The SACA Merit Scholarships were started in 2004. Their purpose "is to provide support to Southern Arizona scholastic chess players who have demonstrated excellence in chess and a desire to further their chess development." SACA wants to support the young chess players in our community so that they may develop not only as chess players, but also as young adults who'll help promote chess to the community.
Landon Brownell was a member of the 2004 inaugural class. An eighth-grader at the time, Landon's peak rating was 1821. By the next year, it was 2050. In 2006, he won the high school national title and achieved a master rating of 2265. Landon continued to excel and was awarded the scholarship every year through his senior year of high school.
Beyond playing chess very well, Landon was also an ambassador of the game. He was a leader to his teammates whom he helped encourage and improve. He was a sportsman to his opponents who could always expect a friendly, courteous game and even some of his time after the game to review it. But most importantly, Landon was a friend to all he came in contact with. When news of his passing came, heartfelt comments and cherished memories came from players, coaches and parents not only in Southern Arizona, but throughout the state and the country.
SACA would be hard-pressed to find another individual who is a better example of a scholastic player that we wish to support and encourage with the Merit Scholarships. It is for that reason, that SACA has decided to rename the SACA Merit Scholarships to the Landon Brownell Memorial Scholarships; in his memory and in the hope that others can still be encouraged by a light that was extinguished too soon.