The “SuperNationals” tournament has become a mainstay in American chess events and has been wildly successful since its inception. The fourth rendition of the tournament attracted more than 5000 students from kindergarten to 12th grade and feature some of the country’s brightest talent. These students are competing for glory and the chance to win a college scholarship and other prizes. There are 1515 teams from 47 states competing… including Hawaii. (see list) What is amazing is that the U.S. rarely produces elite talent from this massive pool of players.
Garry Kasparov at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2009 SuperNationals.
There are usually a number of chess celebrities at SuperNationals. This year it was Garry Kasparov, Susan Polgar and Maurice Ashley who are some of the most recognizable chess personalities. Current standouts in American professional chess are Alexander Shabalov, Alexander Stripunsky and Yury Shulman, all U.S. Champions, past and present. Polgar is representing her organization (Polgar Chess University), has a son competing and is also recruiting. In my opinion, she is the best promoter of chess in the U.S. and has done more than anyone else in this regard.
The beauty of the SuperNationals is that this tournament represents so much hope for its players who come at so many different levels and from so many different circumstances. Some of the well-heeled schools have private coaches and trainers and then others have volunteers who use their own funds. These tournaments represent a impactful event in the lives of these young participants and perhaps they will encourage their children to participate in this tradition.
If you were at the SuperNationals, post your comments here!