top of page


Iowa State Chess Association
Hall of Fame

Orestes Augustus

Brownson, Jr.

Nominated by Ben Darr


Though his father was a renowned political philosopher, Brownson, Jr was best known as the editor of the Dubuque Chess Journal, the premier chess magazine in the United States in the 1870s, and one of only two dedicated English-language chess publications in the world at the time. The Dubuque Chess Journal represents a major part of Iowa’s role in the world of chess. Brownson also authored The Book of the Second American Chess Congress Held at Cleveland, Ohio, and was an avid composer and collector of chess problems. In these pursuits, Brownson did more than anyone else in his era to promote chess in Iowa.


His advice on how to improve at chess is still sound over a century later: “to learn chess quick and fast, play slowly and carefully several hours a day and study the best chess books you can get hold of very diligently and thoroughly: this will soon bring out what chess there is in you, if you are careful to play only with chess players only with chess players stronger than yourself. As you live far from a large city, two or three hundred games by correspondence would be of assistance to you.” Brownson resided in Dubuque from the 1860s until his death in 1892.

Ben Munson

Nominated by James Neal

I moved to West Des Moines when I was in high school and casually played Chess with my brother and father during the summers. It wasn’t until I entered Valley High School that I was introduced to the competitive side of chess through Ben Munson. 


During my short scholastic experience, from 9th – 12th grade, I had the pleasure of playing for Ben and competing against players from the one of many schools he was involved with.

His passion for the game is what brought me into the chess scene and, in my eyes, I would consider him worthy of Hall of Fame status.

Bob Long


Nominated by Bill Broich


There is no Iowa chess personality better known on a worldwide basis than Bob Long. Bob published over one hundred chess books and many are authored by IMs and GMs. Bob’s obituary can be found in chess publications throughout the world.


From Chessbase—”Since 1985 Long has reviewed or commented on about 2,000 chess books, magazines, equipment, DVDs, and websites… He has published nearly 140 items not including DVDs CDs or journals.”

Bob Long’s Blog—

US Chess Obituary of Long—

John Penquite


Nominated by Mark Capron

John Penquite was the first person to crack the 2900 mark. He did it in Postal Chess and reached an amazing 2939 after winning the 1990 Golden Knights Tournament in 1993!

John had a 58 game winning streak in Postal Chess, no losses, no draws! John was no slouch over the board either and was considered a strong master. When John played over the board there were not ratings as we know them today. John won (or tied for) the Iowa State Championship 8 times!

No doubt would have been several more as he moved out of Iowa for an extended time. His championships spanned from 1951 – 1973, 22 years! John was a charter member of the Iowa Chess News En Passant in 1961. In 1963 he was elected as an IASCA Tournament Director. He was the games editor for the En Passant in 1971. He was the president of the IASCA 1970-1972.

1951 State Champion (A.W. Davis, Philip Gilbertson, & F.D. Wilson)

1952 State Champion (17 years old)

1953 State Champion

1959 State Champion (tied with Raymond Ditrichs and Leo Raterman)

1961 State Champion

1971 State Champion (Jon Frankle)

1972 State Champion (Jon Frankle)

1973 State Champion (Dan Harger, Doug Eckley, Ray Ditrichs, Mark Connor)

1990 Golden Knights Champion

Mitch Weiss


Nominated by Jim Hodina




Mitch is a six-time Iowa State Champion between the years of 1981 to 1988. During this period, Mitch was also the editor of the IASCA En Passant. He continued playing throughout the country with a peak rating of 2360 in 1995. Mitch continues to play chess, although at a less frequent pace.

He was active enough to qualify for the Iowa Closed Championship in 2002, finishing with 4.0 pts - a half point behind first place.

Playing a few tournaments through 2010, Mitch came out to play and win the first Iowa Senior Championship in 2017.

Mitch is an Original Life Master, which requires 300 games above a rating of 2200. Mitch’s top FIDE rating was 2250 (currently 2240). Mitch was also a prolific correspondence player with a current rating of 2357

Iowa Closed Champion

1988 Mitch Weiss

1987 Mitch Weiss

1986 Mitch Weiss

1984 Mitch Weiss

1983 Mitch Weiss, Hugh Myers

1981 Mitch Weiss

1998 Iowa Open

Sylvio Scorza


Nominated by Mark Capron


Syl was a charter member of the Iowa Chess En Passant in 1961. Syl held several positions in the IASCA including Vice President from 1962-1964 and again in 1968 to 1981. He was appointed as the IASCA statistician in 1963 and from what can be gleaned from the En Passant’s he would hold this position today if it still existed.

In 1973 -1975 he was elected as the IASCA Tournament Director. Syl directed or helped direct many, many events too numerous to list. Syl was the Postal (correspondence) Chess Director for Iowa from sometime in the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Syl tied for the State Championship in 1964 after being runner up in 1963.

Syl again tied for the Championship inf 1974. In 1981 Syl was the state Senior Champion. According to the USCF online Syl’s peak rating was 1889, however this only goes back to 1992 which was well past Syl’s prime. He currently sports an 1802 correspondence rating.

1964 D. Dale Gillette, Richard Nassif, Dan Reynolds, Sylvio Scorza

1974 Dan Reynolds, Sylvio Scorza

Lee Edwards

Mark Capron

John Osness

Roger Gotschall

Louis Paulsen

Bios Coming Soon!

bottom of page