Friday, January 16

USCF Top 100 Juniors (U21) for February

(Here's a blast from the past. Daniel Schwarz and Drake Wang set up to play at the 2001 CalChess Scholastics in Santa Clara. Both were in 6th grade at the time; Daniel was rated 1675 and Drake was 1844. However, top seeded Alexander Setzepfandt took clear 1st place with 5.5 out of 6, drawing with Schwarz in the final round.)

It has long been established that Northern California is a mecca for scholastic chess that can compete with the rest of the nation. The February Top 100 lists confirm this fact. Impressively, 13 local juniors and college students are ranked on the most prestigious ranking list for juniors: Under Age 21.

At the top, IM Sam Shankland (#7) does not require much of an introduction after winning both the CalChess State Championship and the World U18 Championship. Besides Shankland, the most impressive player over the past four months was NM Steven Zierk (#30), who gained 74 USCF points since Labor Day, thereby cracking 2300. See a photo of Steven from 2nd grade at right. The two youngest masters in the Bay Area are also well known to readers of this blog: 13 year old FM Danya Naroditsky (#17) and 10 year old NM Nicholas Nip (#70).

These rankings are also the last hoorah for the previous generation of junior masters, those who have now gone off to college. For many years, NM Daniel Schwarz (#25), NM Nicolas Yap (#27), NM Matthew Ho (#40) and NM Drake Wang (#49) dominated the local scene. Now Daniel and Matthew attend Stanford University together FM Elliott Liu (#15) from San Diego and NM Vaishnav Aradhyula (#60) from Tucson. Go Stanford!!
  • #7 IM Sam Shankland (2441)
  • #15 FM Elliott Liu (2398) - attending Stanford University from Southern California
  • #17 FM Danya Naroditsky (2358)
  • #25 NM Daniel Schwarz (2316)
  • #27 NM Nicolas Yap (2315)
  • #30 NM Steven Zierk (2308)
  • #37 NM Julian Landaw (2292) - attending UC Berkeley from Southern California
  • #40 NM Matthew Ho (2281)
  • #49 NM Drake Wang (2262)
  • #51 NM Gregory Young (2249)
  • #60 NM Vaishnav Aradhyula (2225) - attending Stanford University from Arizona
  • #69 NM Rohan Agarwal (2212)
  • #70 NM Nicholas Nip (2211)


qxpch said...

So what happened to Alex Setzepfandt, anyway? I played him one time and was very impressed.

fpawn said...

Alex quit chess, surprisingly and without much explanation. He was obviously very talented (2144 USCF), but unfortunately chess tournaments were quite stressful in his family (especially his mom). I can imagine that once Alex got old enough to explore other interests, chess took a backseat.