(Left: Yian Liou and Steven Zierk hard at work. Right: Daniel Liu and Jack Zhu pose for the camera.)
Congratulations to the 109 Northern California juniors who are nationally ranked on the February USCF Top 100 lists! We have witnessed a veritable explosion of talent--there were merely 87 ranked kids three years ago, a growth of 25%. Nine stars appear among the top 5, including three well-known #1's: FIDE Masters Tanuj Vasudeva and Daniel Naroditsky plus 9 year old candidate master Samuel Sevian.
Considering that the Bay Area still remains a technology hotspot for the country, it comes as no surprise to see so many of the nation's best young chess players at local tournaments. In fact, the participants of the recent Golden State Open included five #1 ranked juniors and another five at either #2 or #3 (the majority from the Bay Area). Frankly, the explosive growth of scholastic chess over the past decade suggests that the future of our country remains bright.
A few days ago, I uploaded the February CalChess Top 100 and CalChess Top 20 lists to my website. I counted 16 ranked juniors who gained at least 100 rating points in just the past two months. While most big gains came under 1200 (the formula makes it easier to gain points if you're lower rated), two of the most impressive performances were turned in by 12 year old Joshua Cao (1399 to 1665) and 16 year old Thadeus Frei (1790 to 1903). (Photo of Thadeus at right from Dana Mackenzie's interesting chess blog.)
Special kudos to the following nine Bay Area gold medalists for February! How many future Grandmasters or International Masters are there among this exclusive list?
GOLD MEDAL (top 5)
Arun Khemani (#4 age 6)
Rayan Taghizadeh (#3 age 7)
Tanuj Vasudeva (#1 age 8)
Samuel Sevian (#1 age 9)
NM Yian Liou (#2 age 12)
FM Daniel Naroditsky (#1 age 14)
NM Gregory Young (#2 age 14)
NM Steven Zierk (#3 age 16)
IM Sam Shankland (#2 age 18)
Players ranked in the top 10 and top 25 of the country also deserve a special recognition. The names shown in bold and italics are all current or former students of mine.
SILVER MEDAL (top 15)
Cameron Wheeler (#10 age 9)
Vignesh Panchanatham (#11 age 9)
Jack Zhu (#9 age 11)
Kyle Shin (#14 age 12)
NM Rohan Agarwal (#14 age 16)
BRONZE MEDAL (top 25) Leyton Ho, Michael Wang, Kesav Viswanadha, Allan Beilin, Daniel Liu, James Kwok, Taylor McCreary, Samyukta Bhat, Evan Sandberg, Michael Zhong, Adarsh Konda