U.S. Junior & U.S. Senior Opens Headline Houston Chess Festival
By Franc Guadalupe   
July 7, 2011
GM Sergey Kudrin, Photo Jennifer Shahade 2006
In less than two weeks, the Hilton Hobby Airport Hotel in Houston will be the site of a Chess Festival that includes two National events:  The U.S. Junior Open (July 22-24), for  players under the age of 21 as of 1/1/2011, and the U.S. Senior Open (July 18-23), for players age 50 and over as of 7/18/2011.    For those who are not eligible for these two events, it will also have the Not-A-Senior-Not-A-Junior Open (July 22-24)!  In addition to these three main events, there will be Blitz and Bughouse side events as well as a tournament for the Parents and Friends of the U.S. Junior participants.  

Among the participants in the U.S. Senior is GM Sergey Kudrin (pictured to the left, USCF Rating 2614).  Local top junior player FM Warren Harper (pictured below, USCF Rating 2412) who returned recently from the U.S. Junior Closed has decided to play in the U.S. Junior Open and enters as top seed.

Warren Harper, Photo courtesy CCSCSL
The U.S. Junior Open has four sections:  U21, U15, U11, and U8 (age as of 1/1/2011).  The U21 will have cash prizes and plaques, and the winner gets an automatic spot in the 2012 U.S. Junior Championship, if still eligible by age.  The other three sections have trophy prizes.  All sections have Place and Class (age and rating) prizes and all participants receive commemorative medals.  In addition to the individual awards, the event will have team prizes and players are eligible to enter school or club teams!  Top four scores, minimum of three, count towards team scores in each section.  More information and on-line registration is available at active.com.

The U.S. Senior Open has 6-Day and 3-Day Schedules.  It has a guaranteed prize fund of $5,000 with the overall winner taking home $1,250!  This prize fund reflects an increase of $1,000 over last year’s.  The top three finishers get Commemorative Clocks and six class (age) winners will receive plaques.  The event is open to all players age 50 or over, and the top finisher born on or before January 1, 1951 is the official USCF entrant in the World Senior Chess Championship.  The early entries have already exceeded the attendance for last year’s event.  More information and on-line registration for this National Championship is available at active.com.

The Not-A-Senior-Not-A-Junior Open offers a Prize Fund of 70% of entries collected.  This event has four USCF rated sections:  Open (also FIDE rated), U2000, U1600/Unrated, and U1200.  More details and on-line registration is available at cajunchess.

The deadline for the early entry fee for both the U.S. Senior and U.S. Junior has been extended until July 11th.