Tuesday, May 17

CalChess Denker and Barber Qualifiers

NM Michael Wang (credit: @USChess)

Near the end of yet another school year, many students look forward to a relaxing summer vacation.  For two local  chess juniors, this summer includes a trip to Indianapolis to represent Northern California at the Denker and Barber Invitationals from July 30 to August 2.  After five competitive rounds over two days, the results are in.

The Denker Qualifier (grades 9-12 only) saw 5 masters and 4 experts battle for the ticket to Indy.  Half of the games were drawn and all but one of the masters finished undefeated.  Nonetheless, one player managed to separate himself from the field to take clear first.  Congratulations to 9th grader NM Michael Wang for a strong performance!

The Barber Qualifier (grades K-8) attracted 27 enthusiastic and talented participants, including a trio of masters.  Alas, all three masters tasted defeat on the first day (rounds 1-3) and were out of contention.  In the final round, a 5th grader faced a 3rd grader for all the marbles.  The game ended in a draw, allowing 5th grader Balaji Daggupati to claim clear first.  Well done!

The Denker Invitational began in 1985, with each state naming one High School representative (Northern and Southern California are considered separate states).  The Barber Invitational for K-8 started in 2011.  Thanks to the late GM Arnold Denker, his family and Dewain Barber for sponsoring and organizing these two national championships.

Best of luck to Michael and Balaji in Indy!

CalChess Denker and Barber Participants

  • 2016: Michael Wang --------------------- Balaji Daggupati
  • 2015: Vignesh Panchanatham ---------- Rayan Taghizadeh
  • 2014: Colin Chow -------------------------- Siddharth Banik
  • 2013: Hunter Klotz-Burwell --------------- Vignesh Panchanatham (co-champion!
  • 2012: Sudarshan Seshadri --------------- Udit Iyengar
  • 2011: Nicholas Karas ---------------------- Neel Apte
  • 2010: Steven Zierk (champion!)   
  • 2009: Evan Sandberg   
  • 2008: Steven Zierk   
  • Balaji Daggupati
  • 2007: Nicolas Yap   
  • 2006: Daniel Schwarz   
  • 2005: Nicolas Yap   
  • 2004: Benjamin Tejes   
  • 2003: Monty Peckham   
  • 2002: Benjamin Haun   
  • 2001: none
  • 2000: Micah Fisher-Kirshner   
  • 1999: Vinay Bhat   
  • 1998: Vinay Bhat   
  • 1997: Dmitry Zilberstein   
  • 1996: Dmitry Zilberstein   
  • 1995: Adrian Keating-Clay   
  • 1995: Jennie Frenklakh (extra player)   
  • 1994: Dmitry Zilberstein (champion!)   
  • 1993: Peter Lee   
  • 1992: Adrian Keating-Clay   
  • 1991: Alan Stein (champion!)    
  • 1990: Andrew McManus   
  • 1989: Andrew McManus   
  • 1988: Kash Patel   
  • 1987: Andrew McManus   
  • 1986: Peter Yu   
  • 1985: none

Play Team 45 45 on ICC This Summer

The Team 45 45 League on the Internet Chess Club is accepting signups for a new tournament! Every participant plays one game each week for 6 weeks (plus playoffs) against different opponents at a mutually negotiated time. The time control is 45 minutes plus a 45 second increment for every move; thus, a typical game lasts 2-3 hours. The league, which has been active on ICC for over 15 years, offers sections at 200 rating point intervals, allowing everyone the opportunity to play near their own rating.  There is no cost to join the league, but ICC membership is required.  You also must first obtain a non-provisional ICC standard rating based on at least 20 games.

I have played in Team 4545 off and on for a decade, and I also volunteer as a TD. Over the years, many of my students have played in the league for tournament practice! Many Bay Area youngsters play on ICC and in the league. Highly recommended and fun to play!

Don't try this at home!
Before joining, please carefully read the Quick Guide and Player Handbook. The league has some strict rules that require a modest degree of personal responsibility.  You have 7 days to play each round.  While negotiating a time to play, it helps to be a little flexible in your availability, either after work or school on several days of the week, or on most weekends. If you're busy at a big weekend tournament, or out of town on vacation, you may wish to ask your captain to sit out that week. Please contact me with further questions.

T69 Schedule 
  • Team Entries Open May 17
  • Team Entries Close May 31
  • Round 1 Begins on June7
  • End of Round 6 on July 19
  • Playoffs Begin July 26

Warning: The league administration takes computer cheating very seriously, and a Computer Use committee carefully checks all games against chess engines.

Wednesday, May 11

Schutt Blitz at Mechanics on Sunday

GM Walter Browne versus the fpawn at the 2011 Schutt Memorial (photo by Shorman). We
battled many times over the years, notably in the last round at the 2007 US Championship
in Oklahoma, his final game in a championship that he won 6 times. My final pairing with
Mr. 6 Time came at the 2013 Schutt Memorial, when I managed a draw in two games. To
me, Walter Browne was the embodiment of the art we call blitz chess. RIP

For the past decade, the Ray Schutt Memorial has consistently been the strongest and most popular blitz tournaments in the Bay Area.  The last four years saw an average of 50 players, including many masters (17 last year) with several Grandmasters and International Masters.

The winners have included some of the strongest masters in California.  Stanford freshman GM Daniel Naroditsky finished on top in four of the past five years, including clear first in both 2014 and 2015.  Two other Grandmasters have won: Melik Khachiyan and the late Walter Browne.  Three lesser titled players have also won: IM Ricardo DeGuzman, FM Yian Liou (now an IM) and FM Andy Lee.

Naroditsky plans to defend his title against all-comers young and old.  Challengers will include Grandmasters Cristian Chirila and Patrick Wolff plus several International Masters.  And with some luck, there will even be an fpawn sighting!!?  Will you be there?

10th Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz 
Sunday, May 15
Location: 57 Post Street, San Francisco (use Montgomery BART)
FORMAT: Six double-round Swiss (12 games total)

TIME CONTROL: G/4 + inc/2
(bring your digital clock)

ENTRY FEE: $10 (free for GM / IM / WGM / WIM)
This tournament is NOT rated. 

PRIZES: $1025 total
1st place: $400
2nd place: $250
3rd place: $150
4th place: $100
5th place: $75
6th place $50

Prizes are guaranteed by the generosity of the Schutt family.  In addition, every player takes home a book prize!

REGISTRATION: On-site only from Noon to 12:45.

There will be no registration in advance. No phone entries.  The tournament will be held between roughly 1 and 4 PM.  Light refreshments courtesy of the Schutt family. Even if you don't play, please come and enjoy the atmosphere as a tribute to the popular 2300 rated master.

Tuesday, May 10

Top Juniors in the World Born Since 2000

An interesting chess fact for today.  

The top four rated juniors in the World born since January 1, 2000 all represent the USA.  Grandmasters Jeffery Xiong and Sam Sevian, both now rated over 2600 FIDE, clearly comprise the class of the millennium to date.  How far can they go? 

Also surprising is that three of the next five represent Iran.  Watch out for the untitled Alireza Firouzja, who earned his second IM norm by winning his national championship in January.  He is just 13, two years younger than anyone else on this list.

Finally, note that only one Russian junior managed to squeeze into this Top 10, and nobody from traditional youth powers India and China. 

Data obtained from the 2700chess website and based on the May 2016 FIDE rating list.

MSJE Repeats as National Champions

The Mission San Jose K-6 National Champions pose with Coach Joe Lonsdale in the back.

Kudos to Mission San Jose Elementary for winning US Chess K-6 Nationals for consecutive years and the third time in the past four years!  The school fielded competitive teams in all four championship divisions in Nashville, finishing Top 5 in three.  Simply said, major props to Coach Joseph Lonsdale and his large group of enthusiastic and talented kids!  Repeated success at states and nationals over so many years speaks for itself.

The following list shows Northern California trophy winners at Elementary Nationals.

  • MSJE (Fremont) school team = 1st in K-6, 5th in K-5, 4th in K-3 and 9th in K-1
  • Weibel (Fremont) school team = 5th in K-6, 13th in K-5

  • Rishith Susarla (MSJE) 9th in K-6 
  • Kevin Pan (MSJE) 20th in K-6
  • William Sartorio 5th in K-5
  • Milind Maiti 12th in K-5
  • Shree Jay (MSJE) 2nd U1200 in K-5
  • Adrian Kondakov 20th in K-3
  • Christopher Yoo 23rd in K-3
  • Sriram Krishnakumar 26th in K-3
  • Siddharth Arutla (MSJE) 1st U600 in K-3 
  • Nitish Nash 16th in K-1
  • Jason Liu (MSJE) 32nd in K-1

Monday, May 9

Panchanatham Leads Harker to Victory

National High School Champions from The Harker School.
Top board FM Panchanatham at left. (credit: Greg Shahade)

This post comes about five weeks too late.  As they say, better late than never.

Congratulations to The Harker School for winning the National High School Championship in Atlanta, and to their top board FM Vignesh Panchanatham for earning first place on tiebreaks in the individual standings!  Local rival IM Kesav Viswanadha defeated Vignesh in round 6, but took the second place trophy after tragically losing in round 7.  Bay Area representatives came home with four of the Top 10 trophies in the final standings.  Veni!  Vidi!  Vici!

The following list shows Northern California trophy winners at High School Nationals.

IM Viswanadha
(credit: Greg Shahade)
  • The Harker School (San Jose) team = CHAMPIONS
  • Monta Vista High School (Cupertino) team = 4th

  • FM Vignesh Panchanatham (Harker) 1st and co-champ
  • IM Kesav Viswanadha (MVHS) 2nd and co-champ
  • NM Siddharth Banik 8th
  • NM Michael Wang (Harker) 10th
  • Richard Yi (Harker) 20th
  • NM Andrew Hong 36th
  • Evan Lohn (Harker) 1st Unrated
  • Richard Wang (Harker) 2nd Unrated