Chicago Chess Community Raises Relief Funds for Ukraine

On March 26, 2022, Lakeshore Chess, in partnership with the Chicago Chess Center (CCC), hosted a special charity blitz and simul event at CineCity Studios, with all proceeds going to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

“Chess for Ukraine: A Charity Tournament & Simul” included a 7 double-round swiss blitz (G/3+2) tournament and an untimed tandem simultaneous exhibition with special guests GM Yaro Zherebukh (Illinois’s highest rated player), GM George Margvelashvili (Chicago’s newest GM transplant), and IM Eric Rosen (Chicagoland-raised gambiteering powerhouse).

Zherebukh Margvelashvili Rosen Ukraine Fundraiser 2022
(left to right) GM Yaro Zherebukh, GM George Margvelashvili, and IM Eric Rosen held a special tandem simul to raise money for relief efforts in Ukraine. Photo: Nathan Kelly, CCB

In addition to the three guest competitors, the event had 58 registrants, ranging in experience from FM Dalton Perrine (2239), and Aakaash Meduri (2172) to 15 unrated players, some making their US Chess-rated blitz debuts.

One game, captured by Nathan Kelly of the Chicago Chess Blitzers, features Aakaash Meduri playing an offbeat "Pterodactyl Defense" against Max Zinski. (Not one to adhere convention in blitz chess, Meduri once used a Grob to beat GM Hikaru Nakamura.)

(game transcription courtesy of Michael Thariath)

The simul, which had 36 boards split between Zherebukh, Margelashvilli, and Rosen, was an exciting and unique challenge for attendees to test their mettle against strong, titled players.

When the dust settled, Team Chicago managed to best the titled players in 3 of the 36 simul games, and some even pulled off upset wins in the blitz tournament. Most notably, FM Perrine took points from GM Zherebukh in Round 5 and from GM Margvelashvili in Round 12.

Photos: Nathan Kelly, Chicago Chess Blitzers

Between rounds, the special guests entertained attendees with stories and discussions of chess tactics and lore. Eric Rosen gave a quick lesson on a trap in the Stafford Gambit, for which he is, as Chicago Chess Center Treasurer Bill Brock puts it, “The Johnny Appleseed.”

(Annotations by Bill Brock)

Rumor has that, for a little icing on the cake, Zherebukh even held an impromptu blindfold exhibition to bring in some additional funds for the effort.

In total, the event raised $5,780 divided equally between HIAS, World Central Kitchen, Doctors Without Borders, and UNICEF.

The overall blitz tournament winners were:

1st – GM George Margvelashvili (12/14)
2nd / 3rd – GM Yaro Zherebukh (11/14)
2nd / 3rd – FM Dalton Perrine (11/14)

Other prize winners for the event included:


1st - Manmit Pantle (11/14)


1st (tied) – Eric Paniagua / Evan Spiegel (9/14)


1st - Michael Oulvey (8/14)


1st (tied) – Ran Chen / Whitman Kosak (7½/14)


1st (tied) – Stephen Mills / Paul Scott Hanrahan (7/14)


1st (tied) – Xinyi Wu / Rayan Nidal Khattabi (6/14)


You should have mentioned that after the Blitz in the afternoon there was free food [donations accepted] for the players. That included traditional Ukrainian foods such as cabbage rolls and pasha.

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