ST. LOUIS, July 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- After nine rounds of fighting chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) crowned 15-year-old International Master Akshat Chandra as the 2015 U.S. Junior Closed Champion. Chandra is from Inselin, NJ.
For the sixth consecutive year, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) hosted the country's top young chess players in Saint Louis, the nation's Chess Capital, at the U.S. Junior Closed Championship from July 7-15, 2015. The event is the most prestigious chess tournament in the country for junior players under the age of 21 and is an excellent opportunity for them to experience playing in a professional tournament atmosphere.
Chandra began playing chess at the age of nine, during a visit to India – a relatively late start compared to most leading chess players who learn the game at the age of five or six. When his family relocated to India for nearly four years, Chandra was unable to play his favorite sports of basketball and football, so chess filled the competitive void.
Chandra is the highest ranked junior rapid chess player in the country, and is among the leading junior blitz players in both online and on-board chess. He is the 2015 K-12 U.S. National Champion in both classic and blitz forms of the game. In 2013, Chandra won the K-9 Super Nationals Championship, the Under-18 North American Youth Championship, and achieved his international master title as well.
"It was an incredible honor; I went into this tournament with the attitude that I wanted to win it," said Chandra. "I want to play Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So and Fabiano Caruana and others like them."
Players competed for more than $20,000 in prizes, and more importantly, an automatic invitation to the 2016 U.S. Championship, the nation's top invitational chess event.
"We're always impressed with the young chess talent that competes in the U.S. Junior Closed Championship, and this year was no exception. The future of U.S. chess looks very bright," said Tony Rich, executive director of the CCSCSL. "Akshat Chandra played a great tournament; we're thrilled to have him join us next year for the U.S. Championship and to continue following his exciting career."
Previous winners of the Junior Closed Championship include GM Bobby Fischer, GM Larry Christiansen, GM Patrick Wolff, IM Joshua Waitzkin, GM Tal Shaked, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Robert Hess, GM Ray Robson and GM Sam Shankland.
For more information, visit www.uschesschamps.com.
About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis
The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.
Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.
SOURCE Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis