Sunday, May 14

SuperNationals VI - Sunday Update

IM Vignesh Panchanatham celebrates with
GM Sam Shankland. (credit: US Chess)
SM Rayan Taghizadeh (credit: US Chess)

(This paragraph was posted at 1:00pm PDT.) The final round pairings of SuperNationals VI in Nashville saw a pair of Bay Area stars sitting at board 1 of their respective sections. Both IM Kesav Viswanadha and SM Rayan Taghizadeh could clinch first place simply by winning with the white pieces. Possibly a draw would be enough. Another 8 local juniors had 5.0 points heading into the last round and hoped for a Top 10 trophy: IM Vignesh Panchanatham and NM Michael Wang in K-12; Abhinav Koka in K-8; William Sartorio in K-6; Sriram Krishnakumar, Nitish Nath and Adrian Kondakov in K-3; and Lucas Jiang in K-1. Will they make it?

IM Kesav Viswanadha (credit: US Chess)
Congratulations to three National Champions! IM Kesav Viswanadha and IM Vignesh Panchanatham tied for first place in K-12 with four others. Both repeat as National High School champions, a title they earned in Atlanta last year. Also kudos to SM Rayan Taghizadeh for winning the Junior High K-9 section. This is Rayan's second straight victory at SuperNationals, as he won Elementary K-5 four years ago at SuperNationals V.

A grand total of 22 NorCal kids won a place trophy or honorable mention (tied for last trophy) in the championship sections. Special kudos to those who also finished in the Top 10: William Sartorio (9th in K-6), NM Christopher Yoo (5th in K-5), Sriram Krishnakumar (5th in K-3) and Adrian Kondakov (7th in K-3). Three more came very close: Maurya Palusa (11th in K-5), Nitish Nath (12th in K-3) and Kavya Meiyappan (11th in K-1). Way to go!!

Four Bay Area school teams placed in the Top 3 of their section. The K-12 proved most competitive, with Monta Vista High School of Cupertino capturing 1st place, narrowly ahead of teams from Washington and Virginia.  This was the fourth National team title in seven years for IM Viswanadha, IM Cameron Wheeler, nm Udit Iyengar and nm Pranav Srihari after 2011 (Regnart ES), 2012 (Kennedy MS) and 2015 (Monta Vista HS). Wow!!  Two other Silicon Valley schools, Mission San Jose HS and The Harker School, finished in 6th and 9th place, respectively.  Respect!

Monta Vista High School (credit: Vasu Sarangapani)

While the Monta Vista dynasty is quite impressive, equally so is the year-to-year success at Mission San Jose Elementary. Regardless of which students attend his program, Coach Joe Lonsdale manages to craft a strong team that is always competitive in multiple age groups at National Elementary! This year, MSJE finished 3rd in K-6, 2nd in K-1 and co-champions in K-5! By my count, this is the seventh national title that MSJE won or shared since 2009, and comes on the heels of victory in K-6 last year (with mostly different kids). I honestly don't know how Coach Joe pulls this off every year.

Final Standings (minimum 4.0) 

K-12 Championship

  • IM Kesav Viswanadha (MVHS) 6.0 (NATIONAL CHAMPION)
  • IM Vignesh Panchanatham (Harker) 6.0 (NATIONAL CHAMPION)
  • NM Michael Wang (Harker) 5.5 (14th place)
  • IM Cameron Wheeler (MVHS) 5.0 (18th place)
  • Christopher Pan (Mission) 5.0 (honorable mention)
  • nm Udit Iyengar (MVHS) 4.0
  • Ganesh Murugappan (Mission) 4.0
  • Anirudh Seela (Mission) 4.0
  • Amit Sant (Mission) 4.0
  • Monta Vista High School 18.5 (NATIONAL CHAMPION)
  • Mission San Jose High School 17.0 (6th place)
  • The Harker School 16.5 (9th place)

K-9 Championship

  • SM Rayan Taghizadeh 6.0 (NATIONAL CHAMPION)

K-8 Championship

  • Abhinav Koka 5.5 (14th place)
  • Jaisuraj Kaleeswaran 4.0
  • Shaashwath Sivakumar 4.0
  • Hopkins Junior High School 12.0 (15th place)

K-6 Championship

  • William Sartorio 5.5 (9th place)
  • Milind Maiti 5.0 (18th place)
  • Annapoorni Meiyappan (MSJE) 4.5
  • Atul Thirumalai (MSJE) 4.5
  • Leo Jiang (MSJE) 4.0
  • Shreyas Nayak (MSJE) 4.0
  • Edwin Thomas (MSJE) 4.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 17.0 (3rd place)

K-5 Championship

  • NM Christopher Yoo 6.0 (5th place)
  • Maurya Palusa 5.5 (11th place)
  • Vyom Vidyarthi 5.0 (17th place)
  • Kevin Pan (MSJE) 5.0 (24th place)
  • Allyson Wong (MSJE) 5.0 (honorable mention)
  • Stephen He (MSJE) 5.0
  • Abhinav Penagalapati 4.5  
  • Nicholas Jiang (MSJE) 4.5
  • Aghilan Nachiappan (MSJE) 4.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 19.5 (co-NATIONAL CHAMPION)

K-3 Championship

  • Sriram Krishnakumar 6.0 (5th place)
  • Adrian Kondakov 6.0 (7th place)
  • Nitish Nath 5.5 (12th place)
  • Shaaketh Sivakumar 5.5 (14th place)
  • Shawnak Shivakumar 5.5 (16th place)
  • Nikhil Parvathaneni 4.0

K-1 Championship

  • Kavya Meiyappan (MSJE) 5.5 (11th place)
  • Lucas Jiang (MSJE) 5.0 (17th place)
  • Omya Vidyarthi 5.0 (honorable mention)
  • Jason Li-Shen Liu (MSJE) 4.5
  • Elizur Fisher-Kirshner 4.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 18.5 (2nd place)

Saturday, May 13

SuperNationals VI - Saturday Update

What a spectacular venue for a record setting chess tournament! (credit: GM Maurice Ashley)

Saturday is usually the wildest day at any national scholastic championship with three challenging rounds. Some strong players will spend up to 12 hours at the chess board, where just one mistake can doom the dream of finishing in first. Upsets are the norm and a brutal round 3 this morning has already taken its toll on the competitors. Who will be left standing tonight?

As SuperNationals VI continues, this weekend offers a good opportunity to review past champions. Only a few juniors from Northern California have ever won a national title. However, the Bay Area has become much more competitive over the past five to ten years. Teams from Mission San Jose Elementary in Fremont won a half dozen team championships since 2009. A mini dynasty sprung up in Cupertino as a tight core group tasted victory at Regnart Elementary, Kennedy Middle and Monta Vista High.

NorCal Champions at Nationals (since 2000)

  • K-12 Champs: Vignesh Panchanatham (2016), Kesav Viswanadha (2016), Michael Zhong (2007)
  • K-9 Champs: Vignesh Panchanatham (2014), Gregory Young (2007)
  • K-8 Champs: Siddharth Banik (2013)
  • K-6 Champs: Andrew Hong (2015), Vignesh Panchanatham (2012), Kevin Moy (2012), Daniel Liu (2010)
  • K-5 Champs: Rayan Taghizadeh (2013), Cameron Wheeler (2011), Allan Beilin (2010)
  • K-3 Champs: Balaji Daggupati (2014), Cameron Wheeler (2009), Rahul Desirazu (2006), Daniel Naroditsky (2005)
  • K-1 Champs: Chinguun Bayaraa (2013), Ben Rood (2011), Tanuj Vasudeva (2008), Nicholas Nip (2006)

Champion School Teams (since 2000)

  • K-12 Teams: The Harker School (2016), Monta Vista HS (2015)
  • K-9 Teams: none
  • K-8 Teams: Kennedy MS (2012)
  • K-6 Teams: MSJE (2016, 2015, 2013, 2009), Gomes ES (2014), Weibel ES (2012)
  • K-5 Teams: Gomes ES (2013), Regnart ES (2011)
  • K-3 Teams: MSJE (2014), Weibel ES (2010)
  • K-1 Teams: MSJE (2012)

GM Maurice Ashley signs autographs.
Please contact me if you see a missing name or school. It seems plausible that the US Chess Yearbook may have omitted some winners, especially in case of a tie for first place.

Now back to 2017. The tournament finishes with two rounds on Sunday. Expect high drama, tension and lots of excitement. Will any of the Bay Area kids finish at the top? Stay tuned!

GM Sam Shankland (credit: US Chess)

Standings after Round 5 (minimum 3.0) 

K-12 Championship

IM Cameron Wheeler (credit: US Chess)
  • IM Kesav Viswanadha (MVHS) 4.5 (1st place)
  • IM Vignesh Panchanatham (Harker) 4.0
  • NM Michael Wang (Harker) 4.0
  • IM Cameron Wheeler (MVHS) 3.5
  • Christopher Pan (Mission) 3.5
  • nm Pranav Srihari (Mission) 3.0
  • nm Udit Iyengar (MVHS) 3.0
  • Pranav Senthilkumar (Mission) 3.0
  • Michael Tang (Harker) 3.0
  • Monta Vista High School 14.0 (1st place)
  • The Harker School 12.0 (7th place)
  • Mission San Jose High School 11.5 (9th place)

K-9 Championship

SM Rayan Taghizadeh (credit: US Chess)
  • SM Rayan Taghizadeh 4.5 (2nd place)

K-8 Championship

  • Shaashwath Sivakumar 4.0
  • Abhinav Koka 4.0
  • Jaisuraj Kaleeswaran (Hopkins) 3.0
  • Stanley Ko 3.0
  • Hopkins Junior High School 9.0 (14th place)

K-6 Championship

  • Milind Maiti 4.0
  • William Sartorio 4.0
  • Annapoorni Meiyappan (MSJE) 3.5
  • Shreyas Nayak (MSJE) 3.0
  • Leo Jiang (MSJE) 3.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 12.0 (3rd place)

K-5 Championship

  • Vyom Vidyarthi 4.5 (tied for 3rd place)
  • NM Christopher Yoo 4.0
  • Kevin Pan (MSJE) 4.0
  • Maurya Palusa 3.5
  • Abhinav Penagalapati 3.5  
  • Aghilan Nachiappan (MSJE) 3.0
  • Stephen He (MSJE) 3.0
  • Allyson Wong (MSJE) 3.0
  • Leo Jiang 3.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 13.0 (3rd place)

K-3 Championship

  • Sriram Krishnakumar 4.0
  • Adrian Kondakov 4.0
  • Nitish Nath 4.0
  • Shaaketh Sivakumar 4.0
  • Nikhil Parvathaneni 4.0
  • Shawnak Shivakumar 3.5

K-1 Championship

  • Kavya Meiyappan (MSJE) 4.5 (6th place)
  • Jason Li-Shen Liu (MSJE) 4.0
  • Lucas Jiang (MSJE) 4.0
  • Omya Vidyarthi 3.0
  • Elizur Fisher-Kirshner 3.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 15.0 (1st place)

Friday, May 12

SuperNationals VI - Friday Update

This is one of five large playing halls at the Grand Ole Opry. (credit:

The sixth SuperNationals brings more than 5500 eager young chess players, their parents and coaches to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, from Thursday, May 11 to Sunday, May 14. Every four years, the three spring scholastic championships (High School, Junior High and Elementary) come together under a single roof to form one humongous tournament. The resulting electric atmosphere has to be seen to be believed!

Among this world record turnout are 81 children from Northern California, including several school teams seeking to capture first place trophies. Three local International Masters lead the way in the powerful K-12 section: Cameron Wheeler, Vignesh Panchanatham and Kesav Viswanadha. Two younger stars are the rating favorites in their age groups: Rayan Taghizadeh in K-9 and Christopher Yoo in K-5. Strong teams represent Monta Vista High School, Mission San Jose High School and Mission San Jose Elementary. Best of luck to all!!!

Garry Kasparov smiles and signs books for kids. (credit: US Chess)

Standings after Round 2 (minimum 1.5) 

K-12 Championship

IM Vignesh Panchanatham (credit: US Chess)
  • IM Cameron Wheeler (MVHS) 2.0
  • IM Vignesh Panchanatham (Harker) 2.0
  • IM Kesav Viswanadha (MVHS) 2.0
  • nm Udit Iyengar (MVHS) 1.5
  • Monta Vista High School 6.0 (1st place)
  • Mission San Jose High School 4.0 (14th place)

K-9 Championship

  • SM Rayan Taghizadeh 2.0

K-8 Championship

  • Jaisuraj Kaleeswaran (Hopkins) 2.0
  • Hopkins Junior High School 4.5 (9th place)

K-6 Championship

  • Milind Maiti 2.0
  • Annapoorni Meiyappan (MSJE) 1.5
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 4.5 (4th place)

K-5 Championship

NM Christopher Yoo (credit: US Chess)
  • NM Christopher Yoo 2.0
  • Maurya Palusa 2.0
  • Vyom Vidyarthi 2.0
  • Aghilan Nachiappan (MSJE) 2.0
  • Stephen He (MSJE) 2.0
  • Abhinav Penagalapati (MSJE) 2.0
  • Kevin Pan (MSJE) 1.5
  • Nicholas Jiang (MSJE) 1.5
  • Allyson Wong (MSJE) 1.5
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 7.0 (1st place)

K-3 Championship

  • Sriram Krishnakumar 2.0
  • Adrian Kondakov 2.0
  • Nitish Nath 2.0
  • Shaaketh Sivakumar 1.5
  • Nikko Le 1.5

K-1 Championship

  • Kavya Meiyappan (MSJE) 2.0
  • Omya Vidyarthi 2.0
  • Jason Li-Shen Liu (MSJE) 2.0
  • Lucas Jiang (MSJE) 2.0
  • Mission San Jose Elementary 7.0 (1st place)