Charles Swan Jr. and his father Charles Swan Sr.Charles Swan Jr. received the first Isaac Braswell Memorial High School Chess Prize at Evanston Chess Club on June 8. Swan earned the prize by being the highest-rated African American senior year player in IHSA chess. He played board two for the Whitney Young High School chess team that won the 2013 IHSA championship, and he is an active USCF player with a 1935 regular rating. Swan received the $300 award during the Second Annual Isaac Braswell Memorial Blitz Tournament. In accepting the award, Swan thanked the club for sponsoring an award in honor of Braswell, who Swan knew, respected and played against over the years.

Swan, who is headed off to Ohio State University to study business, started playing chess when he was five. His first major chess win came at the Supernationals, where he tied for 2nd place in the unrated K-8 section as a fourth grader. He has studied the game with his father Charles Swan Sr., Wayne Smith and IM Angelo Young.

University of Illinois student and former IHSA player Michael Auger was the clear winner of the Second Annual Braswell Memorial Blitz tournament with 9.5 out of a possible 10 points. The event drew a strong field of 22 players including six who have attained expert or higher ratings. Matthew Wilber, David Franklin, Jordan Cohen and Robby Hecht all tied for second place with 7.0 points each. Fred Rhine and Rob Eamon were third place with 6.0 points. All proceeds from the tournament will go to future Braswell prizes.

Special thanks go to to Penny Rosemont, who donated a weighted chess set and deluxe travel bag, for first prize. Thanks also to Ted Moon, who also donated chess supplies that we sold to help fund future Braswell prizes.

Isaac M. Braswell (1979-2012) was one of the strongest active African American chess players in the Chicago area. He reached a peak USCF rating of 2104 (expert level), in spite of poverty, disability and health challenges. Everyone who knew Isaac remembers what a friendly, funny, enthusiastic and kind person he was, even as he was a fierce competitor over the board. Isaac’s friendships crossed all lines of race, age, class and profession, and chess was one of many ways he connected with others. Isaac probably played chess everywhere in Chicago; he was a regular at Evanston Chess Club and many other clubs, as well as a member of a Chicago Industrial Chess League team. In February 2012 he played for an Evanston Chess Team at the US Amateur Team-North championships.