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Proleiko Repeats as CCSCSL Monthly Knights Champion

Julian Proleiko, who recently surged into the Expert class, won his second Monthly Knights championship in a row.

One of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis’ rising local stars, Julian Proleiko, became the 2014 Knights Champion after employing the Benko Gambit to upend Thalia Cervantes in the final round of the December Knights championship event.

Game analysis provided by Grandmaster Ben Finegold

The championship is the second straight for Proleiko, who successfully defended the title he shared last year with Ronit Kirumaki. There was no sharing in 2014, however, as Proleiko took clear first with wins from all three rounds, including games against NM Spencer Finegold and Aidan Johnson. With the title, Proleiko received the 2014 Knights Champion plaque and a free annual membership to the Club. Tying for second place with 2/3 were Cervantes, Manny Presicci, Scott Anderson and Mario Roper.

The monthly Knight’s tournament at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a regular-running event that starts fresh with each new month. The Swiss-style events offer one game per week, with each tournament usually containing four rounds -- with the exception of last December. The final month of 2014 was played over three Mondays and served as the Knights Championship event, where previous monthly Knights champions each earned a free seat to compete against each other for title of annual champion.

Four monthly champions returned for the championship event: Proleiko and Claudio Abud were co-winners of August, Presicci won October, and Finegold reigned supreme in June. Nine other competitors joined the 2014 finale, rounding December’s field out at thirteen players.

The monthly Knights tournaments serve as a great introduction to competitive chess, and are one of the best tools the Club provides to break through one level of chess skill to the next. The tournament typically draws between 10 and 30 players, with experience ranging from Club and beginning tournament players all the way up to master-level competitors. Reviewing your games is a widely agreed-upon method of quickly improving your chess, and an added bonus of the Knights is having each of your games annotated by the CCSCSL Resident Grandmaster, who helps identify mistakes and provides improvements on your moves. These GM annotations are sent directly to your email each week.

January’s edition of the Knights kicks off Wednesday, January 7, 2015. You can register for the Knights by calling the club at 314-361-CHESS or by seeing an associate at the front desk. Registration is $20 or $15 for annual members.