It’s an amazing streak no matter what the competition, and it’s currently alive and still a work in progress on the South Dakota scholastic chess scene. Just what is this streak? 6th grader Michael Knudson of Rapid City Scholastic Chess is this streak, as he garnered his 7th consecutive individual state title at the 2011 SD Scholastic Chess Championships held on Saturday, April 2, 2011, at the Radisson Hotel Rapid City in Rapid City, SD. This time it was Michael’s first title in the K-8 section of the tournament, to go along with his previous six titles in the K-3 & K-5 sections. Without a doubt, it is testament to his commitment to the game of chess, and his willingness to continue learning everything he can about the game. With this victory, he now becomes the designated representative of the SD Chess Association for the Dwayne Barber National Tournament of K-8 Champions, to be held in late July 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 US Chess Open in Orlando, Florida.
Joining Michael as one of the four individual state champions for 2011, are Manu Nair of Discovery ES, Sioux Falls, SD, as the K-3 winner; Noah Johnson of Rapid City Scholastic Chess, Rapid City, SD, as the K-5 champion; and Josiah Jorenby of Brookings Home School, Brookings, SD, as the K-12 winner on tiebreaks over Jerry John Casteel III of Rapid City Home School, Rapid City, SD. As part of an agreement between Jorenby & Casteel, Casteel will serve as the designated representative of the SDCA for the Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School Champions, also to be held in late July 2011 in conjunction with the 2011 US Chess Open in Orlando, FL.
In addition to the individual competition of the annual state scholastic tournament, there is always the team portion of the competition. The top three qualifying teams in each section are recognized for their efforts, but there can be only one state team champion. Repeating their performance in the K-3 section from 2010, the Garretson ES K-3 team from Garretson, SD, again resoundingly won the state title in the K-3 section. In the K-5 section, top honors went to the dominant Garfield Challenge Center & ES from Sioux Falls, SD. The Garretson MS K-8 team from Garretson, SD, repeated their 2010 performance as well, overwhelmingly winning the state team title in the K-8 section. Lastly, with only one qualifying team in the K-12 section, the K-12 team from Brookings Home School, Brookings, SD, walked away with their first ever state team title.


The annual state tournament held at the Radisson Hotel was directed by Terry & Jill Likens, officials with the SDCA, and emceed by Bob Boland, SDCA Scholastic Committee Member. To see more photos go to: www.sdchess.org/photos/2011%20SD%20Scholastic%20Championship/

Complete results (top finishers only) are as follows:

K-3 (primary) Individuals:

1. Manu Nair, Discovery Elementary School, Sioux Falls, 4.0/5

2. Samuel Biren, Garretson Elementary School, Garretson, 3.5/5

3. Jayden Clark, Garretson Elementary School, Garretson, 3.5/5

4. Brayden Beaner, Garretson Elementary School, Garretson, 3.5/5

5. Neil Peltier, Rapid City, 3.5/5

K-3 (primary) Teams:

1. Garretson Elementary School, Garretson, 13.5/20

2. Rapid City Scholastic Chess, Rapid City, 6.0/20

3. Corral Drive Elementary School, Rapid City, 4.5/20

K-5 (elementary) Individuals:

1. Noah Johnson, Rapid City Scholastic Chess, Rapid City, 5.0/5

2. Benny Kellar, JFK Elementary School, Sioux Falls, 4.0/5

3. Cash Lapour, Garfield Challenge Center & Elementary School, Sioux Falls, 4.0/5

4. Ian Michael Kock, Garfield Challenge Center & Elementary School, Sioux Falls, 4.0/5

5. Evan David, Garfield Challenge Center & Elementary School, Sioux Falls, 4.0/5

K-5 (elementary) Teams:

1. Garfield Challenge Center & Elementary School, Sioux Falls, 15.0/20

2. Corral Drive Elementary School, Rapid City, 11.5/20

3. Garretson Elementary School, Garretson, 10.5/20

K-8 (middle school) Individuals:

1. Michael Knudson, Rapid City Scholastic Chess, Rapid City, 5.0/5

2. Avery Schroer, Georgia Morse Middle School, Pierre, 4.0/5

3. Eddie Yermolinsky, Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls, 3.5/5

4. Luke T. Rysavy, O’Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, 3.5/5

5. Joshua Powell, Garretson Middle School, Garretson, 3.0/5

Consolation Awards (tied for 5th place in overall points, but not in tie breaks)-

6. Nathaniel Boland, Garretson Middle School, Garretson, 3.0/5

7. Jacob Liester, Garretson Middle School, Garretson, 3.0/5

K-8 (middle school) Teams:

1. Garretson Middle School, Garretson, 11.5/20

2. Rapid City Scholastic Chess, Rapid City, 6.0/20

3. Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls, 5.5/20

K-12 (high school) Individuals:

1. Josiah Jorenby, Brookings Home School, Brookings, 3.5/4

2. Jerry John Casteel III, Rapid City Home School, Rapid City, 3.5/4

3. Matt Wingert, St. Thomas Moore High School, Rapid City, 2.0/4

4. Malavika A. Nair, Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls, 2.0/4

5. Destiny Jorenby, Brookings Home School, Brookings, 1.0/4

K-12 (high school) Teams:

1. Brookings Home School, Brookings, 4.5/16

For further information about the 2011 SD Scholastic Chess Championships, please contact Tournament Director Terry Likens at (605) 593-7337, or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.