Tuesday, June 16

Blog Poll: National Master Watch

(Photos from left to right: Yian Liou, Evan Sandberg and Samuel Sevian.)

I just opened up an exciting new poll on the right sidebar of my blog, underneath my tournament calendar. Which Bay Area junior will become the next National Master? A brief look at recent results shows a tight two-way race with a third highly talented kid quickly closing the gap to the leaders. Who will reach the 2200 mark first? Please vote in this poll by the end of June.
  • 6th grader Yian Liou (2147) earned 1st on tiebreaks in the High School section of the CalChess Scholastics, defeating the top seed and defending champion in the final round. In his last 10 tournaments, Yian finished with six 2200+ performances, including three over 2350. He gained 76 rating points in just the past two months. Most impressively, Yian has already defeated my longtime nemesis IM Ricardo DeGuzman not once but twice, and also drew a third game!
  • 10th grader Evan Sandberg (2136) also shared 1st in the High School section of the CalChess Scholastics and will attend the Denker Tournament for High School Champions. Playing in five tournaments over the last six weeks, Evan gained a grand total of 101 points. On the way to 2nd place at the Stamer Memorial, he scored an undefeated 3.0/4 against 2100+ opponents for a 2385 performance rating.
  • 2nd grader Samuel Sevian (2049) is rated nearly 100 points lower than Yian and Evan, but is also much younger and perhaps the most talented of all three. He is already the youngest expert ever in America and has an excellent chance to break Nicholas Nip's record for the youngest master. Samuel gained 80 rating points in the last two tournaments, notably drawing against five masters in a row (IM DeGuzman, two FMs and two NMs) at the Bay Area Chess Memorial Day event for a 2308 performance rating!


Carl Moy said...

Hi fpawn - if you're going to have a complete poll, being biased towards Fremont, you should probably include Mission San Jose High School sophomore Hayk Manvelyan (2067).

Unknown said...

I don't see this a a competition between three or more Expert players. They are competing with themselves when to get there. I have seen alot of two of them at BayAreaChess and they are great kids in addition to being great players.

Michael Aigner said...

As Salman wrote, this isn't so much a competition against each other, but rather a challenge for each kid to reach a specific goal. When each one gets to 2200, I will give them all the credit they deserve.

I know that Yian and Evan are good friends and feed off each other, much in the same way that Yap, Wang and Schwarz did about five years ago. Friendly competition is actually very helpful. Not all chess parents seem to understand this principle. :-(

Michael Aigner

chuck said...

All the Thanks to Michael for keeping us up to date at what happens in North Cal Chess and trying to make it exciting. There is no insightfull alternative source for chess news in the bay area, neither MI nor the bayareachess cover it, only adds and promotions...
As to the NM watch I do agree that
Haik Manvelyan does deserve to be included in the poll.
Yian and Evan are of course the favourites here but Samuel indeed looks intimidating, 2300 performance at age 8 is mindboggling

Michael Aigner said...

Since two of you have now mentioned Hayk Manvelyan (2071) by name, I have to make some comments. First, his track record versus players over 2100 is quite thin, unlike the other three. Until you start beating masters, you might get to 2100 but not much higher. The highest rated player that Hayk *ever* beat was 2108. He has a handful of draws with masters in about 20 games, including one draw with IM DeGuzman. Second, Hayk has not played at all in the past six weeks, skipping the CalChess scholastics. I am aware of the reason why, and I prefer to leave it at that. Third, Hayk is not a second grader! :-)

I mean no disrespect to Hayk; I am sure that he'll be a master some day as well if he keeps going with chess. He can still prove me wrong with some phenomenal tournament results.