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Bay Area Chess hosts the annual CalChess Scholastic State Championships this weekend in Santa Clara. This year is the 44th edition of a tradition that started at a school, but has grown to fill several halls of a major convention center. Roughly 1200 children compete in 16 sections divided by age and chess skill. On Sunday evening, state champions will be crowned for the five Championship divisions: K-3, K-5, K-6, K-8 and K-12.


Check out the following trivia from more than four decades. Unfortunately, the records from 1976 through 1985 are not readily available.

  • First exceeded 500 players = 1997
  • First exceeded 1000 players = 2001
  • Largest turnout = 1319 in 2006
  • New sections added = Elementary K-5 section was only introduced in 2007 while Kindergarten began in 1997
  • Most High School individual titles = Vinay Bhat won 4 from 1998-2002. Three masters won 3 times: Andy McManus (1987-1990), Dmitry Zilberstein (1994-1997) and Cameron Wheeler (2013-2015).
  • Most High School team titles = 6 shared by Lowell High (1986-1994) and Saratoga High (2005-2010)
  • Youngest High School winner = 5th grader Daniel Naroditsky
  • Three 5-time champions = Vinay Bhat (K-3, K-12, K-12, K-12, K-12), Neel Apte (K-3, K-5, K-6, K-8, K-8), and Cameron Wheeler (K-5, K-6, K-12, K-12, K-12)
  • Four 4-time champions = Micah Fischer-Kirshner (K-3, K-6, K-6, K-12), Adam Lischinsky (K-3, K-3, K-8, K-12), Daniel Naroditsky (K-3, K-6, K-12, K-12), and James Kwok (K-3, K-6, K-8, K-8) 
  • Eleven 3-time champions = Andy McManus, Alan Stein, Dmitry Zilberstein, Keith Yost, Daniel Schwarz, Steven Zierk, Yian Liou, Kyle Shin, Tanuj Vasudeva, Siddharth Banik, Kevin Pan
  • Grand Slam champions = None! Must win all four of K-3, either K-5 or K-6, K-8, and K-12. Eight juniors have won 3 out of 4. 
  • Current US Champion Sam Shankland never won at the CalChess Scholastics. However, he became the adult State Champion at age 16.
  • The Schism of 2005 saw the CalChess Scholastics in Oakland compete against the CalNorth Regional in San Jose on same weekend. The Regional drew over twice as many kids (906 to 397).
  • More than 20 false 9-1-1 calls from public telephones marred the 1998 edition at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
  • Kudos to the main organizers = Ray Orwig, Dr. Alan Kirshner, Richard Peterson, Dr. Salman Azhar, and Dr. Judit Sztaray

Please contact Michael Aigner with errors, omissions, or additional trivia. Many thanks to Dr. Kirshner for maintaining the records from 1986 to 2011. 
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Photos: GM Shankland (left, credit St. Louis CC) and GM Naroditsky (right, credit Llada).  

The Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League returns to action this week on the Chess.com live server. The Bay Area is fortunate to have two strong teams in this worldwide competition. They battle in the Pacific Division against squads from San Diego, Seattle, Minnesota, Dallas, Australia and Chengdu (China). Each week, usually on Tuesday evenings, four team members rated under 2500 average each play four online games with the opposition at G/15 time control. After ten weeks, the top four teams in each Division advance to the league playoffs!

The San Francisco Mechanics are co-hosted by the Mechanics' Institute and the Berkeley Chess School. After failing to qualify for the inaugural season, the Mechanics took top honors in the league qualifier last November. The franchise actually has an extensive online history as one of the eight founding clubs of the now-defunct US Chess League. The Mechanics even brought home USCL title in 2006, led by a fearless young master who earned first team All Star honors on board 4!

That young master became the 2017 US Champion and is currently ranked #27 in the World. Sam Shankland will lead his hometown club after returning from Holland, where he faces Magnus Carlsen at the Tata Steel Masters beginning on Saturday. Fear not, San Francisco features five other Grandmasters, including child prodigy Parimarjan Negi of India and local superstar Daniel Naroditsky, who both studied at Stanford University. GM Vinay Bhat and GM Steven Zierk also sharpened their skills as juniors in the Bay Area and eagerly represent the Mechanics. The final Grandmaster is free agent Yannick Gozzoli of France, indeed 2018 co-national champion (check out this interview).

The roster includes two International Masters and a quintet of nationally ranked juniors who frequent tournaments at either the San Francisco or Berkeley clubs. IM Yian Liou and IM John Donaldson participated on the USCL teams of the past decade. These two veterans are reinforced by teenagers IM-elect Andrew Hong, IM-elect Ladia Jirasek and three other masters. Expect the Mechanics to spread weekly assignments around to give all the opportunity to shine.

San Francisco kicks off the season against their regional rivals, the San Jose Hackers. Hoping for a strong start, they unveil a triple GM lineup for Week 1: GM Naroditsky, GM Gozzoli, GM Bhat and FM Ezra Chambers. Check out the action on Tuesday evening starting at 5:25PM!

While this writer eagerly supports both Bay Area squads in the league, his true allegiance remains with three former students (GM Naroditsky, GM Zierk and IM Liou) plus several longtime friends who play for the Mechanics. Let's go San Francisco! Fix those cars!

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Photos: GM Mamedyarov (left) and IM-elect Yoo (right, credit Llada).  

The Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League returns to action this week on the Chess.com live server. The Bay Area is fortunate to have two strong teams in this worldwide competition. They battle in the Pacific Division against squads from San Diego, Seattle, Minnesota, Dallas, Australia and Chengdu (China). Each week, usually on Tuesday evenings, four team members rated under 2500 average each play four online games with the opposition at G/15 time control. After ten weeks, the top four teams in each Division advance to the league playoffs!

The San Jose Hackers are organized by Bay Area Chess and most team members either coach or participate in local chess classes, camps and tournaments. The star of the Hackers is World #3 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. Two countrymen join "Shak" as free agents for San Jose: World #39 Rauf Mamedov and World #63 Eltaj Safarli. The three Azeris will need to split duties on the top board, since league rules permit only one free agent to play each week.

The other Hackers all reside in the Bay Area. Grandmaster coaches Zviad Izoria and Enrico Sevillano expect to platoon on second board. Coach and journalist IM Kostya Kavutskiy, 12 year old newly minted IM-elect Christopher Yoo and rapid specialist NM Faik Aleskerov will play significant roles throughout the season. Four teen masters, all current or former students of Bay Area Chess, share duties on board 4.

San Jose narrowly missed out on the playoffs last season and will seek to improve this year. Perhaps to make a statement, the Hackers rolled out their strongest lineup for the week 1 showdown against their rivals, the San Francisco Mechanics: GM Mamedyarov, GM Izoria, IM-elect Yoo and FM Ivan Ke. Check out the action on Tuesday evening starting at 5:25PM!

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fpawn chess blog by Michael Aigner - 9M ago
The playing venue is at the Ciudad de la Cultura. (website)

The 2018 World Cadet Chess Championships kicked off on Sunday at the Christian pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela located in northwestern Spain. Nearly 850 young chess players from around the world compete in six sections: Open and Girls for age U8, U10 and U12. The Open U10 and Open U12 divisions both have over 200 participants. After eleven rounds, gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded on November 15.

Team USA includes 75 players, at least that many parents, 6 official team coaches and several private trainers. The American medal chances seem greatest in Open U12, where 21 kids rock the red, white and blue, including 4 of the top 10 seeds. Top contenders include Rachael Li (1st seed in Girls U8), FM Christopher Yoo (2nd seed in Open U12), IM Arthur Guo (4th seed in Open U12), NM Kirk Ghazarian (8th seed in Open U12), Dimitar Mardov (8th seed in Open U10), CM Jason Wang (10th seed in Open U12) and Crystal Gu (10th seed in Girls U8). Note that seeds are ranked by FIDE ratings, and the order may differ from USCF ratings.

Team USA hails from 17 states, including 16 youngsters from New York, 12 from California, 10 from New Jersey and 6 each from Illinois and Texas. The other states represented are: AZ, CT, FL, GA, MA, MI, OH, OR, PA, VA, WA and WI.

The official website is http://www.wccc2018.com/. The daily rounds begin at 7:30am PST except on November 10 (free day) and November 15 (final round starts 2.5 hours sooner). Watch the top boards at FollowChess or at Chess24 (with a 30 minute delay to deter cheating).

STANDINGS
Top American scores plus California kids
Rating from November USCF supplement
Age given as of December 31, 2018
LAST UPDATED AFTER ROUND 1
(Next after Round 4 due to travel)

OPEN U12 results link (21 players)

  • FM Yoo, Christopher (12 CA-N 2455) = 1.0
  • IM Guo, Arthur (12 GA 2387) = 1.0
  • FM Chasin, Nico (12 NY 2320) = 1.0
  • CM Wang, Jason (12 OH 2317) = 1.0
  • CM Zhou, Liran (10 NY 2291) = 0.0
  • NM Tian, Eddy (12 NJ 2270) = 0.5
  • NM Clasby, Derek (12 NJ 2231) = 0.0
  • NM Ghazarian, Kirk (12 CA-S 2230) = 1.0
  • NM Yu, Jason (12 WA 2208) = 1.0
  • Nathan, Krishna (12 CA-N 2115) = 1.0

GIRLS U12 results link (11 players)

  • WCM Ke, Rianne (12 CA-S 2102) = 1.0
  • WFM Wang, Ellen (11 NY 2015) = 1.0
  • Menon, Gauri (12 WI 1906) = 1.0
  • WCM Eswaran, Aksithi (12 CA-N 1879) = 1.0
  • WCM Pang, Ashley (11 CA-N 1737) = 1.0

OPEN U10 results link (12 players)

  • Mardov, Dimitar (10 IL 2178) = 1.0
  • Ngo, Bach (10 FL 2075) = 1.0
  • Zhao, Erick (10 FL 2067) = 1.0
  • CM Hardaway, Brewington (9 NY 2047) = 1.0
  • Lee, Jayden (10 AZ 2022) = 1.0
  • Wilson, Ronen (10 VA 2006) = 1.0
  • Shivakumar, Shawnak (10 CA-N 1991) = 1.0
  • CM Emrikian, Aren (8 IL 1950) = 1.0
  • Huang, Brian (10 CA-S 1924) = 0.0
  • Sivakumar, Shaaketh (10 CA-N 1861) = 1.0

GIRLS U10 results link (15 players)

  • Liu, Kelsey (10 MA 1944) = 1.0
  • WCM Velea, Sophie (10 WA 1782) = 0.0
  • Wu, Abbie (9 OR 1733) = 1.0
  • Peng, Sophia (10 AZ 1697) = 1.0
  • WCM Wen, Kally (10 CA-N 1681) = 0.0

OPEN U8 results link (9 players)

  • Wang, Alexander (8 NJ 1960) = 1.0
  • Chennareddy, Yuvraj (8 IL 1901) = 1.0
  • Jiang, Andrew (8 GA 1864) = 1.0
  • Woodward, Andy (8 TX 1812) = 1.0

GIRLS U8 results link (7 players)

  • Li, Rachael (8 TX 1994) = 1.0
  • WCM Qiao, Evelyn (8 GA 1641) = 0.5
  • Gu, Crystal (8 CA-S 1578) = 1.0
  • Prakash, Nandini (8 IL 1554) = 0.0
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fpawn chess blog by Michael Aigner - 9M ago

Test your ability to solve mates in one using this fun web application. You get 10 seconds to find the correct move. If you're right, then you immediately get another position. The program stops when your move is not checkmate, or when your time expires.

Many of the positions are trivially winning, but the goal is to checkmate in one. Multiple solutions exist for some problems, and the program will accept any of them. After you have solved several hundred, you may notice that some positions repeat.

Parental warning: This game is addictive. I know several young masters who solved over 100 in a row. At least two have reached 500! At this time, yours truly only achieved a modest 41. If you wish to brag to your friends, then save a screenshot immediately after you messed up.

Finally, if 10 seconds is too fast, then simply edit the number at the end of the URL.
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fpawn chess blog by Michael Aigner - 11M ago
US Champion Sam Shankland having fun teaching talented
kids at the US Chess School. (Credit: US Chess School)

NorCal Top 20 Adults
September 2018

Rank Name USCF FIDE
1 GM Shankland, Sam 2816 2722
2 GM Zviad Izoria 2718 2601
3 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 2691 2615
4 GM Holt, Conrad 2688 2561
5 GM Zierk, Steven 2565 2506
6 IM Harmon-Vellotti, Luke 2563 2455
7 GM Matamoros, Carlos (ECU) 2561 2494
8 IM Joshua Sheng 2550 2447
9 GM Sevillano, Enrico 2535 2423
10 IM Wheeler, Cameron 2503 2406
11 IM Liou, Yian 2499 2412
12 IM Kavutskiy, Kostya 2472 2424
13 SM Hong, Andrew Z 2467 2357
14 IM Viswanadha, Kesav 2457 2367
15 IM Zilberstein, Dmitry 2454 2378
16 IM Coleman, Teddy 2452 2378
17 IM Panchanatham, Vignesh 2451 2383
18 SM Zhu, Jack Q 2437 2373
19 SM Yoo, Christopher W 2414 2402
20 IM Mezentsev, Vladimir (RUS) 2408 2340

  • Derived from US Chess Rating Lists by State.
  • GM Negi moved to Massachusetts.
  • GM Holt and GM Sevillano listed under other states.
  • Newcomers GM Zierk (welcome back!) and IM Sheng.
  • GM DeFirmian and IM Donaldson mostly inactive.
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fpawn chess blog by Michael Aigner - 11M ago
Rui Yang Yan playing at
Women's Western Regional in
Berkeley. (Credit: Chessdryad)
NM Rochelle Wu playing at
Women's Western Regional in
Berkeley (Credit: Chessdryad)





















NorCal Top 100 Lists and NorCal Top 20 Juniors
August 2018

Rank Age Name USCF Change FIDE
1 17 WIM Eswaran, Ashritha 2256 52 2243
2 12 WCM Wu, Rochelle 2252 141 2094
3 11 Yan, Rui Y 2133 167 1852
4 15 WFM Liu, Kimberly 2012 33 1877
5 15 Nayberg, Simona 1954 114 1880
6 17 Chatterjee, Trina 1913 53 1748
7 12 WCM Eswaran, Aksithi 1876 86 1757
8 13 WFM Meiyappan, Annapoorni 1843 -25 1631
9 16 Show, Serafina 1836 23 1550
10 14 WCM Garai, Antara 1826 -40 1556
11 17 Hasteer, Divija 1775 -35 1544
12 11 WCM Wong, Allyson 1746 107 1479
13 12 Zhou, Chelsea 1733 343
14 15 Gomboluudev, Enkhjin C 1720 55 1676
15 9 WCM Rajaram, Anika 1706 181 1371
16 8 WCM Vidyarthi, Omya 1679 351 1145
17 10 WCM Pang, Ashley 1666 80 1604
18 14 Chen, Ashleann 1616 -66
19 13 Wang, Agnes Z 1592 85
20 11 Lee, Yesun 1591 214

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Local stars FM Josiah Stearman and FM Rayan Taghizadeh squared off at the
US Cadet (U16) Invitational in San Jose last month. (Credit: BayAreaChess)

NorCal Top 100 Lists and NorCal Top 20 Juniors
August 2018

Rank Age Name USCF Change FIDE
1 13 FM Hong, Andrew Z 2454 33 2377
2 14 FM Stearman, Josiah P 2416 111 2346
3 16 FM Taghizadeh, Rayan 2402 -41 2302
4 15 NM Ke, Ivan 2351 37 2238
5 13 FM Daggupati, Balaji 2329 57 2226
6 16 NM Wang, Michael 2323 -15 2133
7 17 WIM Eswaran, Ashritha 2256 52 2243
8 12 NM Wu, Rochelle 2252 141 2094
9 17 NM Ravuri, Vinesh 2239 68 2050
10 13 NM Kolay, Alex 2220 141 2115
11 15 NM Wu, Derek S 2220 161 2050
12 15 nm Murugappan, Ganesh 2193 69 2076
13 17 FM Vasudeva, Tanuj 2184 -2 2013
14 15 Wang, Henry 2182 117 1970
15 15 Feng, Justin 2173 43 1987
16 15 Pan, David 2162 67 1979
17 12 Nathan, Krishna 2152 188 1894
18 17 Wei, Jeffrey 2150 19 1965
19 12 Pan, Kevin 2148 92 2040
20 17 nm Pan, Christopher 2145 -61 2045

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11 year old FM Christopher Yoo won a brilliancy against GM Conrad Holt
to complete his second IM norm this month in Berkeley. (Credit: Lawless)

NorCal Top 100 Lists and NorCal Top 20 Juniors
August 2018

Rank Age Name USCF Change FIDE
1 11 FM Yoo, Christopher W 2414 140 2378
2 10 NM Li, Eric Y 2207 158 2008
3 11 Yan, Rui Y 2133 167 1852
4 11 Vidyarthi, Vyom 2105 132 1912
5 10 Kondakov, Adrian 2057 133 1948
6 11 Boldi, Ethan K 2011 139 1879
7 10 CM Krishnakumar, Sriram 1978 22 1675
8 10 Shivakumar, Shawnak 1919 131 1713
9 11 CM Nachiappan, Aghilan 1911 94 1631
10 11 Sairam, Pranav 1866 57
11 11 Kamath, Atul R 1832 66 1478
12 9 CM Nath, Nitish 1811 187 1506
13 9 Sivakumar, Shaaketh 1792 109 1522
14 11 WCM Wong, Allyson 1746 107 1479
15 10 Le, Nikko D 1745 96
16 11 Zhou, Nolan Y 1742 128
17 10 Weng, Nicholas 1737 138
18 7 Rajaram, Rohan 1718 505 1321
19 9 WCM Rajaram, Anika 1706 181 1371
20 11 Kou, Daniel 1703 -71 1444

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fpawn chess blog by Michael Aigner - 1y ago
The front desk and chess library. (Credit: Shorman)

Berkeley Summer GM Norm Invitational
August 17 to 21
Hosted by the Berkeley Chess School
Watch the games live at the Follow Chess app!

Time control = G/90 + inc/30
Average rating =  2433
Required score = 6.5 for GM norm, 5.0 for IM norm
Participants:
  • GM Conrad Holt (2592)
  • GM Priyadarshan Kannappan (2554) from India    
  • GM Mark Paragua (2506) from Philippines
  • IM Joshua Sheng (2415)
  • IM Bryce Tiglon (2392) from Finland
  • NM Gabriel Bick (2391)
  • IM Ahuja Rohan (2387) from India 
  • FM Christopher Yoo (2378)   
  • IM Kim Yap (2366) from Philippines
  • FM Josiah Stearman (2346)
Crosstable:

GM Conrad Holt  | X |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   0.0
GM Kannappan    |   | X |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   0.0
GM M. Paragua   |   |   | X |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   0.0
IM Josh Sheng   |   |   |   | X |   |   |   |   |   |   |   0.0
IM B. Tiglon    |   |   |   |   | X |   |   |   |   |   |   0.0
NM Gabe Bick    |   |   |   |   |   | X |   |   |   |   |   0.0
IM Ahuja Rohan  |   |   |   |   |   |   | X |   |   |   |   0.0
FM Chris Yoo    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | X |   |   |   0.0
IM Kim Yap      |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | X |   |   0.0
FM J. Stearman  |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | X |   0.0

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