Gregory Young Crowned Junior Chess Champion

In the closing ceremony Sunday, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) crowned National Master Gregory Young, 16, of San Francisco, the 2011 U.S. Junior Closed Champion.

The Junior Closed Championship is an invitation-only tournament that features the top chess players in the nation under the age of 21. Alongside the U.S. Chess Championship and U.S. Women’s Championship, the Junior Closed Championship completes the “Triple Crown” of chess as the three most prestigious tournaments in the country.

“I’m practically speechless,” Young said after clinching the title. “Even getting invited to play at this incredible chess club in St. Louis is amazing enough. I wasn’t even thinking about results. I was thinking about it as a tournament to get back into rhythm and play.”

Young beat out nine other players in a round-robin tournament to clinch the title and the first-place prize of $3,000. As the winner of the U.S. Junior Closed Championship, Young also will receive an invitation to the 2012 U.S. Championship, scheduled to be held in St. Louis next year, and the 2011 World Junior Championship, scheduled to be held in August in Chennai, India.

“Gregory fought hard each and every round and demonstrated incredible determination and focus,” said Tony Rich, executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “We hope his fighting spirit will serve to inspire young chess players here in St. Louis and all across the country.”

The junior tournament’s total winnings for first through last place total $10,300. Young will compete next year in St. Louis for the 2012 U.S. Chess Championship, which features the top players in the nation.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit organization that is committed to making chess an important part of 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.

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Rakesh Raman