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Idaho Scholastic Championship: A Very Memorable Event!

Eighty-seven players participated in the 2022 Idaho Scholastic Championship held March 26 at the Riverside Inn in Garden City/Boise. The tournament, rated by US Chess, produced official grade-level champions for all of Idaho for grades K-12, determined

the national representatives from Idaho to participate in three of the US Chess Scholastic events that will happen July 30-August 2 in Rancho Mirage, California which happen alongside the 122nd US Open:

  • GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School (9-12) State Champions

  • Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions

  • John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School (K-5) State Champions

The Saturday event also determined the eligible players who could play in the Idaho Scholastic Tournament of Champions held the following day on Sunday, March 27, which decided the title of Idaho Scholastic Champion—a title that has existed since 1980 which has since been determined in various formats every year except

2020 (which didn’t happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

The Chief Tournament Director was Adam Porth with Jeff Price and Jeffrey Roland, as assistant TDs. Adam Porth was the sole TD for the Tournament of Champions. Refreshments (cookies and lemonade) were provided free to the players, and professional

photographs (over 1200 in all) were taken by Mike Hill Photography.

This was one of the more enjoyable Idaho Scholastic Championships I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve seen all of them since 1980 except for only two or three of them. There was just something special about this group of players, TD’s, parents, the chemistry, perhaps the stars themselves, but for whatever reason, this was an incredibly enjoyable event; it’s hard to remember ever witnessing a more pleasant and fun event that was also competitive at the same time as being fun.

In the past, the Tournament of Champions was offered to a certain number of top players in each section (top two or top three), and if a player couldn’t make it, no replacements were made. This resulted one time in as few as only two players in the event. (And

that event ended in a one-one tie!!) This year, ICA President Adam Porth came up with the brilliant idea to invite all players who scored four or more points on the first day to be invited to play in the Tournament of Champions as they were all Co-champions. Thirteen of the 14 invited/qualified players did in fact play, hence, I call this a brilliant idea by our ICA President.


The title of Idaho Scholastic Champion is awarded to Bryce Leifeste, who won the Tournament of Champions with 4.5 pts. Bryce also beat Kaustubh Kodihalli, Idaho's current and youngest State Champion.

Those who tentatively qualify (in this order) to represent Idaho for the national events that will happen July 30-August 2 in California:

To go for the title of 2022 Rockefeller National Champion, one player will be chosen to represent Idaho in this order of preference: 1) Olivia Ding, 2) Vladislav Nosarev, and 3) Candice Liang.

To go for the title of 2022 Barber National Champion, one player will be chosen to represent Idaho in this order of preference: 1) Kaustubh Kodihalli, 2) Linus Wannamaker, and 3) Darren Su.

To go for the title of 2022 Denker National Champion, one player will be chosen to represent Idaho in this order of preference: 1) Niall McKenzie, 2) Jacob Nathan, and 3) Finn Belew.

Grade-level Titles Awarded:

Grade K: Adithya Sriraj

Grade 1: Ravyn Salazar

Grade 2: Andrew Gao

Grade 3: Isabella Luo

Grade 4: Emma Gao

Grade 5: Leonardo Wang

Grade 6: Luke Wei

Grade 7: Andrew Beck

Grade 8: Christopher Hall

Grade 9: James Wei

Grade 10: Audrey Fourroux

Grade 11: Bryce Leifeste

Grade 12: Ty McClanahan

Upcoming ICA events in April and May will determine who Idaho will send to the John T. Irwin National Tournament of Senior State Champions and the WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions, both events will also be held alongside

the US Open mentioned earlier. So be sure to check out the website:

Tournament of Champions

9-12th grade

6-8th grade

K-5th grade

Some scenes:

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