Wednesday, January 23

New Masters Panchanatham and Chow!

Vignesh Panchanatham
Colin Chow

It came to my attention that the long list of talented Northern California juniors to achieve the rank of master grew by two in the past month.  Indeed there are now nine local kids in K-12 with USCF ratings of 2200 and higher, including five who have yet to start high school!  I would like to take this opportunity to recognize four of them.

12 year old Vignesh Panchanatham achieved the milestone at the Bay Area Chess Winter Open on December 21-23.  He broke 2200 in style, by beating experienced NM Mike Splane.  I have watched his progress for several years, ever since he wove a clever mating net to checkmate me--as an 8 year old!  Vignesh scalped many more masters since then, including IMs Elliott Winslow and Odondoo Ganbold.  At the recent World Youth in Slovenia, he played well to share 6th place in a competitive U12 division.  Check out his chess blog for round-by-round insights and a great poem at the end.

13 year old Colin Chow reached 2200 by picking up the final three rating points at the Burger G/45  at Mechanics' Institute on January 12.  He already distinguished himself as one of the elite players at the Sacramento Chess Club, and now he lays claim to being the youngest master in the club's 75+ year history.  I first saw Colin's budding talent at the Larry Evans Memorial in Reno last April, where he turned heads by scoring 3.5 against 5 masters, including wins against IMs Vladimir Mezentsev and Ed Formanek.

Congratulations to Master Panchanatham and Master Chow on their achievements!

In other news, the international federation FIDE finally awarded World U12 co-champions Sam Sevian and Cameron Wheeler the automatic FM title.  Woot!  For Sam, however, this honor will be short-lived,  Just last weekend, FIDE approved his IM title on condition of breaking 2400 FIDE rating.  His current rating is 2385 (before dropping a few points at North American Open).  Hey Sam, how does IM-elect sound?

(K-12 Only, USCF Rating)

1 IM Naroditsky, Daniel 2553
2 IM-elect Sevian, Sam 2471
3 FM Liou, Yian 2469
4 SM Young, Greg 2467
5 FM Wheeler, Cameron 2279
6 NM Viswanadha, Kesav 2257
7 NM Panchanatham, Vignesh 2206
8 NM Chow, Colin 2200
9 NM Liu, Daniel 2199

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