Greater Peoria Chess Foundation

The Greater Peoria Chess Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to encouraging chess in our community and school systems. Chess helps students to develop many life skills that will help them as they navigate with challenges that lay ahead.


Garrett & Kolberg Tie the 25th BWO

Peoria's Daniel Garrett and Quad Cities Jason Kolberg tied for the title at the 25th annual Bradley Winter Open January 26th. Daniel appeared headed to a clear victory after beating Ben Boaz in the final round while Kurt Bendoraitis was upsetting Kolberg, but a last minute miscalculation turned the tables and let Kolberg win. Kurt still finished in the money.

Cold and snow hung around for the BWO caused a light turnout with some coming from Chicago & St.Louis calling to cancel the morning of the tournament.

Full crosstables and prizes can be found at the tournament site here.


The weather has had a chilling effect on our scholastic program this winter. The Brimfield tournament was ended abruptly on December 1st when a tornado was sighted some 20 miles south of us and rumored to be headed our way. The last round was stopped mid-round when players were directed to the designated shelters. Finished games were recorded and rated but not used for prizes. Games that were in play were just abandoned and prizes awarded on the basis of the previous rounds standings

Our first 2 January tournament were snowed out with over 6 inches of snowfall and cold temperatures. Schools were closed and police warned everyone to stay in their homes and off the streets.

Leali wins the 2018 Peoria Championship Finals 2-1 !!

Qualifiers - Standings - Games

Mike Leali wins the 2018 Peoria Championship after Alex Beecher missed a cunning trap in the third game of the match. After the first two games of the match, the score was tied at 1-1, with both Mike Leali & Alex Beecher winning with Black. Mike broke the Black curse by scoring the first playoff White win is several years. For Mike this was his 8th Peoria Championship win, more than any other player since it's revival in 1997.

After the two 6-man round robin semi-finals, NM Pete Karagianis & Alex Beecher, winner of the Bradley Summer Open, had qualified to meet in the final match to determine this year's champion. Pete was unable to play the final match and so Mike Leali, second place behind Karagianis in section A, took his place for the finals match.

The Monday night adult chess club now meets at the Life Together Center (formerly the Great Central Insurance Bldg) at Sheridan & War Memorial 7 to 11pm. (Click here to see the location on a map.)

GPCF Receives PPS Community Contribution Award
PPS Community Contribution Crystal Award

Peoria Public Schools awarded the 2017-18 Community Contribution Award to the Greater Peoria Chess Foundation at their June 11, 2018 Board meeting. GPCF provided chess sets and training software to PPS schools and supported a chess tournament at Von Steuben Middle School in 2017. Planned for 2018-19 are more tournaments and a program to provide low cost US Chess memberships to students.

Pete Karagianis Named US Chess Assistant Director of Events

Peoria's own Pete Karagianis has been named US Chess Assistant Director of Events.

"Pete’s calm demeanor, high energy and capable articulation will be valuable assets. He looks forward to sharing his vision of a quality event – a vision born from both his passion for the game and his wealth of experience within US Chess. We are happy to have him as part of our team." - US Chess.

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