Tuesday, April 28

Entries for the CalChess Scholastics

The week has come for the biggest Bay Area chess event of the year! The 34th CalChess Scholastics takes place on Saturday and Sunday at the Parkside Convention Center and the adjacent Crowne Plaza Hotel. The "Varsity" or "Championship" sections play in the hotel while the Junior Varsity, Novice and Rookie sections will be in the Parkside center. Please note that this location is across the street from last year's venue at the San Jose Convention Center.

The three individuals in charge are the same as last year: organizer Salman Azhar (see photo at right), National Tournament Director John McCumiskey and CalChess President Tom Langland.

Please check out the round schedule at the official website. There are 13 categories, split up by both grade level and rating. The first round begins at 9:00am on each day, although players should plan to arrive by 8:30. The Kindergarten plus 1-3 Rookie, Novice and Junior Varsity sections play five rounds on Saturday only. The 4-6 Rookie and Novice sections play five rounds on Sunday only. The other three Juniors Varsity sections (4-6, 7-8, 9-12) and all four Varsity sections (1-3, 4-6, 7-8 and 9-12) have six rounds with three on Saturday and three more on Sunday.

As of midnight on April 28, about 850 players have registered. A few more people will likely sign up late, but the entry fees increase by $10 and $20 this week. Unfortunately, the low turnout continues to follow a downward trend over the past few years: 1319 in 2006, 1172 in 2007 and 1028 in 2008. Perhaps the weak economy plays a significant role, but that's not the only factor being blamed by pundits.
The tournament is an individual swiss, but for many folks, the team competition takes on even greater importance. Many of the "usual suspects" in the Varsity sections are back for more this year, including the K-6 national champion team from Mission San Jose Elementary (MSJE) in Fremont. Check out the new article and photos on the CalChess website by proud coach Joe Lonsdale.
  • High School: Saratoga H.S. and Mission San Jose H.S. (Fremont)
  • Junior High: Windemere Ranch M.S. (San Ramon) and Hopkins J.H.S. (Fremont)
  • Elementary 4-6: MSJE, Weibel Elem. (Fremont) and St. Mark's School (San Rafael)
  • Elementary 4-5: MSJE and Weibel Elem.
  • Primary 1-3: Forest Park Elem., MSJE and Weibel Elem.
I will personally direct the blitz and bughouse side events once again this year. First, the blitz on Friday night offers a great opportunity to warm up for a weekend of chess. And the bughouse on Saturday night is the perfect way to relax and socialize after a tough day of serious chess. I hope to see many of my students and other local kids, especially for the Friday night blitz championship! Schedule: on-site registration both days at 5:30-6:00 with round 1 at about 6:15. If all goes well, the K-6 kids will be done by 8:30ish while the older kids finish around 9:00.

Good luck to all players and parents! If you read this blog and you see me on the weekend, please say hello to me. I will be busy with my students, but I also enjoy meeting people.

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