Tuesday, June 30

Check Out My Teaching Website

Off and on for the past 2+ years, I worked on my new Fpawn Chess website.  This site will not replace my chess blog, but instead functions as my teaching homepage.  I also post regularly on two social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter.  The reader can guess my username.

Check out the following categories on the left side:
Photo in July 2013
issue of Chess Life.

  • Chess Bio and Photo Album - All about me!
  • Chess Rules & Advice - Rules of thumb to know..
  • Chess Quotes - 55 of my favorite quotes.
  • Student Goals - 10 goals for a chess student.
  • Chess Links - Dozens of interesting chess websites.
  • Honor Roll - Achievements of my top students.
  • NorCal Top 100 - Top juniors and adults in NorCal.
  • Chess Lessons - Check them out!

Yes, I am open to accept some new students over the summer.  Please read my lessons page for more information.  The majority of my experience has been coaching students in 7th grade and older, rated at least 1500.  That said, I may consider younger or lower rated students, especially with referral from someone I know.  Contact me at michaelNOSPAM@fpawn.com (remove the six letters in caps from the address).

Monday, June 29

Ashritha Eswaran Wins US Junior Girls

Ashritha the Champion!

Bay Area 14-year old Ashritha Eswaran won the US Junior Girls invitational with a score of 6.5 out of 9, finishing a full point ahead of her nearest competitor.  Sponsors Frank and Jim Berry brought ten of the country's best young ladies to Tulsa, Oklahoma.  There were seven USCF masters and eight held an international title, including a pair of Women's International Masters.  All participants were ranked in the Top 30 of the country for women, regardless of age!

On the other hand, the round-robin was tightly packed, with less than 150 rating points separating top from bottom.  There were no favorites.  Anyone could beat anyone else.  Indeed, each girl lost at least twice, and Ashritha was the only one not to drop three games!  Perhaps it still came as a surprise that the lowest rated finished on top of the hill.  (USCF rating report)

Congratulations to Ashritha, her parents, her dedicated coach GM Dejan Bojkov and the entire staff at NorCal House of Chess!  In addition to the national title, she earned an invitation to the 2016 US Women's Championship.  Readers may recall that she played in the 2014 Women's Champ, impressing spectators with her mature and aggressive play.

More information and photos in this article at Kasparov Chess Foundation website.

Most people would relax after such an achievement.  Alas, Ashritha flew to Colombia the very next day, where she entered the Pan American Youth Festival.  She already won the first three rounds while playing up in the competitive Girls-U18 divisionGood luck!!

In related news, the US Junior Closed (for boys) kicks off next Tuesday in Saint Louis.  The Bay Area will once again be represented by IM Yian Liou, who graduated two weeks ago from Monte Vista High School in Danville. 

Chess Camp in Davis, July 13-16

My friend John Langreck organizes a summer chess camp in Davis each year.  This year's session is scheduled for July 13 to 16 (4 days), from 1-5pm daily.  The location is on Cowell Boulevard in South Davis, adjacent to I-80.

John is a USCF Life Master with experience teaching chess to beginners, experts and those in between.  He will solve tactics puzzles, cover basic strategy, and discuss game analysis - among other important topics.  Activities include Play the Master, blitz and bughouse!

If you are interested, then print out this flyer and contact John Langreck to reserve your spot.  Don't forget to let him know that Fpawn sent you. :-)

Sacramento Championship This Weekend

The annual Sacramento Chess Championship takes place this weekend at the Holiday Inn Express off Business-80 in Northeast Sacramento.  The tournament is the biggest and strongest event in the Sacramento region each year, attracting a good number of players from the Bay Area.  Can we break 100 participants this year?  Players rated above 2000 should take note that the Open section will be FIDE rated for the first time.  

Last year saw Bay Area experts Byron Doyle and WFM Uyanga Byambaa split the top prize ahead of five masters.  Check out Uyanga's report and annotations.  IM Ricardo DeGuzman won this event frequently over the years, most recently the 2013 editionWho will show up this year?  Check the advance entry list.

The weather forecast calls for low to mid 90s on Friday through Sunday, considerably more comfortable than the 100s projected for the week.  Dress comfortably!

Wednesday, June 24

MSJE Says Yes2Chess!

The Champions! (Credit: Hui Wang)

Already crowned State and National K-6 champions, the Mission San Jose Elementary chess team capped a magical year by winning the Yes2Chess World finals!  This multiple stage competition began with online matches and culminated in an expenses paid trip to London.  Congratulations to Coach Joe Lonsdale, team coordinator Hui Wang and, most importantly, the young champs themselves!

Kevin was only kid to beat Grandmaster
David Howell in simul. (Credit: Yes2Chess)
 Team MSJE
  • David Pan, 6th grader rated 2000
  • Rishith Susarla, 4th grader rated 1891
  • Kevin Pan, 3rd grader 1802
  • Annapoorni Meiyappan, 4th grader rated 1702
  • Leo Jiang, 4th grader rated 1393

The USA finals saw the California kids pitted against three top tier squads from New York City.  The players must have felt a little bit like Bobby Fischer facing all of the Russians.  Needing a team victory in the last match, MSJE prevailed 4:1.  They advanced with 5 match points out of 6, narrowly ahead of second and third place.

Group photo of all 8 countries in front of Parliament. (Credit: Yes2Chess)

Eight countries competed in the World finals.  This morning, the Americans dispatched schools from Sweden, Spain and Norway in Pool A to advance to the championship match.  Then they dominated Pool B winner Portugal 4.5-0.5 to claim first place!  More details to come.   

Way to go!! 

NM Gabriel Bick

Gabe played GM Kudrin in Reno. (Credit: Joseph Bick)

Kudos to Gabriel Bick for earning the National Master title!  He cracked 2200 by scoring 3-0 at a Bay Area Chess tournament Cupertino.  He had held GM Walter Browne to a draw over Memorial Day, his first against a GM.  By my count, 22 local juniors can now call themselves masters (although a few have since dropped under 2200).  Gabe also became my 10th private student to achieve this lifetime distinction.  Woohoo!

Thursday, June 11

Endorsements for USCF Election

Randy Bauer
Boyd Reed (credit: Shabazz)

I received my ballot for the US Chess Federation national election today.  Following the trend of recent years, the number of official candidates is rather disappointing.  The ballot shows only two names for two seats on the Executive Board.  Alas, this year's election is being contested thanks to the presence of a write-in candidate.

I urge registered voters to reelect Randy Bauer of Iowa and write-in Boyd M. Reed of Pennsylvania  For the write-in candidate, voters must include his USCF ID 12479484.

Both Bauer and Reed have an extensive history of service to the chess community, at the local and national level.  Rated over 2300, Bauer has written hundreds of instructional chess articles and book reviews.  He served on the Executive Board off and on since 2004, contributing his extensive expertise as an accountant.  Active chess players may recognize Boyd as a director at many major tournaments, including the Millionaire Open, Chicago Open and scholastic nationals.  Also active as a player, parent and online chess forum advocate, he recently reached 2200 for the first time.

The third candidate is Anjelina Belakovskaia, a WGM who emigrated from the USSR before its collapse in 1991 and now operates her Chess Academy in Arizona.  A former currency trader who teaches finance classes, she has lived the role of chess professional as both a player and coach.  While seeking to represent other professional players, Belakovskaia has unfortunately garnered little to no support among top Grandmasters.  Moreover, her lack of background in national chess governance contrasts sharply with the other two candidates.

Please mark Randy Bauer and write-in Boyd M. Reed 12479484 on your USCF ballot.