Faces of American Chess: Part I

US Chess invited submissions of National Chess Day events in October. And what we got overwhelmed us. Over 100 emails came in, featuring tournaments and simuls, friendly battles and funny moments. Photos of players from across the country were sent, representing the full span of American chess: men and women, boys and girls, people of every race, creed, and color under the sun. The sheer volume of entries, in fact, presented a bit of a problem for CLO. How best to present this fantastic snapshot of American chess at the end of the decade? In the end, we decided to take the best photos and submissions, and create a four-part “Faces of American Chess” series to wrap up the year. Here is the first installment. Enjoy.
1. Ellie Ghonsuli writes:
Our 7 year old son Leo is a chess fanatic. If he could he would play for hours straight. But as his parents, we can only take so much loss:) He started playing 2 years ago and never turned back. Neither myself or my husband play so we were quite intrigued with his sudden and immediate love for the game. For his upcoming 8th birthday this year, we asked him if he wanted a party or to attend the American Open Super States Scholastic tournament in Costa Mesa. Think you know what he chose...the tournament! He would be beyond thrilled to have a picture of himself in Chess Life - a publication he loves.
Well Leo, it's not Chess Life, but hopefully Chess Life Online is ok.

2. "Jeannie T" wrote to say that: "We are here this sunny morning with close to 200 Chess players enjoying National Chess Day in Hialeah Gardens, Florida @ Hialeah Gardens High School." 3. WIM (and frequent CLO contributor) Alexey Root, PhD, sent this note from Texas:
Renate Garcia’s Crusader Chess Club (El Paso, Texas) reached capacity for its third annual National Chess Day event. On October 12, 2019, the Judge Edward S. Marquez Branch of the El Paso Public Libraries hosted a non-US Chess member section, a non-US Chess member Open, an under-1200 rated tournament, and two All-Girls tournaments, one rated and one unrated (both open to all ages, to include moms and daughters). The US Chess-rated Crusader Open was won by National Master Benjamin Coraretti of New Mexico. Different-colored tablecloths differentiated the various tournaments and sections. But the players were unified by artwork, provided by Renate’s daughter Anneliese, of a Crusader-themed castle. Many photos were taken in front of that artwork, including one of a “yellow rose of friendship” ceremony. 1989 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion Alexey Root provided a video message of welcome. The Chief Tournament Director was Louis A. Reed Jr., Chief Assistant TD was Renate Garcia, and Assistant TD was Anthony Saldivar. The Crusader Chess Club National Chess Day entry fees were low: $5 for US Chess-rated sections, $3 for non-rated sections, and free for Texas Chess Association members. Trophies and awards were by C & M Plaque and Trophy (El Paso). The El Paso Public Libraries support chess throughout the year. Judge Edward S. Marquez Branch hosted the National Chess Day tournaments and hosts the Crusader Chess Club every Tuesday. On Mondays, the Crusader Chess Club meets at the Sergio Troncoso Branch and on Wednesdays it meets at the Irving Schwartz Branch. All meetings are free and open to all ages.
4. Here's the Sparta Chess Club (NJ) on National Chess Day. They meet annually on Lake Mohawk to celebrate the big day! Photo courtesy of Tom Murray. 5. It's youth against experience in Florida. Radina Haggard writes:
This is a picture of my 88 year old Daddy playing for the first time in 40 plus years at the August 2019 Howey-in-the-hills FL. Tournament. He played the youngest player, and I believe the boy is around 8 years old. Even though Daddy - Rafael E Catig Sr. - won, he said this boy played with great skills! The other picture is from the same tournament, his 2nd game against a seasoned chess player. Daddy won this game too! Not bad at all! Very proud of him!
6. David Day let us know about National Chess Day in Utah, where the Utah Open and an associated K-6 scolastic were held. National Chess Day cakes were also consumed. Yum! 7. Here's Harshith Akiti, who was in action on October 12th in Louisville, Kentucky. By the looks of things, he did pretty well at the tournament! 8. Douglas Reuel (FL) writes:
We had a double knock-out tournament at the YMCA today. Both kids & adults from our local club as well as scholastic clubs. It was a great National Chess Day event.
9. Bhavna Jain sent news from Dublin, CA.
To honor Chess and National chess day, Fallon Middle School Chess Club and Tri-Valley Masters Chess Club co-hosted a free Swiss tournament for kids. Almost 30 kids participated in the tournament. Tri-Valley Masters Chess Club is a non profit club running by parent coaches and volunteers. Similarly, Fallon Middle School Chess Club is also a amazing after school chess club with 85 middle school kids, running by parent coaches and parent volunteers. It got awarded best club in Bay Area by Mayor of Dublin. The passion of coaches toward this beautiful game is leading kids to touch new heights everyday. My best wishes to Fallon Middle School Chess Club and Tri-Valley Masters Chess Club.
10. Brennon Bass went 5-0 at the 10th Annual Scott Watson Memorial Scholarship Classic in Irving, Texas. Thanks to his mom, Holly Bass, for the photos. 11. Matthew Moore (Ruston, LA) forwarded this news from the Ruston Chess Knights.
The Ruston Chess Knights hosted a National Chess Day Celebration at the local library. Many people showed up to play chess including several who learned the game for the first time. (photo credit: Adam Mullins)
12. The Amelia Island (FL) Chess Club celebrated National Chess Day in style. Here's what Club President Thomas Rowan had to say:
Here in Fernandina Beach Florida, our local island art association (IAA) teamed up with our local chess club (Amelia Island Chess Club) and we created this chess set. We played our first games at 5pm on Saturday October 12. There were approximately 40 people in attendance and we played 6 games. In time the pieces will be sold and the artists will be given a second set to paint for next year's National Chess Day.

Watch CLO for the three remaining installments in the coming days!

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