Chess history happens in Rockford
On Saturday, May 6, Coach Roland Brown and “The Chess at the Church” of Miles Memorial CME Church hosted a Chess Simultaneous Exhibition, featuring Grandmaster and 2008 U.S. Chess Champion, Yury Shulman.
The competition took place at the cafeteria campus of Jefferson High School. GM Shulman was willing to play anyone who wanted to play him. People from all backgrounds and chess experiences came to play. All the games were played at the same time. This same event happened last year where GM Shulman played 52 contestants and won all 52 games.
This time, GM Shulman faced 51 opponents. He defeated 50 players and lost only once–to a 15-year-old Rockford native named Elijah Patterson.
Patterson is the son of proud parents Chris and Janet Patterson and his coach is Joe Guth. In order to make this authentic, the grandmaster had to sign the notation sheet of the game to verify the opponent won the match. GM Shulman honorably signed Elijah’s game.
According to sources, this makes the first time in Rockford’s Chess History that a Grandmaster lost to a challenger in Rockford.
This event has given Elijah the confidence to play better chess, as he went on to win the Orwell Open chess tournament in DeKalb, June 24. Patterson won 3.5 games out of four, defeating three opponents and drawing his last game. As a result, Patterson’s chess rating went up by several hundred points.