Kraai Takes 1989 Denker Tournament

by Ira Lee Riddle

Reprinted from Chess Life, November 1989 with permission.

Jesse Kraai of Santa Fe, New Mexico emerged as the clear winner of the 1989 Arnold Denker Tournament of State High School Champions. The event was played during the 1989 U.S. Open in Chicago. Kraai, who scored 4 1/2 out of 5, entered the final round with a full point lead over six others, needing only a draw to win the $1000 prize. His game against Lael Kaplan of Washington, D.C. continued for over 60 moves, into the sudden-death time control, before Kraai earned his final half-point.

Kraai will be a senior this year and he plans to attend college after he graduates. He has previously won two other national titles but he credits much of his improved play to attending a summer chess camp and studying with GM Edmar Mednis.

His fourth-round game against Mike Gilner of Georgia put him into a full point lead.

Jim Schuyler of New York, the top-rated player, found himself out of the money when he failed to answer his alarm clock for the third round. (This was a constant problem, as one player forfeited on time in the second round, three in the third round, one in the fourth round, and