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Zapata wins Challengers OKC Spring 2014 Chess Open Print E-mail
By Tommy Hay   
March 24, 2014
LeadHay2.jpgFIDE expert level chess player 23-year-old John “Alexander” Zapata Hincapie won 1st Place at the Challengers OKC Spring 2014 Open by winning all 4 Rounds.  He defeated both former and current Oklahoma state champions on his path to victory.

Current Oklahoma state champion, Charles Unruh, Jr., won 2nd Place, Shaun Graham-Bowcaster placed 3rd, and Dr. J. A. Montero finished 4th.   

John Alexander is from Medellin, Colombia and just came to the USA on December 31, 2013.  “Alex” as his friends call him, is on scholarship attending Oklahoma University in Norman, Oklahoma. He plans to get his PHD in Chemical Engineering and he is a FIDE rated “2007” level player who has won many tournaments. His new USCF provisional rating is now 2184 – just 16 points away from the master level.

Alex said his mother taught him to play chess when he was 7 years old but he didn’t start playing competitively until he was 14 years old when he was asked to represent his elementary school in a tournament.  He placed 3rd in that tournament and said to himself “maybe chess was a good sport to practice since I apparently had a natural talent for it.”

When asked if he wants to become a master chess player he said, “I planned that some years ago. Now I just play chess for fun.”

When asked about his aspirations, Alex said, “The long answer is: I want to be a researcher who can have a huge impact in other people’s life through my work. The short answer is: I want to change the world (for the better) through science.”

Charles Unruh, Jr is 28-years-old and he is currently the reigning Oklahoma State Champion and will have to defend his title in June. Charles serves on the Oklahoma Chess Association Board and is also a Tournament Director. His father Charles “Chuck” Unruh Sr. is a previous Oklahoma state champion and a master level player and serves as President of the OCA Board and Tournament Director as well.

The Challengers’ tournament was a 4 Round Swiss System, Time: G45/d5 tournament.  Twenty-two of the state of Oklahoma’s top active USCF rated chess players competed for the 1st and 2nd Place trophies as well as the 1st Place cash prize of $100.00.

The Challengers OKC Spring 2014 Open was held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 at the Kamps1910 Café located just 2 blocks east of Broadway on NE 10th Street in downtown Oklahoma City.  The next Challengers tournament is tentatively set for May 17.