Thursday, October 22

Bay Area Well Represented on All-America Team!

(FM Naroditsky presents a lecture at left while Sevian calculates a position at right.)

According to this press release by the US Chess Federation, eight CalChess stars earned a spot on the 2010 All-America Chess Team sponsored by Trophies Plus! The requirements for this prestigious honor are quite strict: players must exceed a very high rating depending on their age (ranging from 1800 for age 8 & under to 2450 for age 18). Only 43 juniors made the team--an average of merely four per age group.

Kudos to the following CalChess kids! Readers of this blog are already familiar with the names, and now folks around the country will recognize them as well.

Bay Area juniors on All-America Team (age as of January 1).
  • IM Sam Shankland (17)
  • FM Steven Zierk (15)
  • FM Daniel Naroditsky (13)
  • NM Greg Young (13)
  • NM Yian Liou (11)
  • Samuel Sevian (8)
  • Cameron Wheeler (8)
  • Tanuj Vasudeva (7)
The All-America team highlights a fact that Bay Area coaches have known for several years: the local kids can compete with those from the scholastic hotbeds of New York and Texas! With eight All-Americans, CalChess narrowly edged New York and Texas, both with seven. No other state has more than four.

The Bay Area has become a prime breeding ground for the nation's elite kids, sharing the role that New York dominated for many years. Much of the credit goes to the Mechanics' Institute for fostering an environment that motivates kids. Regular tournaments offer the rising stars a chance to match wits with experienced adult masters and experts, while the San Francisco School of Chess hosts lectures by experienced Grandmasters from around the world. A final factor is that Silicon Valley kids tend to become comfortable with computers at a young age; I have watched kids as young as 5 and 6 playing chess on ICC!

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