Fremd student recognized for applying machine learning techniques to chess

After hosting more than 50 chess events this year at suburban schools, community centers, and temples, Aditya Gupta is working on taking his game to the next level.

The senior at Fremd High School in Palatine recently received a Chessable Research Award for applying machine learning techniques to chess.

Gupta started playing chess in third grade and now is a U.S. Chess National Master. He is the founder of ChessPupils, a nonprofit which provides free chess instruction to children of all ages. He's also self-published his first book, “Becoming a Chess Master: Practical Tips and Strategies,” available through Amazon.

“It's the default curriculum that we use now for ChessPupils,” said the 17-year-old from Rolling Meadows. “It covers all aspects of the game, from beginning to becoming a chess master ... the full journey.”

Earlier this year, Gupta was among five high school students in the nation to receive the 2023 Scholar-Chessplayer Award from the U.S. Chess Federation. It's been awarded only twice to an Illinois student.

Gupta is captain of Fremd's varsity chess team, which finished fourth at the Illinois High School Association's 2023 state contest in February. He is the 2021 Illinois Junior Chess Champion and a Chess National Master with a rating above 2200 points, as determined by the U.S. Chess Federation. He's also taking dual-credit courses for a mathematics major at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Previously, Gupta published research papers on applying machine learning to predict agricultural harvest yields, earthquake forecasting (which he presented virtually at a G-20 Summit Conference in India), and helped create an insect/pest detection machine learning app presented at the Fourth International Workshop on Machine Learning for Cyber-Agricultural Systems.

Now, he is researching applying machine learning methods in all aspects of chess at the University of Chicago. Using machine learning models and a data set containing thousands of games, he is trying to find the true value of each chess piece. Gupta's research was published in the journal Entrophy and earned him the Chessable award.

Gupta also is trying to set up a chess program for nursing homes.

“For me, chess was a tool that empowered me,” he said. “Older people tend to have memory issues and so chess is a great way to combat that.”

Serving the needy

The Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic Campaign for Human Development — the U.S. Catholic bishops' domestic anti-poverty program — recently held collections at parishes across Cook and Lake counties to fund community and economic development grants and education programs for locally based initiatives.

Half the funds collected at Chicago-area parishes remain in the archdiocese to support local anti-poverty projects. In 2023-24, CCHD will support 10 nonprofits in Cook and Lake counties with $400,000 in grants.

“When Catholics donate to the CCHD collection, they are living out the gospel message of opening their hearts to help the marginalized and oppressed,” said Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago.

The grants, based on need and not religious affiliation, are screened and awarded with the approval of Cupich and focus on changing systemic inequities. They aim to: effect economic and community development in marginalized communities; increase access to affordable housing; advocate for the rights of seniors, workers, immigrants and people with disabilities; build communities working for racial equity and justice; and prevent violence and promote reconciliation.

The 2023-24 grant recipients include: Alliance for Community Services, Male Mogul Initiative, Working Family Solidarity, St. Agatha Dream Builders Association, Alliance of the Southeast, Chicago Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Centers, ChiFresh Kitchen, Lake County Sponsors, Progress Center for Independent Living and Southside Together Organizing for Power.

‘Christmas Posada'

State Rep. Barbara Hernandez of Aurora and Aurora Alderman Ted Mesiacos will co-host the annual Ward 3 “Christmas Posada” from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10, at the Third Ward Social Club, 612 Fifth Ave.

Children will get to meet Santa and smash holiday piñatas. The event is being sponsored by the Butler Family, Los Mangos Mexican Ice Cream and Berg Engineering Consultants. ­Registration is required as space is limited. To register, call (630) 256-3020.

Voice for migrants

Elgin Community College art student Esbeyda Garcia Diaz and alumna Norma Santaolaya curated the Venezuelan art exhibition “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” as part of Latinx Heritage Month.

“We put our time, energy, and passion into creating this vulnerable gallery, which gave voice to the lives of our local Venezuelan migrants,” Diaz said.

Though Hispanic Heritage Month is over, the exhibit remains part of the gallery in the ECC Renner Academic Library hallway.

“It is important for ECC to recognize and become educated in the Venezuelan migrant crisis because they have gone through many mental, physical, and emotional obstacles and have overcome them in the pursuit of happiness, which is why our title and overall theme of the art exhibition centers around this pursuit, portraying why they've taken their challenging and unique journeys here,” Diaz said. “This display allows ECC and the local Elgin community to see a different perspective of things, humanizing what we sometimes only hear through sound bites and clips on the news.”

Exhibit participants are asylum-seekers and refugees.

“This exhibition is important and close to me because I was an asylum-seeker at 9 years old looking for a better life. ... I can relate to the obstacles they have gone through and may still be going through to find and settle into a better life for themselves and their families,” Diaz said. “This gallery will provide us with a reality check that there are people in different places around the world who are seeking the same opportunities and happiness we have and are willing to overcome any obstacle in their way.”

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Aditya Gupta, a senior at Fremd High School in Palatine, received the Chessable Research Award for applying machine learning techniques to chess and was among five high school students in the nation to receive the 2023 Scholar-Chessplayer Award from the U.S. Chess Federation. Originally from Delhi, India, he immigrated to the U.S. with his parents, Kuldeep and Shipra Gupta, in 2012. Courtesy of Aditya Gupta
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