In the Olympics, each country is invited to participate and winners receive medallions. I created the Denker Medallion to honor all participants who represent their state in the GM Arnold Denker Tournament of High School Champions.
I remembered seeing a show that did an interview with one of our Olympic Gold Medal winners. As the interview proceeded, the commentator asked to see the medallion that had been presented to our national representative. As he held the medallion in his hand, the commentator said, “I did not realize how heavy this is.” I thought that if we presented medallions they should not be the thin, small award that is found in many scholastic events. We needed a medallion that had some size and weight to it.
I located a company that could make our Denker Medallion, but now the challenge was what design should I use? Would it be a king, rook, bishop, knight or pawn? Everyone knows the knight is the symbol of the game of chess so I started looking at different designs for the knight figure. Using the chess figurine charts I came across many knights that were highly decorative and some that were ultra-modern. This simple task had now become very complicated. So, how did I decide?
Putting aside the figurine charts for a few days I continued to fill orders for my company, American Chess Equipment. It was ACE that would pay for these medallions if I could just figure out which design I wanted and get on with it.
ACE had designed a chess set called the Ultimate set. In order to have the set produced, we needed a diagram for each of the pieces with exact measurements. I realized that the knight design was already in my possession and could be used on the medallion. Since that time, ACE has provided a Denker Medallion to every player who steps forward when his or her name and state are called.