Thursday, June 30, 2016


Chess Life magazine arrived today with Weibel again receiving national attention (albeit, minor) in two articles. Weibel was noted as having a touch of an impact on the creation of Bay Area Chess as well as a nationally renowned chess program. Jorge Barrera in his article "Many Happy Returns" on the KFC All-Girls Nationals and Anupama Rajendra, three time champion, wrote: "Weibel Chess, from Fremont, California, always has a strong showing, with much enthusiasm and team pride." The Weibel School helps foster that team pride by featuring our trophies in the office at different times during the year.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


On Friday, May 27 2016, the 180 member Weibel Chess Club and Chess Team had their end of the year Awards Banquet. Loads of great food, awards, trophies and certificates for all, plus a bonus of door prizes for every student. We had another great year of chess both in learning skills and winning major tournaments. We are most proud of our sixth Girls National Championship title. This would not have been possible without all the great volunteers, our wonderful instructors, the Weibel Elementary School staff and our unbeatable students. A special call-out goes to the NorCal House of Chess for providing our trophy winners with extra prizes. The first picture you will see (I hope) is of our Under 10 Girls National Championship Team. This will be followed by the photo of Aaron Hu obtaining his MVP award. Rithwik Narendra named Rookie of the Year is next. Two players tied for the most improved players--Nikko Le and Elena Xu. Two other players received the Scott Ferguson Memorial Scholarship financial reward and plaques--Stanley Ko and Zayaan Khan. This award has been provide by Scott's parent's since his untimely death in 1994. The recipient is that individual that most represents the Weibel Chess program of developing a love of chess, fun through chess, high academic achievement and is just an all around great person. The final photographs are the winners of the Club and Team trophies for having obtained the most extra credit points during the 2015-2016 chess year.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Photos and results of the Weibel girls success at this year's All-Girls Nationals are linked from: I meant to post this earlier in the week.

The full Weibel Varsity Team will be heading to the Elementary School Nationals in Nashville next weekend - May 6-8, 2016
. Once again we will face formidable foes especially our neighbor school a couple of miles north. While around 450 girls from around the country competed in Chicago the Elementary School Chess Nationals have already registered almost 2200 players. I make no predictions only that we will have a wonderful group of skillful chess players that I know will do their best to bring home another championship.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Four hundred and fifty girls from all around the country turned out for this year's All-Girls Chess Nationals, April 21-23 2016. This was the largest turn-out in the 12 years of this event and perhaps the largest all girls chess tournaments ever in the United States. The larger numbers also made for more teams and stronger competition. Weibel girls chess teams have won the Under 12 section for three straight years. This, however, was our year to win the Under 10 division which we had not won since 2011. Weibel girls also placed fourth in the Under 8 section and our Horner Junior High School took a third place in the Under 14 proudly displaying the Weibel banner while wearing Weibel jackets. We were tied with a New York team in the fifth round, although they were ahead in tie-breaks. In the sixth and final round the Weibel girls showed their mettle and pulled ahead by one and a half points to win Weibel's sixth National All-Girls Chess Championship. My special thanks to all the parents and siblings of our wonderful Weibel girls who cheered them on and to their in house coach, Demetrius Goins.  I would like to thank David Heiser, the organizer, and his very capable staff for a beautifully run event and another wonderful experience. It is no wonder that the event just keeps growing. 
More information later this week.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


I would like to begin my blog entry on the 2016 CalChess State Scholastic Championships by providing my KUDOS to the Mission San Jose Elementary School players.  Over the weekend of March 19 and 20 they accomplished the near impossible. MSJE won not only every Championship Team section, but every individual Championship--a feat never before achieved in the 41year history of the event.  We did our best to prevent this, but candidly, our best was not good enough.  I am really pleased with the effort my Weibel players put fourth and I am sure they provided some tension to the Mission San Jose Team.  I thought we had a good chance to upset the favorites in both the K-5 and K-6 Championship sections, especially when the coach of the MSJE team did what I hoped he would do after seeing the strength of our K-5 team.  At the last minute he moved Kevin Pan (1881), a fourth grader, who he had initially placed in the K-6 section to the K-5 division.   I cheered because I knew that this gave us a fighting chance in both the K-5 and K-6 where before I only saw a possible win in K-5.  Weibel’s strength in both the K-3 and Kindergarten sections failed to come near Mission San Jose.  At the State Grade Level, where players could only compete in their own grades, our younger groups paled in comparison to Mission.  However, we did win the 1st grade section as well as the 5th and 6th grades while tying for the championship in the 4th grade.  
            Weibel closed the competition on Saturday with a tied team score in both the K-5 and K-6.  Our team could not hold on to the ties as Mission’s players came on strong and finally won both the K-5 and K-6 sections by a score of 18 to 17—one game point ahead.  Not a bad result, but not a win and far from Weibel’s Waterloo.  We will have another chance to outpace this year’s CalChess State Champions, as we did at the Grade Level in December, at the Nationals in Nashville the first weekend in May. 
 I did mention in my Facebook posting and in my first report on Weibel’s players at the States that I was going to go into a bit more detail on the last game of the last round in the K-5 and why the Chief Tournament Director’s judgment call might have impacted the outcome of that division.  I want to make it clear I am not claiming any bias or cheating on the part of the TD as some coaches are prone to do.  A judgment call is just that a judgment and, as we all know, that in all sports once a referee, an umpire or a judge makes a call nothing in heaven or earth is going to make them change that decision.  I did sit down with the TD and asked the parents and coaches to leave so I could get some sense as to why the call was made. 
Before I try to explain what happened, I want to be clear that I, like all coaches and parents, was not in the playing hall at the time of the conflicts. I will try to be as fair as I can be from what I pieced together from the Weibel child and the Chief TD.  Somewhere in the middle game the Weibel player won a pawn from his opponent.  The opponent started cursing at the Weibel player and apparently was sulking and disturbing the players around him, one of whom raised his hand to call the Chief TD.   On the back of every players badge that hung from their necks is the following: “Interference during Games, Absolutely ANY interfering in another player’s game is not allowed and will likely also get you immediately forfeited from the tournament!”  The Chief TD decided to penalize the offending player by adding ten minutes to the Weibel player’s clock.  When I asked him about the statement on the back of the card, I was informed that he felt that the statement only applied to interfering in another player’s game and not his opponent and the defining words were “very likely.”  What can I say?

However, it did not end there.  Later in the game the non-Weibel player dropped a Rook in motion.  From what I was told by the Chief TD, an emotional exchange broke out between the two players as to where the Rook had to be placed.  Both players would not calm down and so the players were sent to different sides of the room to sit until they cooled off.  I asked why he did not abandon the game and also why he stopped the clock.  I did not get an answer beyond asking me if that was what I would do.  I answered yes I would abandon the game and I would not have stopped the clock no matter whose move it had been.  In thinking that statement over I am now not sure if I would have stopped the clock.  

The game was later resumed with the concept that the final decision should be determined on the battlefield of the chessboard.  To me that is like the Medieval system of justice—let the two opponents battle it out and the winner is the one who is just.   From my perspective, you are dealing with children and when a player or players get emotional as they did that isn’t going to be a chess game.  I know both players well as the Weibel player’s opponent had spent two year’s at Weibel.  My present player has difficulty overcoming his emotions when he feels he has been unjustly treated.  I wasn’t surprised he lost.  His opponent was known for crying and throwing fits when he was losing and once he settled down and rattled his opponent he came on strong.  Granted, that Chief TD did not know either player, as far as I know.  I can question his judgment call and I am sure others might have made a similar one. However, at the minimal, in my judgment, the game should have been abandon and at the maximum the cursing raucous player should have been forfeited from the game. 

Here is a list of the Weibel trophy winners as they and their parents deserve to see their names in print.  I do want to say that all the Weibel players—well maybe minus a couple—took the competition seriously and showed their love of being a part of the Weibel Chess community.  I had to try and ease the pain of many of them who took the blame of our second place finishes on themselves.  The 105 Weibel entries, their parents, coaches, relatives and friends all deserve my thanks for, all in all, a tiring but enjoyable weekend of chess and comradeship.
Reading the info: Name, (U.S. Chess Federation Rating), Number of games won and lost, Place in the competition

K-3 Beginner rated Under 500-FIRST PLACE TEAM
Vedya Adurthy (389) 5-0 First Place Trophy (Weibel Charging Knights) An unreal result & candidly unexpected although I told him and his Dad that he had a load of talent.
Avyukt Bhardwaj (496) 4-1 Tied for Third
Reyansh Gangal (405) 4-1   Tied for Third
Om Heur (421) 3-2 Plus Score
Srijan Kakkera (419) 3-2 Plus Score
Shruti Nath (388) 3-2 Plus Score
Ryan Pan (274) 3-2 Plus Score

K-3 Junior Varsity rated Under 800-FIRST PLACE TEAM
Kevin Arakkal (711) 4.5-.5 Second Place -  This was an outstanding result. Kevin is very quiet in my class, but also very attentive.  I predict he will become one of Weibel’s strongest players in the future if he continues with chess.
Yesun Lee (717) 4-1 Tied for Third
Mai-ha Nghiem (616) 4-1  Tied for Third
Elena Xu (656) 4-1 Tied for Third
Rutansh Pathak (757) 4-1 Tied for Third
Reyansh Samanta (758) Tied for 12th

Kindergarten – SECOND PLACE TEAM
I can say the same thing about all our Kindergarten students—they are an absolute joy to be around and they are playing fair chess.  They are all new to chess and I am convinced they will be foundation of the future Weibel Chess champions.
Wenyuan Xi (344) 4-1 Tied for Third
Louis Le (162) 3-2 Tied 14th (Pre-School so Weibel Charging Knights)
Divij Pathak ( 566) 3-2 Tied 14th
Wenbo Xi ( 191) 3-2 Tied 14th
Maxiimus Glenn,  Lucas Chiang, Nikita Jain, Lucas Law, Riddhi Ravishankar, Alina Miu, Vivaan Parhar, Ishika Anand
Nikko Le (1348) 3.5-2.5 Tied for 16th
Chau-ha Nghiem  (908) – Tied for 16th

K-6 Beginner rated Under 500-SECOND PLACE TEAM
Rohan Bhatia (178) 3.5-1.5  – Tied for 16th –He did far better than his rating would have predicted.   His name was not even on my chart of expected team scorers. I had seven names listed who might be among the four to score points for the Team.
Aidan Peter (490) 3-2 – Tied for 20th
Kabita Nath (397) 3-2 – Tied for 20th
Charith Vemuru (375) 3-2 Tied for 20th

K-6 Junior Varsity rated Under 800-SECOND PLACE TEAM
Prabhav Vashist (649) 4-1 Tied for Third – Although he was on my list of those who had a good chance of being among the top four, he was listed as number 6. Certainly, a job well done.
Irene Xu (783) 4-1 Tied for Third
Chloe Chan (760) 3-2 Tied for 18th
Tanish Sathish (568) 3-2 Tied for 18th
Reyansh Gangal (405) 3-2 Tied for 18th
Krish Gangal (597) 3-2 Tied for 18th
Surya Gunukula (618) 3-23 Tied for 18th

Oliver Wu (1851) 5-1 Tied for Second  - Oliver is always our top player    and most skilled player at Weibel.  For some strange reason he always seems to lose to a lower rated player in an early round. This weekend it was in the first round.  He lost  to a 1207 player named Ahyan Zaman.  Ahyan, to be candid, is underrated by a lot.  His rating has been a lot higher.  He is one of those young players that goes up and down in his rating and is now on a steady uphill path.  His father is a solid chess player, and just an all around nice guy, who volunteers his time to help the State and National chess communities.  NOTE: I like his Mom as well.  In any case, as in other tournaments, Oliver came back strong. NOTE 2: Oliver was disappointed his trophy wasn’t available as he was told it had broken in transit.
Aaron Hu (1656) 5.5-1.5 Tied for 6th, Aaron is a very consistent player and like Oliver is in our Hall of Fame for his successes in chess.  He is a grade below Oliver and may surpass his accomplishments in time.  He only lost to Kevin Pan (1881) a phenomenal chess talent following in his brother’s footsteps.  He drew Ryan Dong (1439) who is one of the six players from another school, in this case Chadborne, who trains with us on Fridays.
Louis Law (1261) 4-2 Tied for 11th
Dharshan Vetrivelan (1281) 3.5-2.5 Positive score
Prisha Jain (1262) 3.5-2.5 Positive score              

Chenyi Zhao (1775) 4.5-1.5 Tied for Third – Chenyi is a sixth grade student new to Weibel this year due to the school redistricting a part of Warm Springs.  We were lucky to have her as she has been one of the top players in the nation since she started playing chess.  Her rating reached 1917 last year.  She has not competed much this year.    This is her first tournament competing for Weibel.  We are lucky to have her with us. She was the reason I believed we could beat MSJE in the K-6.  One point separated us—so it was not to be.

Zayaan Khan (1414) 4.5-1.5 Tied for Third – When Zayan is on he is very on.  He reached a high of 1521 in December and then had a couple of bad tournaments. He seems to be on again and I anticipate his help in putting Weibel over the top at the Nationals in May.
Rithwik Narendra (1489) 4-2 Tied for Eighth 
Stanley Ko (1505) 4-2 Tied for Eighth
Aaron Lee (1363) 3.5-2.5 Tied for 14th
Fredrick Zhang (1148) 3.5-2.5 Tied for 14th

As Avis Rent-a-Car used to say, “We’re number 2, yet we try harder.” With the hard work of our players and coaches and the loving support from our parents, friends and the Weibel Elementary School staff, I am sure we will soon return to being the number one competitive chess team in our State.
After all, we still have the best overall school chess program in the State.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


At the recent Polgar Foundation National Chess Open for Girls and Boys Alan Kirshner, Weibel Chess Director since 1989, received a Lifetime Achievement Award. He shared the platform with the coach of the Mission San Jose Elementary School Team who began his program in 1990. The program for the Polgar Championships stated: "Dr. Alan Kirshner founded the chess club at Weibel Elementary School in 1989 after his eldest son (sic) expressed interest in chess. Ever since, various teams from Weibel have consistently placed at the top of local, state and USCF National Championships. Outside of Weibel, Dr. Kirshner is widely respected for his meticulously run chess tournaments which continuously set new standards of quality for scholastic chess in California and for his award winning chess photography which perfectly captures the spirit of Northern California's vibrant youth chess scene."
NOTE FROM ALAN: I added the (sic) as the chess program was started because of my middle son, Micah. He was the chess enthusiast. My eldest son is Lev Kirshner who is the soccer enthusiast. For what it is worth, Lev is in the Mission San Jose High School's Hall of Fame for his soccer achievements and is presently the head coach of San Diego State's Division I soccer team. He got me coaching soccer--that short lived career didn't get me any awards.