Thursday, September 29

CalChess FIDE Rated Juniors - September 2011

Beware the 5th grade master!
When I earned my first international rating in January 2000, the recognition was more of rare bird than it is today, especially for non-masters and juniors.  Starting out at 2054, my FIDE actually dropped to 2011, barely above the absolute floor of 2000 back then.  My USCF rating bounced around 2100 at the time.

I participated in a handful of "Futurity" events at the Mechanic's Institute, intended for players to earn a published FIDE rating.  Only a handful of elite juniors were invited.  Consequently, I doubt that more than five kids in the Bay Area could boast of their world ranking at any one time.   

Fast forward to 2011...

CalChess FIDE Rated Juniors
(September 2011 FIDE ratings)

  1. IM Daniel Naroditsky 2472
  2. NM Gregory Young 2368
  3. NM Yian Liou 2283
  4. NM Samuel Sevian 2180
  5. Daniel Liu 2063
  6. Kyle Shin 2046
  7. Siddharth Banik 2034
  8. Arthur Liou 2024
  9. Jack Zhu 1996
  10. Cameron Wheeler 1962
  11. Kesav Viswanadha 1938
  12. Udit Iyengar 1917
  13. Ojas Chinchwadkar 1915
  14. Vignesh Panchanatham 1902
  15. Allan Beilin 1899
Things certainly changed in a decade!  An amazing 15 youngsters are currently ranked, even after four graduated this past June.  Eight sport a FIDE rating over 2000.  With fellow World Youth gold medalist Steven Zierk now a freshman at MIT, Daniel Naroditsky lays an undisputed claim to the rank of 600 lb gorilla in Bay Area scholastic chess.

Reigning US Junior champion Gregory Young bounced up 72 points in the first half of 2011 before returning to his retirement due to school and basketball.  Hopefully he will submit the necessary paperwork and fee for the FM title that he duly earned by breaking 2300 FIDE.  Last year's US Cadet co-champion Yian Liou lurks within striking distance of FM as well, needing just one or two good tournaments.

After this trio of talented high school players, 10 of the remaining 12 local kids are in middle or elementary school!  Moving up from just below 2200 is Samuel Sevian, the country's youngest master ever (based on USCF rating).  The bottom six players on the Bay Area rankings may still be below 2000, but I bet they will shoot up quickly considering they all are in 5th or 6th grade (except Ojas Chinchwadkar).

Wednesday, September 21

CalChess Top 20 FIDE

Reigning state champion GM Sam Shankland (see photo) sits on top of the CalChess FIDE rating list for September 2011.  I still remember Sam as a B and C player way back in 2004.  He certainly came a long way since those days, winning three of the last four state titles (2008, 2009 and 2011), playing in three straight US Championships, finishing third this year, and defeating Peter Leko, former World Championship challenger, at the 2011 World Cup.  Although Sam now attends Brandeis University in Boston, he plans to play in one or two Bay Area tournaments each year.

Aside from Shankland's meteoric improvement, there are a couple of other noteworthy changes since my last ranking list in February 2010.  First, former state champion GM Josh Friedel moved to Wisconsin in search of happy cows.  Fair travels!  Secondly, teenage FMs Steven Zierk and Daniel Naroditsky upgraded their titles to IM, both gaining over 120 FIDE rating points in a year and a half.  Steven also moved to Boston for college after being admitted to MITWould the state of Massachusetts kindly stop kidnapping the young chess stars of California?!

CalChess Top 20 FIDE
  1. GM Sam Shankland 2553
  2. GM Jesse Kraai 2514
  3. GM Vinay Bhat 2511
  4. IM Steven Zierk 2483
  5. IM Daniel Naroditsky 2472
  6. IM Dmitry Zilberstein 2403
  7. IM John Donaldson 2390
  8. IM David Pruess 2386
  9. IM Ricardo DeGuzman 2382
  10. IM Vladimir Mezentsev 2369
  11. NM Gregory Young 2368
  12. NM Arun Sharma 2331
  13. FM Andrey Chumachenko 2325
  14. FM Ronald Cusi 2313
  15. FM Robin Cunningham 2295
  16. NM Peter Zavadsky 2294
  17. FM Shinsaku Uesugi 2292
  18. NM Yian Liou 2283
  19. NM Sevan Buscara 2271
  20. FM Bela Evans 2262

Friday, September 9

Study Math or Study Chess? Let's Ask Kasparov.

Hey all ya math and chess nerds! Garry Kasparov was interviewed on TV in Brazil:

I'll give you one example: there was an experience run in Germany by one of the German universities. They had classes, two classes. One had extra hours of mathematics. Another class, the same class, parallel, had extra hours in chess. At the end of the year, they compared the results in... mathematics! The class with chess won. But moreover it's about social integration, because it helps kids to gain some self-esteem, it boosts their attitude, sense of logic.

This sounds all too familiar to me.