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Denker Tournament of High School Champions

The Denker Tournament of High School Champions is a chess tournament that occurs annually in the United States alongside the US Open, Dewain Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions, and National Girls Invitational. The tournament is named for the founder, Arnold Denker and is usually referred to as "The Denker".


The Denker Tournament of High School Champions was started by Arnold Denker in 1984.


This chess tournament is by invitation only. Each United States Chess Federation sanctioned state affiliate, including Northern California, Southern California, and Washington, D.C., is allowed to send one player. If there is an odd number of players, the host state is allowed to send a second player to compete and win prizes.

Each state affiliate can use any method they wish to choose their representative. Many state affiliates have chosen to hold one tournament, usually their state championship tournament, as the qualifier. The highest finishing high school player from the high school championship division, is then chosen as the state representative. If no player is chosen, or for some reason cannot attend, the United States Chess Federation will instead contact the second place finisher or designated alternate to determine if they wish to attend.


The tournament has multiple sponsors. The US Chess Trust provides scholarship money for the top players; based upon final rank. Mitchell Denker, son of Arnold Denker, provided funding for many of the prizes.

Players who are under the age of 16 are also eligible to win another scholarship. The Ursula Foster Scholarship provides $500 to the best finish by a competitor under 16. If there are no players under 16, it goes to the best finish by a player under 17.


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