Greater Peoria Chess Foundation

The Greater Peoria Chess Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to encouraging chess in our community and school systems. Chess helps students to develop many life skills that will help them as they navigate with challenges that lay ahead.

Players / Organizers

The Peoria Chess History Project is an ongoing effort to collect information about our local chess player and chess playing history. Peoria has a deep history with chess that goes back almost one hndred years (or maybe longer). The original Peoria Chess Association was 40th affiliate of the USCF in the entire nation. As time permits we will add other names to the list here. If you have information regarding our chess history, please let us know. Currently we are specifically looking for names of players/organizers who have played a significant part in Peoria chess history. Notes about their contributions would also be appreciated. There is no intention to slight anyone, if someone is left off, it's only my short term memory loss.


Anderson, Jess Jess Anderson was a Peoria chess player and organizer in the late 40s and early 50s. Jess was an early Kingsmen Chess Club president and was also instrumental in organizing of the Peoria Industrial Chess League in 1943.
Anderson, Phil
Babcock, Glen
Beecher, Alex *
Chapin, Bob
Cohen, Patrick *
Cramer, Hank Hank Cramer was a Peoria chess player and organizer in the late 40s and early 50s. He is famously credited for founding the original Peoria Chess Association and was also instrumental in organizing of the Peoria Industrial Chess League in 1943.
Crum, Alba
Crum, Randy *
Fei, Andrew *
Felker, Mark
Gardner, Bruce
Garrett, Daniel *
Hartwig, Art Art Hartwig was an expert level player and organizer in the 1940s & 50s. He was club champion from 1946-48 and played into his 90s. He also saved the 1945 US Open when World War II threatened to cancel the Open. He convinced Caterpillar to sponsor the tournament at the Peoria Pere Marquette Hotel.
Hodge, John John Hodge was a chemist at the Northern Regional Labs and played on their Peoria Chess League championship teams in the late 40s and early 50s. A strong player, he continued to play into the 90s.
Karagianis, Pete *
Kunche, Nikhil
Leali, Mike *
Lutes, W John John achieved a Master rating after winning the 1961 Indiana Championship and the 1966 Pennsylvania State Open Championship. Lutes also won the Indianapolis City Championship many times, the Columbus, Ohio Championship, as well as the Springfield & Peoria Championships. He authored nine books on the openings and became known worldwide for his exhaustive research in chess
Lybarger, Dean
Lyons, Chet
Mabee, Tom
Mathison, Wayne
McConaghie, Pete *
McEntee, Tim
Menz, Gene
Millard, Ron
Naff, Bill *
O'Russa, Lorence
Pocklington, Bob
Rhodes, Murrel *
Roecker, John
Rosenfeld, Irving
Saberhagen, Harold
Shipman, Ray
Smit, Tom
Suarez, Ron *
Taylor, Tom *
Vernon, Jim *
Voss, Andy
Webb, Jolly *
Wilkinson, Bill
Witte, Bill
Zimmerle, Wayne *


* Indicates still active in Peoria Chess.