Tuesday, May 1

CalChess Top 20 Masters -- May 2012

GM Shankland

The CalChess Top 20 Masters list reveals a mixture of rapidly improving juniors and capable veterans.  Grandmasters Josh Friedel, Jesse Kraai and Vinay Bhat no longer live and play in the area, and therefore cannot occupy the top spots in these rankings.  Taking their place are Grandmasters Sam Shankland, Nick DeFirmian and teenage IM Daniel NaroditskyAll three grew up in Northern California and rose through the chess ranks in the Bay Area.

Shankland and Naroditsky, both products of the area's youth movement, were invited to the 2011 US Championship, which "Shanky" almost won!  Two more juniors pop up further down the list: soon-to-be FM Yian Liou and America's youngest master Samuel Sevian, now 11 years old and approaching 2400. 

GM DeFirmian
Fresno born DeFirmian recently returned home after spending years in New York and Europe.  A 3-time US Champion, he now works at the Mechanics' Institute chess club, teaching and giving weekly lectures.

The most active veteran is #5 IM Ricardo DeGuzman, the veritable 800 lb gorilla of Bay Area chess.  Two other IMs who show up at some tournaments are #6 Vladimir Mezentsev and #10 Ray Kaufman.  Perhaps the strongest Northern California resident in his prime is 6-time US Champion Walter Browne.

IM Naroditsky
CalChess Top 20 Masters (USCF rating, FIDE rating)
  1. GM Shankland, Sam    2656    2581
  2. GM DeFirmian, Nick    2574    2510
  3. IM Naroditsky, Daniel    2546    2479
  4. GM Browne, Walter    2501    2449
  5. IM DeGuzman, Ricardo    2476    2400
  6. IM Mezentsev, Vladimir    2472    2368
  7. IM Zilberstein, Dmitry    2467    2402
  8. IM Pruess, David    2462    2390
  9. FM Chumachenko, Andrey    2436    2327
  10. IM Kaufman, Ray    2420    2336
  11. SM Kotlyar, Gregory    2412    2306
  12. IM Donaldson, John    2408    2390
  13. NM Ishkhanov, Tigran    2374    2324
  14. NM Liou, Yian    2374    2312
  15. NM Arun Sharma    2366    2331
  16. IM Winslow, Elliott    2365    2337
  17. FM Cusi, Ronald    2341    2316
  18. NM Schwarz, Daniel    2339    2251
  19. NM Sevian, Samuel    2333    2247
  20. NM Pearson, Michael    2330    2212
N.B. This list is based on state rankings at the USCF website.  In general, players must participate in at least one (local) tournament within the past year.  Those who move out of state will be dropped.  I reserve editorial judgement to make exceptions for players with well-established ties to Northern California.

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