Dewain Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions:
When GM Arnold Denker asked me to assist with the creation of the Denker Tournament of High School Champions in 1984, I had many questions that needed to be answered. We were able to get the motion to create the event before the U.S. Chess Federation Delegates and it was approved. One question lingered in the back of my mind and it had to do with this comment: GM Denker said, “This is an event for High School Champions.” I asked several times the question, “What if a Grade 8 or below were to win the State Championship?” He replied, “We will select the highest finishing 9-12 player.”
Using the words, “High School Champions” is a very distinct group and back at that time stronger young players were showing their skills. Thus, we proceeded with the Denker and as it turned out that tournament has seen 847 players compete in the Denker Invitational at the US Open from 1985 till 2013. Our Denker Alumni reflects the Masters and GMs that appear today in many of our tournaments.
About three years ago I was reviewing how we could create a “Denker style” event for the lower grades. Several parents over many years have asked us to have their child play in the Denker when their child did not qualify based on grade. I continue to support GM Denker’s wishes and spoke to several persons in the Scholastic community about several invitational events for K-6 and 7-8. We settled on a K-8 event. It was approved by the USCF Delegates and the first installment of the Dewain Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions was held at the 2011 US Open in Orlando. Besides prize funds the First Place finisher on tie-breaks for the Barber event is qualified for the World Youth Championship.
I look forward to greeting the Barber K-8 Champions from each state at the US Open year after year. I know some of them will also play in the Denker event in the future. Thanks again to GM Denker for being the driving force behind a great idea!