Grandmaster Ian Rogers visited the Mechanics' Institute last weekend in conjunction with a meeting of the Ken Whyld Association of chess historians. Known as the strongest player ever from Australia, GM Rogers achieved a peak FIDE rating of 2618 in 1999 (about top 50 of the world back then). He faced many of the world's top players in the 1980s and 1990s, earning a draw as black versus Anatoly Karpov and swindling a checkmate against Viktor Kortchnoi!
On Sunday, October 11, GM Rogers (seated next to FM Naroditsky at right) took time from his busy schedule to tutor some of the Bay Area's elite juniors. The lecture carried on the inspiration of the San Francisco School of Chess, a program seeking to boost promising young chess players in Northern California both through interactions with GMs and IMs as well as their fellow juniors. Sunday's topic quickly caught the attention of the audience: the rapid improvement of teenager Magnus Carlsen to 2800 and beyond. The class delved deeply into Carlsen's openings and middlegames from the recent Nanjing tournament, with lengthy variations and occasional jokes flying around the room from all sides.
The group was small and intimate, yet highly competitive with five of six students ranked in the top three of the nation for their age! These kids no doubt comprise the present and future stars for the San Francisco Mechanics squad in the US Chess League. The team has a seemingly endless supply of underrated juniors for the next few seasons. If the kids keep improving like this, next year's team may field a GM plus three 2300+ rated juniors! (a.k.a. Panda and the three bamboo sprouts)
- FM Danya Naroditsky, 2378, #1 age 13 (Board 3)
- NM Greg Young, 2272, #2 age 14 (Alternate)
- NM Yian Liou, 2226, #2 age 12 (Board 4)
- Kyle Shin, 2088, #6 age 11
- Samuel Sevian, 2079, #1 age 8
- Tanuj Vasudeva, 1904, #3 age 8