are required to confirm a player’s participation.

INFORMATION FOR ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS

Consistent with the Guidelines for Accessible Chess Events, requests for reasonable accommodations during the event should be made 2-3 weeks before the event. Requests for accommodations made on site will be handled to the best of our ability. All requests should be made to Click here to show mail address.

QUESTIONS?

Contact the Chair of US Chess’s National Tournaments of State Champions Committee, Mike Nietman, at Click here to show mail address or 608.467.8510 (landline; no texting) prior to Wednesday, July 24.

If a tournament-related situation arises that is not covered by the text above, then it will be resolved by the Chair of US Chess’s National Tournaments of State Champions Committee.