The Denker Family

GM Arnold Denker was the founder of this tournament that is named after him.  He continued to support and assist in the development of this event from its inception until he passed away in 2005.  Upon his passing the second generation of the family, Mitchell Denker, GM Denker’s son, stepped up and provided support and financial assistance for this event until his death in 2013.  The family continues to assist in the continuing goal of bringing together the Champions from each state into this special invitational.  Please take the time to read the following two articles:  GM Arnold Denker: The Legacy, and The Denker Legacy Continues: Interview with Mitchell Denker

American Chess Equipment, Inc.

ACE KnightAmerican Chess Equipment, Inc. has been a provider of chess sets, chess boards, chess pieces, and chess clocks, as well as travel and magnetic chess sets since 1982. Dewain Barber started the business when he needed chess equipment for his school chess club. The best quantity discount he could get on chess equipment was 10% off. This inspired him to buy a large quantity of chess sets and sell them to other chess coaches at his cost. His business grew and developed from there.  The company was sold in March 2012 to Shelby Lohrman, a long time chess equipment vendor.  Shelby has maintained a quality customer service policy. American Chess Equipment sponsors two free chess tournaments every year: the Staser Fall Scholastic at the Great Park in Irvine, CA and the Morrison Scholastic in the springtime. The company also provides a Gold Medallion for the participants of the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, as well as the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions.  Feel free to visit their website:  amchesseq.com

US Chess Trust

Chess Trust logo   The U.S. Chess Trust is an independent 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.  Created in 1967, the Trust was organized to promote, stimulate and encourage the study and play of the game of chess as a means of intellectual development.  The Trust uses its resources for charitable purposes, including social, educational, scientific, historical endeavors. The Trustees act without compensation, and are dedicated to the U.S. Chess Trust’s mission. The U.S. Chess Trust’s focus is an outgrowth of similar activities formerly carried out by the U.S. Chess Federation . They promote and support chess in the community through their programs, and by providing resources that help support their mission.  In addition, they also actively support charities conducted by the USCF and other chess organizations.  Their financial support with the prize fund is appreciated.  Visit their website at:  uschesstrust.org


USChessLogoThe United States Chess Federation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) membership organization devoted to extending the role of chess in American society.  US Chess promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, but also as a means for the improvement of society. It informs, educates, and fosters the development of players (professional and amateur) and potential players. It encourages the development of a network of institutions devoted to enhancing the growth of chess, from local clubs to state and regional associations, and it promotes chess in American schools. To these ends, US Chess offers a monthly magazine, Chess Life, as well as targeted publications to its members and others. It supervises the organization of the US Chess Championship, an open tournament that is held every summer, National Scholastic Championships and other national events. It offers a wide range of services to its members. It serves as the governing body for chess in the United States.  In addition, it participates in international chess organizations and projects. It is structured to ensure effective democratic procedures in accordance with its bylaws and the laws of the state of Illinois.

The US Chess provides the playing site, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, a National Tournament Director at the US Open location each year and 1/2 entry to the US Open after the Denker’s six rounds are concluded.  The national organization’s website is:  uschess.org


ICC_logo web“Serious Chess, Serious Fun”/”Where the Grandmasters Play” and the Denker is pleased to have their sponsorship.  Each of our participants will receive a two year free membership and if a current participant is already a member then they will receive an extension of two years on their current membership.  This two year membership will become available upon completion of the six rounds of this year’s GM Denker Tournament of High School Champions.  Check out their membership program for all ages:  chessclub.com

Ursula Foster Award

by Joan DuBois

Ursula Foster Memorial Chess Gift Awarded at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions




Ursula Lowenbach Foster, Holocaust survivor and former classmate of the now famous Anne Frank (author of ‘Diary of Anne Frank’), died in Modesto, CA, in August of 2004.  She was 77 years old.

In 1938, at 11 years old, Mrs. Foster fled Germany with her family to Amsterdam to escape Nazi persecution.  Two years later, Germany conquered the Netherlands, and brought the same persecution to the Foster’s new home.  The last time she saw her older brother, Ernst, was July 14, 1942, when at age 18 he was arrested by the Nazis, and sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland, where he died in the gas chambers.

Mrs. Foster is mentioned by name in the book written by Anne Frank.  Her time of hiding was fraught with danger, fear, and deprivation.  It was during this time that her father taught her how to play chess.  On her 16th birthday, she was confronted by two Nazi officers, and narrowly escaped imprisonment when one of the men realized she looked remarkably like his own daughter, and chose instead to walk away.  Throughout her life, she kept the yellow star, inscribed with “Jood” (Jew) that she’d been forced to wear as a child.

Though a shy woman, she lent her time and experience to school children at Modesto area schools, giving talks about the Holocaust and its horrific impact on her life and those of her family and friends.  She was a civic volunteer, working with the Memorial Medical Center, driving cancer patients to and from medical appointments, and promoting literacy by delivering books to shut-ins and reading to underprivileged children.

Her sons are establishing the scholarship to continue their mother’s work and sense of civic duty, and keep alive her love of the game and devotion to young people.

(Editor’s note) Mrs. Foster’s sons, Rick and Cliff Lester, provide a scholarship of $500 awarded through the Chess Trust to the Top Player, age 16 and under, from the Denker Tournament of High School Champions. The Ursula Foster Award was created in memory of their mother’s life and dedication to young chess players.