Sonam Ford took first place against a hundred other players on Saturday to give Ray School its second consecutive personal victory at a major citywide tournament.
By winning the Advanced section of the Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago’s meet at Gill Park, Sonam became the tournament’s overall champion, following in the footsteps of teammate Phillip Parker-Turner, who won the same honor a month ago at the YCFC’s previous meet.
The Bell Squad
However, just as Phillip suffered his only defeat of that day at the hands of Christopher Velazquez, Sonam also lost his fifth-round game on time to the Burbank Elementary School star after going 4.0/4 up to that point.
Ryan Toepfer of Decatur Classical School won the Intermediate division, and the Beginner’s section went to Ethan May of Bell. Both kids were playing in their first YCFC tournament. Ray second grader Allen Dai also won a trophy in the Intermediate section. Kenyon Edmond and Gonzalo Higuero represented the school in the Beginners group.
For the team trophy, which goes to the school with the top beginner’s section, it was a real donnybrook, only a few points separating the top four teams. Victory went to Bell Elementary, led by Coach Jim Altenbach, which was playing in its first YCFC tournament in several years. Bell inched out Burbank by a point, with Clinton and Disney close behind.
The foundation’s network is growing rapidly. Decatur and Darwin were the new arrivals at this tournament, and they followed closely on the heels of Fulton, Clinton, and Cook, which joined the league earlier this year.
YCFC's Saadiq Sajjaad and Disney Magnet School Coach Trevor Scott
Congratulations to the YCFC’s Mike Cardinale, John Lee, Saadiq Sajjaad, and their legions of volunteer helpers, for an excellent event. Next tournament: January 19 at Burbank Elementary School. Details to come.
Standings here. More photos here.