For me chess is at the same time a game, a sport, a science and an art. And perhaps even more than that. This is something hard to explain to those who do not play the game well. One must learn to play it correctly to savor its richness.
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News 2) National Junior High School Championship report by Michael Aigner 3) Anand simul for charity 4) Foxwoods 5) Here and There 6) Upcoming Events
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
Halfway through the 8 round Spring Tuesday Night Marathon only two perfect scores remain: Victor Ossipov and Romulo Fuentes. Daniel Naroditsky is in third with 3 1/2 points.
Congratulations to Mechanics' Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky and MI member IM Dmitry Zilberstein who tied for first in the Open section of the Far West Open in Reno this past weekend with GM Melik Khachiyan and IM Enrico Sevillano. The four winners scored 4.5 from 6. The event was a great success for other Mechanic's members as Yefim Bukh won the A section and several other players finished near the top of their groups. We hope to have a complete report next week.
Congratulations to Tuesday Night Marathon regular Dan Litowsky who turns 90 this Friday!
This Saturday and Sunday the MI will be hosting its annual Walter Lovegrove Senior Championship open to players 50 and over.
2) National Junior High School Championship report by Michael Aigner
Gregory Young and other CalChess kids win at National JHS in Sacramento!
For one weekend, the epicenter of U.S. chess moved west of the Hudson River and ended up at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers. While school children all around the country learn about Sacramento as the western hub of the Pony Express and the Transcontinental Railroad, for just one weekend it was also home to many of the best young chess players in America. Fortunately, the difference between the 19th century and the 21st century is that a trip from New York City to Sacramento now takes 6 to 8 hours instead of 6 to 8 days!
Several local coaches had long anticipated the invasion of the nation's top players from New York and other states. They wanted to measure their students up to those representing established names such as Hunter College and I.S. 318. The coaches from California rubbed elbows with their counterparts from the Big Apple: FM Sunil Weeramantry, IM Greg Shahade and WFM Elizabeth Vicary were just three. And while Yankee armada took home more than its fair share of trophies, it is safe to say that the California delegation can hold its head high!
A total of 230 kids from northern California participated in the 2007 National Junior High School Championship on March 30 to April 1, joining a gathering of over 1000 eager youngsters. The CalChess delegation combined for 16 trophies in the two Open sections and many more in the "Under" divisions. The players also brought 23 team trophies home to show off to their school principals and classmates. The largest groups were Joe Lonsdale's teams from Mission San Jose Elementary (plus Hopkins Junior High) in Fremont and Ray Orwig's team from Saint Mark's School in San Rafael. The spirit of U.S. chess is alive and strong in northern California!
By far the most successful participant was Gregory Young from San Francisco. As a 6th grader, Gregory was one of the younger players in the extremely difficult K-9 section-but he was also one of the top seeds with a 2060 rating. When all of the dust had settled and the results were tabulated, Gregory had finished tied for first place with five older players! His pairings certainly weren't easy because Gregory faced no fewer than four underrated players from New York, including three from Weeramantry's elite Hunter College team. He needed all of his confidence and poise to bounce back from a disappointing round 4 loss to Oregon star Steven Breckenridge, who despite his 1891 rating defeated three of the top six seeds. In the last round, Gregory beat the underrated expert Jared Tan from Los Angeles. When another Los Angeles player, Christian Tanaka (2126) upset the tournament leader Alec Getz (2128) to create a tie for first, it was time to celebrate. Gregory: you may now call yourself the U.S. Junior High School Champion! Congratulations from your proud coach for a job well done!
Two other players deserve recognition for placing in the top 25 of the K-9 section. While Daniel Naroditsky may have hoped for than a 5.0 score, 12th place in the country is no small feat. That is certainly true when you realize that, as a 5th grader, Daniel has another four years to try to win this tournament. The biggest local surprise was Mukund Chillakanti, who at 1597 had to defeat two 1850+ and one 1750. Mukund's 18th place result is even more remarkable considering that he had to bounce back from an upset loss to an underrated 1448 in round 1!
Most elite northern California juniors played in the 226 player K-8 section. Rohan Agarwal (1931) earned the top local score at 5.5/7, defeating a pair of Arizona players in rounds 5 and 7 to finish strong. The author of these lines recently had personal experience with playing against Rohan's determination and fighting spirit. With the same score as Rohan and in 10th place came 3rd grader Kyle Shin-yes, his grade in school is not a typo! In the last round, Kyle (1675) defeated a player from Arizona who was all of four years older and 200 points higher rated. His lone defeat in the tournament came at the hands of #1 seed and eventual national champion Marc Tyler Arnold (2333). Kyle's friend and study partner Nicholas Nip-also a 3rd grader-finished in 18th place with 5.0/7. What do they feed these kids in California that they are so young and yet so good? The final local trophy winner in K-8 was a child prodigy six years ago, but after a break from chess he is "merely good enough" to get 25th place at the nationals. Steven Zierk had by far the most difficult pairings this side of Gregory Young-playing in a veritable A section against six opponents rated an average of over 1850 and scoring 5.0/7! Only at the national scholastic championships is it considered normal to see an expert strength player rated 1527 like Steven.
Tournament results: http://www.alchess.com/chess/07/jhs/?page=STANDINGS & x section=K9
The two strongest sections in the National Junior High School Championship were the K-9 Open and K-8 Open. Trophies were awarded to the top 25 places plus honorable mention to all tied for 25th. In addition, there were class prizes for players who did not receive an overall trophy. Team trophies were awarded to the top 25 school teams. May I have a vigorous round of applause for all of these winners? (For a note to trophy winners who left before the awards ceremony, please read http://www.uschess.org/tournaments/2007/jhs)
K-9 section winners (six tied at 6.0/7, listed in computer tiebreak order): Alec Getz (2128 from NY), Steven Breckenridge (1891 from OR), Gregory Young (2060 from CalChess), Christian Tanaka (2126 from south CA), Michael Yee (1994 from south CA), Grant Ho (1998 from FL). K-9 team champion: Hunter College from New York City with 21.0.
CalChess winners in K-9:
K-8 section champion at perfect 7-0: Marc Tyler Arnold (2333 from NY).
CalChess winners in K-8:
For many schools, the focus of chess is a fun after school activity that stimulates the minds of young players. These schools are not competitive enough for the Open sections. Fortunately, the Junior High Nationals had three "Under" divisions and one "Unrated" section. The following northern California schools should be proud to have received trophies in the top 15 of their sections. Congratulations!
Saint Mark's School = 7th place team in K-9 U1250
One characteristic of a national championship is the incredibly challenging pairings. It is a simple fact that people will not fly in from around the country just to lose! A supermajority of the players in the tournament is underrated, many by several hundred points. While 400 rating point upsets are rare in local events (both adult and scholastic), they seem to almost be the norm at a national championship. It is perfectly natural for the higher rated players to lose a few rating points simply because of the difficulty of competition. Even out of the six co-champions in the K-9 section, only one gained more than 8 rating points. To all those parents and children out there in shock at the rating points they lost, do not lose hope: If you're truly good, you will gain the points back soon enough at other tournaments.
On behalf of all of the players, parents and coaches, I would like to extend words of appreciation to the directors and volunteers who worked at this tournament. Having attended half a dozen scholastic nationals over the past few years, I can safely say that this event was the most smoothly run that I have seen. Much of the credit goes to the professional staff of National and Senior TD's who fly in from around the country just for the privilege of spending a weekend indoors with a thousand kids-all the while paid either a meager sum or merely their expenses. Some local directors contributed all weekend as well, including John McCumiskey, Richard Koepcke, Tom Langland, Arthur Braden, Salman Azhar and Bob Baker. Thank you to all who made the Nationals a weekend to remember!
Finally, this author would like to publish a PGN file of games from this tournament. If you or your child played a game worth showing, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and attach the games in either PGN or CBV format
3) Anand simul for charity
Play in a Charity Simul against Anand on April 21
World #1 Vishwanathan Anand of India is once again utilizing the services of the Internet Chess Club (ICC - www.chessclub.com) to champion a cause that is close to his heart: Vidya Sagar (www.vidyasagar.co.in), a non-profit organization that strives for inclusion of children with autism and cerebral palsy.
In 2005, Anand held a successful simul on the ICC that raised much-needed funds for the Indian charity he's become associated with. The funds raised in 2005 provided wheelchairs for 65 children apart from other orthotic aids that were urgently needed. And again the world #1 is looking for the goodwill of chess players to play their part in a fun-filled challenging day in aid of the charity
Coming to Vidyasagar is a very special feeling" said Anand. "It is a place where behind a child's laughter there is a story. Our responsibility is to make each of these stories have a happy ending. Cerebral palsy by itself is a complex problem, and each child's condition is a unique challenge. I would like to thank the ICC for joining forces with us once again. As a company, they have shown it is not just the bottom line but a child's smile that could make all the difference." "For me, it is a personal dream to see these children smile brighter - and this is the best move we as a chess community can make together to help them."
The ICC is auctioning off on eBay 15 seats to play in the simultaneous exhibition on Saturday, April 21st, starting at 12:00pm ET (5pm GMT) with Grandmaster Anand.
The winning bidders of this and the 14 other eBay auctions will each earn a seat to play Super Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand on ICC. The time control will be 90 minutes with a 5 second increment. Seats will only be available to players under the rating of 2200 and they will play with the black pieces.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play one of the world's most famous grandmasters and, more importantly, to help children who are facing a much greater challenge.
The first four to raise $350 or more will receive a 12-month subscription (or 12-month renewal) to the ICC plus a 12-month subscription (or renewal) to the world's leading chess magazine, New In Chess, total value $147.95. The first two to raise $500 or more will receive an 18-month subscription (or 18-month renewal) to the ICC plus a 12-month subscription (or renewal) for New In Chess Yearbook, a total value of $208.
Please note that ALL 100% of the proceeds raised will go directly to the charity. PLEASE play your part in helping the world #1, Vishwanathan Anand, raise funds through chess on the ICC for this worthy cause that is so very close to his heart.
For further information, contact:
The 9th Foxwoods Open saw 4 players tied for first place scoring 7 points from 9 games. Gata Kamsky became the winner after beating Zviad Izoria in a tie-break blitz game. The big news for American chess was New Mexico IM Jesse Kraai who scored 6 1/2 from 9 to make his final GM norm. Among his scalps in the event were GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Alex Shabalov. Kraai, who is in his mid 30s, totally dedicated himself to the quest for the GM title four years ago and his success is testimony to all the hard work and perseverance he put in. Well done Jesse!
MI US Chess League teammates IMs David Pruess and Josh Friedel didn't make the GM norms they came to Foxwoods for, but both turned in solid performances to finish near the top.
1-4. Kamsky, Izoria, Ibragimov and Stripunsky - 7
5) Here and There
News Regarding the 2007 Pan American Youth Chess Festival
April 10, 2007
The 2007 Pan American Youth Chess Festival is scheduled for July 2 - 7, in Medellin, Colombia. Due to the travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department (see link below) and the liability issues involved with such travel, the USCF has declined to send an official delegation to this year's event. The office will work with individuals who choose to attend in securing the appropriate paperwork requested by the tournament organizers. We deeply regret the need to decline and look forward to participation in next year's Pan American Youth.
If you have additional questions, please contact our office.
Scholastic and FIDE Director
U.S. Chess Federation
PO Box 3967
Crossville, TN 38557-3967
Office - 931-787-1234 Ext. 145
Fax - 931-787-1200
Masters vs Youths
Is a non-title norm tournament featuring 5 fide titled masters vs 5 unrated top illinois youths (all above 1900 USCF). Go to http://www.nachess.org/fide/april2007.html for more information.
Video clips and photos of GM Yasser Seirawan's historic Seirawan Chess Simultaneous held last Saturday, March 31 (the first ever Seirawan Chess event held) are now posted at:
The videos include Yasser explaining the difference between S-Chess and Fischer Random Chess, how S-Chess will be promoted around the world and why it was much more difficult giving a simultaneous in S-Chess than in standard chess (he scored 8-2-2 against under 2200 opposition).
6) Upcoming Events
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 14th and 15th
A Classic Event!
Apr.14 12th California Classic Championship California, Northern
A Classic Event!
Jun.16 14th California Classic Championship California, Northern
May 15-23, Oklahoma
Aug. 14-19 2007 U.S. Senior Open S. California
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