South Dakota has a new chess champ


Jerry John Casteel III of Rapid City is the top chess player in South Dakota.  (courtesy photo)

by Mark Derby, SD Chess Association

The SDCA (South Dakota Chess Association) held their annual championship at LaQuinta Inn & Suites over the weekend of October 12th & 13th.

Seventeen year old Jerry John Casteel III of Rapid City won the SDCA Championship  with a perfect score.  Jerry won all 5 games and had no losses or draws (tie games) during the contest that drew 20 participants from around the state.  Jerry won the Junior Championship in 2007 but this is his first win of the annual chess tournament that is open to South Dakota residents of all ages.


Jerry John Casteel III

Jerry attended a week long chess camp at a private college in Northfield, MN held in July.  He attained his USCF (United States Chess Federation)Chess Coach Certification in July 2013 and has been a  USCF Tournament Director since 2012.  Jerry is the head coach at several elementary and middle schools in Rapid City and can be found on-line playing at

SDCA has records of South Dakota Chess Champions dating back to 1922 on the website: The tournament was directed by Watertown resident Terry Dean Likens and  assisted by Jill Way Likens.  One noticeable tread this year was a spike in female participants with 25% of the field.

Jerry won the SD Scholastic Championship in the past and was the state representative for South Dakota at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions for 2012 and 2013. Jerry has played in over 13 tournaments rated by the US Chess Federation in 2013. Some of these tournaments include the National Open Championship in Las Vegas, NV in June and the 115th Annual US Open in Madison, WI during August. His most recent rated tournament was the Colorado Open in Denver where his chess rating surpassed 1900 in September.  Jerry plans on attending the American Open Chess Tournament over Thanksgiving holiday in Los Angeles, CA.

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