Aiming to break out of the pack and make a run for the championship of the United States Chess League, the Chicago Blaze has added five marquee players to this year’s roster, including 2008 U.S. chess champion GM Yury Shulman.
Also joining the team are Grandmaster Josh Friedel, FIDE Master Jim Dean, and National Masters Gopal Menon and Sam Schmakel. Sam is a student at Chicago’s Whitney Young Magnet High School, where he led the school to this year’s Illinois state chess championship.
The new players join five veteran Blazers: Grandmaster Dmitry Gurevich, the current Illinois chess champion; Grandmaster Mesgen Amanov and International Masters Florin Felecan and Angelo Young, all previous state champions; and National Master Eric Rosen, the current national high school chess champion. Eric played a key role in the success of Niles North High School’s chess team this year, which finished second in Illinois and in fourth place nationally. Here’s the whole roster:
GM Yury Shulman
GM Joshua Friedel
GM Mesgen Amanov
GM Dmitry Gurevich
IM Angelo Young
IM Florin Felecan
FM Jim Dean
NM Eric Rosen
NM Gopal Menon
NM Sam Schmakel
The team coach for the second year will be Daniel Parmet, who steered the team to its first playoff finish last year.
The Blaze will begin its fourth year in the USCL with a match against the Seattle Sluggers on Wednesday night, August 31. The rest of the schedule is here. Once again the Blaze will play its games at the North Shore Chess Center, 5500 West Touhy, Suite A, in Skokie. Fans can follow the action live on the Internet Chess Club.
Fans are welcome to follow Blaze matches live on the Internet Chess Club. They can also follow the team on Twitter and at the Blaze fan page on Facebook.
Photo: GMs Yury Shulman and Mesgen Amanov