Sunday, January 25, 2015

CALNORTH YOUTH CHESS WINTER 2015 NEWSLETTER

IN THIS ISSUE:
CalNorth Youth Age Level + CalNorth Youth Age Level Invitational
Winter Chess Tournaments to Aim For
Chenyi Wins Big
Parent Resources Website

CalNorth Youth Age Level + CalNorth Youth Age Level Invitational


Only two weeks to go before the most popular tournament of the Winter Season.  For the last few years the CalNorth Youth Age Level Championships have register over 500 players.  Only one other youth event is expected to surpass it in size and that is the CalChess State Championships that will be held on May 2 and May 3.  No other youth championships, in my humble opinion, will surpass it in popularity.  David Hwang, from Corte Madera and a father of three boys who almost always attend the CalNorth events wrote my favorite, of many, compliments: "Our family really appreciates the CalNorth Youth Chess tournaments because they are not only superbly run, from a logistical and organizational standpoint, but it is also clear that the principles that guide all those involved, from the leadership to the volunteers, are to cherish, motivate, and inspire our children -- and to do so with excellence, integrity, good humor, and warmth.”

The CalNorth Age Level Championship on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at Ohlone College, Newark Campus, is the only tournament on the West Coast that is held strictly by a child’s age.  Not only are there trophies in each age group that will be awarded for the top 15 players, there are three extra awards for brand new players who have never competed in a United States Chess Federation event before.  All four and five year olds will get trophies.  If a child does not win a trophy they will go home with a unique commemorative chess medal.  Carl Moy, the organizer, does not promise loads of trophies and then stipulate a player has to have a positive score. Whereby many are never awarded.   All trophies are awarded, plus some.  http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2015/

This year, Carl Moy, has added a new section to the Championships.  For a number of years there has been a 4 to 9 year old division that transcended the specific age groups.  This section was designed for more experienced and higher rated players in the 4 through 9 age groups.  Last year Carl added a special award that he named the Kirshner Cup to honor Dr. Alan Kirshner and his contributions to Northern California Chess.  This year he added a new section for the super stars in the10 through 13 bracket.  He created a second award, the Orwig Cup.  This award is to honor the individual most responsible for beginnings of scholastic chess competition in Northern California who continues, unselfishly running chess tournaments teaching chess to the children at the school where he works--Mark Day School, formerly St. Marks—Ray Orwig.  Carl went a step further this year.  To provide longer time controls he created a two day tournament called the CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level Invitational.  He also decided to have it dual rated with both the U.S. Chess Federation and FIDE, the International Chess Federation. These Championships will also be held at Ohlone College, but on both Saturday, February 7 and February 8.  To compete in the 4 through 9 age section of the Kirshner Cup, a player must have a U.S.Chess Federation rating of at least 1000.  Entry into the Orwig Cup for 10 through 13 year old chess player requires a minimum 1300 rating.

http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2015/AgeLevelInvitational.html

You can view all current entries at: http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2015/ENTRIES.html


Winter Chess Tournaments to Aim For


As many of you know Bay Area Chess has a mass of youth tournaments to offer almost every weekend.  Since Judit Sztaray became Executive Director of BAC I have been posting them on my tournament site, http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/Tournaments.html
Sadly, the large number of BAC events often mask other fine youth events.  I would like to mention just a few.  And, just so I am not misquoted, I think it is great that there are so many quality youth competitions organized by Bay Area Chess.

Let me start with the CalChess Girls State Championship next Saturday, January 31 at Mark Day School in San Rafael. http://calnorthyouthchess.org/Applications/CALCHESS-GIRLS-ENTRY-FORM-2015.pdf

Success Chess School, one of the sponsors for the CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level Championships has two events this Winter:
On January 31 in Fremont, http://www.successchess.com/Tournaments/Game_Kastle_Tournament_INFO.html

And

On Valentine’s Day, February 14 in Cupertino: http://successchess.com/Tournaments/BethelTournament_INFO.html
On January 31, Alex Veksler is holding the first of his monthly Chess for Kids Quads in San Jose:  http://calnorthyouthchess.org/Applications/FlyerChessQuads_013115.pdf
This one even has a parent section with a Grand Prize for the best combined family—a Gevalia coffee maker.

The NorCal House of Chess, another sponsor of the CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level, has youth Quads on February 15 and March 7 in Fremont: http://norcalhouseofchess.com/?page_id=9

On March 7 in Santa Clara, Matthew Bensen is holding another of his Let’s Play Chess tournaments: http://www.chessthings.com/events.php

On March 15, Dennis Myers is running his yearly, non-rated tournament, at Fox School in Belmont: http://peninsulachess.blogspot.com/2015/01/2015-fox-school-scholastic-chess.html

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the weekly Friday night tournaments the Hanley Chess Academy holds in San Jose: http://www.hanleychessacademy.com/SJFriQuads.html
And then there is the new man on the block—Demetrius Goins’ Shore View Chess Club in Fremont.  Shore View Chess holds weekly events at it site near Pacific Commons on Thursday nights and weekends.   They are also running monthly Quads the first one on February 21:  http://www.shoreviewchess.com/tournament  PS: Shore View Chess is also a sponsor of the CalNorth Youth Age Level Chess Championships.

I would like to end this section to urge people to attend the Susan Polgar Foundation’s Boys and Girls Championships on February 28 and March 1.  This prestigious event, that has been held over the years in other parts of the country, has made its way to Northern California.  Chris Torres, through his Chess and Music Academy, is the local organizer for this event that offers $100,000 in prizes: http://www.chessandmusic.com/susanpolgarfoundation/

Chenyi Wins Big

Chenyi Zhao, a student at Warm Spring Elementary School, has always been one of my favorite young chess players.  Since she was in first grade she remembered me because of my car that had a honu (Hawaiian for turtle) on my side window.   Chenyi, always a good chess player, made a big break through at the Golden State Open a week ago when she won the under 1900 section and brought home to Fremont a check for $2000.  She now sports a rating of 1917.  KUDOS!

Parent Resources Website

Over the many years of my writing this newsletter either under the CalNorth Youth Chess title or my 14 year stint as CalChess Scholastic Chair I included not just Kudos to young chess players, but resources and websites that they can use to improve their chess.   This season I offer a shiny new website for parents.  No, it will not help parents become better parents, but maybe better chess parents.  Jay Stallings who has been active in youth chess in Southern California almost as long as I have been active in Northern California has a wonderful and exciting project in the works:  http://chessparentresource.com/
Jay writes the following in his Welcome to ChessParentResources.com:

“My name is ‘Coach Jay’ Stallings. I have coached chess full-time for almost 20 years and currently serve on the Scholastic Council for the United States Chess Federation (USCF). When I learned in 2014 that, before USCF’s new website would launch, there would be many committee meetings, votes, more committee meetings, etc., I decided to create this site to bridge the gap.

Please email me with anything that you think is missing. I’m trying to keep the site simple, with information that 99% of the parents need. If you are one of those 1% who have other needs, please send me an email and I will try to answer your questions as soon as possible.


Check you later!
Coach Jay”

I was very impressed with the information as well as excited that parents now have a resource that can guide and direct them as they grow with their child’s chess.  Check it out now, not later.

Chess is Forever,
Alan











Tuesday, December 23, 2014

THANK YOU AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS

I just wanted to thank all of you who for attended the December 13 Fall Weibel Quads #3 and wish you all an enjoyable holiday break.

As many of you have already learned, the results and photographs from the 220 player event are posted from the links found at: http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/photographs.html You can download any of these photographs at will. If you want one of my photographs in the original resolution, simply write to me and let me know. I do not have Richard Shorman’s full resolution photographs.

You might have heard me say or read it in one of my notes that I will not be running my usual Spring Quads due to an overload of major events I am committed to attend. However, I do want to remind you of the largest CalNorth Youth Chess tournament—The Eighth Annual Age Level. CalNorth organizer Carl Moy is holding this year’s tournament at the Ohlone College Newark Campus on Sunday, February 8. Two hundred and fifty young players are already registered putting this yearly event on track to once again break the 500 player mark. http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2015/

Tied to this tournament are the CalNorth Youth Invitational Chess Championships for high rated players who need longer time controls and hope to obtain or improve their international rating (FIDE). This event is divided into two age divisions—4 to 9 and 10 to 13. The winner of the 4 through 9 year old division will receive the Kirshner Cup. The winner of the 10 through 13 section will obtain the Orwig Cup.
Carl wants to make it clear that these events were not named after the two individuals due to financial considerations as have occurred in other "legacy tournaments." He named these tournaments after the two individuals who have contributed the most to the creation of the competitive youth chess atmosphere in Northern California. The Championships will be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 7 & 8. http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2015/AgeLevelInvitational.html 

WEIBEL CHESS TEAM HOLIDAY BREAK INFORMATION

Let me start out by wishing everyone an enjoyable Winter break.  If you celebrate any holidays during this period of time I hope they are very fulfilling.  I am writing this note to remind all the Team members of what obligations, if any, they have during the break before we return to Weibel on Friday, January 9.

1)   Your child does not have to do any homework.  Any puzzles they do will be counted as extra credit.  Are the cheers I am hearing coming from the students, their parents or both?

2)   All Team members, unless they are Play Option Only, must have completed three tournaments by January 15, 2015.  I am very pleased to say that almost all our Team players have already done so & more.  The few that have not will receive extra notes from me.
  a)I have attached an Excel sheet that Carl Moy, our Parent Coordinator, distributes every few months so you can see your child’s progress in U.S. Chess Federation events as well as the number of tournaments they have competed in since June 1.  I am thrilled with the progress so many of our Team members are making.  This is a building year and we are building well as proven by our great results at the State Grade Level .  I know we will do even better at the Spring States as long as you and your children continue to take chess seriously while having fun playing the game.  Next year when we go to Nationals we will have our best Teams ever.
 b)The following youth tournaments are available for your child’s participation before January 15.

December 27, 2014 (Saturday)Milpitas Chess for Less Kids Swiss & Quads, Milpitas

January  2, 2015 (Friday)
New Year’s Youth Championships, Burlingame
New Year Quads, Santa Clara

*January 3, 2015 (Saturday)
"Ger" Youth Center's 3rd Scholastic Quads, Oakland,

January 4. 2015 (Sunday)
Milpitas Chess for Less Kids Swiss & Quads, Milpitas

January  10, 2015 (Saturday)
Let’s Play Chess, Santa Clara
Milpitas Chess for Less Kids Swiss & Quads, Milpitas

*January 10, 2015 (Saturday)
Game Castle Scholastic Quads, Fremont,

January 10-11, 2015 (Saturday & Sunday)
Game of Thrones Tourney, NorCalHouse of Chess, Fremont

January 11, 2015 (Sunday)
Cupertino Kid’s Quads & Swiss
Fremont Kid’s Quads & Swiss

 The starred events are to be found at http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/Tournaments.html  I strongly recommend these tournaments.

All other events can be found at  http://www.calchess.org/scholastic_calendar.html

c) If your child is rated over 1000, you might want to consider the following events due to their longer time controls.

January 2-4, 2015
New Year’s Championshjps, Burlingame

January 10, 2015
15th Bob Burger, Mechanics in San Francisco

January 16-19, 2015 (with 2 day through 4 day options)
6th Annual Golden State Open, Dublin (THIS SHOULD BE A MUST FOR ANY OF WEIBEL’S VARSITY TEAM)

Info for all at http://www.calchess.org/regular_calendar.html

3)   I still have one youth small & a few youth large T-shirts available.  The cost is now $15.

4)   Fremont keeps expanding its chess community. We already have two active Clubs in our city with Ken Zowal’s Fremont Chess Club (http://www.newfremontchessclub.org) and Ted Castro’s NorCal House of Chess (http://www.NorCalHouseofChess.com).  A third chess Club will make its appearance on January 17 near Pacific Commons, Demetrius Goins’  Shore View Chess (http://www.shoreviewchess.com/)  All these Clubs offer free play, tournaments and special instruction and lectures.  And, some people wonder why Fremont has become the hub of chess in the Bay Area in recent years!

5)   Gaurang Mehta, one of our teachers, is head chess instructor at the Indian Community Center in Milpitas in case you want to travel out of Fremont. They offer different level chess classes from January through November every Sunday in the early afternoon. (http://www.indiacc.org/sites/default/files/icc_web12-12-2014.pdf)

--
Chess is Forever!
Alan

Sunday, December 7, 2014

REPORT ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE CALCHESS STATE GRADE LEVEL CHAMPIONSHIPS

As many of you know, I am down in San Diego awaiting the birth of a new grandchild.  I figured it was an acceptable reason not to be at the second day of the CalChess Grade Level State Championships.  Tigran Darbinyan, my Assistant and Gaurang Mehta , Weibel Chess’ senior instructor, handled the 4th, 5th and 6th grade teams for their second and final day of competition. 

The report I received indicated that our Weibel Chess Teams had another good day, although not without some disappointments and tears.  Even though our very strong Sixth Grade Team got hammered by Mission San Jose Elementary School, our three girls scored higher than the higher rated Weibel boys and got all our points.  These three girls were on last years Under 12 Girls National Championship Team--Shivangi Gupta, Enya Mistry and Anvi Surapaneni.  My hope is they will return to Chicago in April to win the Under12 title again this year.

Our Fifth Grade Team finished a half point out of first with the usual chess players mantra, “we coulda, we woulda, we shoulda.”  I believe one fifth grade player deserves special mention —Sumukh Murthy.  Although Sumukh enter the tournament as the lowest rated of all our players he had the highest score on the fifth grade team.

Our amazing group of fourth grade students did it all.  They proved they were champions.  The Team won the Fourth Grade State Championship.  Oliver Wu, the chess wonder kid, accomplished what he said he would—he obliterated the opposition to become the 2014 Fourth Grade Champion. Louis Law, whose sister finished second in Second Grade yesterday, upset the top Mission San Jose player whose national chess rating is 700 points higher, took a second to Oliver.  I figured he wasn’t about to be outdone by his younger sister, Erin.  Eshaan Mistry proved to be another stand out player.  He received 4 points--a half point behind Louis.  He could have been higher if he hadn’t had the misfortune of having to play his own teammate Oliver in the fifth round of the six round event since he stood alone as the second highest player.

Kudos to all the Weibel players, their parents and their coaches who spent the weekend in Stockton at the University of the Pacific.

Alan

Saturday, December 6, 2014

RESULTS OF THE FIRST DAY AT THE CALCHESS STATE GRADE LEVEL

Let me start out by saying our young teams did far better then I expect & you have mostly happy players and happy parents plus a happy coach.  While the 4, 5, 6 grade Teams do not finish until tomorrow our K, 1, 2, 3 grade teams shined today.  Our 3 rd grade and  2nd grade Teams are State Champions tying with Mission San Jose Elementary School not teams in both division had 10.5 pts.  Mission San Jose Elementary School came in as top seed by far.  They did take the first place trophies on tie-breaks, but both teams are State Champions.  Tie-breaks, in short, are based not on how well your team plays, but how well the people they played did.  So if player one and two have same points and player one’s opponents won a total of 12 games while player two’s opponents one 13 games, player two would get the first place trophy, but since they had equal individual scores they are both State Champions..  Mission & Weibel years back continued to tie for first and often we took the tie-breaks.  One year the coach from Mission knowing that we tied for first but not yet knowing the tie-breaks, challenged me to an arm wrestling match for the first place trophy.  I suspect he was the only person in California that didn’t know what the outcome would be.  He has not challenged me to an arm wrestle for first place since, although I wish he had today. ;-)

The one thing I was fairly sure of is that our Kindergarten Team would win first place and they did not disappoint.  They one the titled of State Champion. We set up a special Kindergarten Team directed by Serafina Show with four other Junior High and High School students.  Our kids did great and besides they were cutest children in the whole meet.  One Kindergarten child, Edward Miu,  was not in the special Kindergarten class.  I realized, that thanks to early preparation by his parents, he had a solid foundation in chess so I put him in my team class.  I told him Friday that he would be the next State Kindergarten Champion.  He proved me right going undefeated and winning a trophy as tall as himself.

I do not have the names from the results of all, and their were a lot, of our trophy winners.  I will pass those on when I receive them.  However, one player does stand out, Erin Law.  She took second place in the Second Grade Championship far ahead, in points, of many player with far higher ratings.
--
Chess is Forever!
Alan

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MAGIC THEATER -- MARK SHELTON (VIDEOS FOR BEGINNERS)

A number of years back one of our former Weibel instructors, Mark Shelton, produced a series of very short flash videos for beginners.  In my humble opinion, they are the best videos available to teach the basics of chess to young players.  Originally they were posted at Kerry Lawless' Northern Californian chess history site, http://www.ChessDryad.com. Sadly, they have not been available for awhile.  Mark has agreed to allow me to post them at our website: http://www.WeibelChess.org/magic.   If you have a child, or know of a child, who is just beginning his forever experience with chess, I would have him or her view these films.  I guarantee that not only will Mark's mellow voice mesmerize them, they will come away with a far better foundation of the basics of chess.

Chess is Forever,
Alan

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

LETTER SENT TO VARSITY TEAM PARENTS

All:
Parents please read this e-mail & then pass it on to your child to read.  Please be sure they read WFM Uyanga Byambaa's commentary.

I have been pleased with many of our players.  They, after a couple of years, are doing an outstanding job in analyzing their chess games.  However, a few players still don’t get it or do not care to get it. WFM Uyanga Byambaa the top woman playing chess in the area answered one parents request to take a look at her son’s game.  In so doing, she has provided me, for all time,' with the perfect explanation and information on the why's and how to annotate a game.  I am inserting her analysis in this letter and attaching an example of why Oliver Wu in fourth grade has busted most of the records ever held by any other Weibel players while at Weibel.  There are still a few records held by Kevin Moy—made Expert at Weibel and won a National Championship and Micah Fisher-Kirshner—won three Spring State Championships while at Weibel and went through a whole year of Weibel Chess w/o losing or drawing a game at Friday chess.

Before inserting WFM Byambaa’s analysis of why & how to analyze here is some information about the three weeks until our next chess meeting on December 5.
1) Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a fun break.
2) Chess homework needs to be done only for this week.  Of course, since I won’t be checking it until December 5, it is due December 5.  This means 40 puzzles for the Novice Team, 30 puzzles for the Varsity Team, 60 puzzles for anyone new to Junior Varsity this year and 30 puzzles for anyone on JV that was here last year.
3) The game played Friday, November 14 is to be turned in on December 5 or earlier.  Please remember that you can e-mail the work to me with a scanned copy of the game played.  If the game is for some reason not available—you weren’t at chess that day--it is OK to do a game you played with a person that week or even the computer. While Tigran (my Assistant) and I do not have time to go over every game, once in awhile we send out notes or notice that the game annotation says something like, "Morphy should have played Nf3."  And, yes I did get a paper like this.  So please tell you children to wait to cheat until they get into the business world.  Ok, I am being a wise guy here.  Simply tell them that cheating is not acceptable and could land in expulsion.

FROM WFM AND NM Uyanga Byambaa:
Analyzing your own game is the most important aspect to improve. The purpose of the analysis is not only finding your mistakes (of course this is very important), but to improve your thinking process. Going to the next level definitely requires better thinking process.

The thinking process includes these main concepts:

    •    Why you’re doing what you’re doing?
    •    What did you think about your position during the game? Are you winning, equal or losing?
    •    Why did you make this decision?
    •    Did you constantly double check you moves before you moved? Did you figure out what your opponent was trying to do before you moved? Were any checks or captures? Did you seriously consider all your options?
    •    Did your opponent’s move surprise you? Was it expected?
    •    Did you recognize the critical moment of the game?
    •    Did you calculate certain variations? How far did you see?
    •    What were you thinking during the game?
    •    Did you have a plan? What was it?

Your analysis should include answering these questions.

Note that these concepts are not just your moves, it also related to you opponents moves. That means you should make a comment on one or two of your opponents moves in your analysis.  

I often see comments like: “pawn to center”, “minor piece development”, “rook to the center”, “king running away from check” and etc, these are not a part of your thinking process. These are just a label of your move.  At the level of most of the Weibel players, these kinds of  comments  are very obvious and, therefore, there  is no need state.  

You don’t really have to do the opening moves or obvious recaptures.  Instead of saying “king running away from check”, you should say “since king in check, running away is my only choice or best options. I have these possibilities  blah blah blah. I don't want to go there because blah blah. I thought going this square is the best option because blah blah.

When you analyze your own game, you should first do it on your own with chess sets in front of you to write down your thinking process. Next,  put it in your chess engine. Computers will only help pointing out your blunders and tactical mistakes or suggest good moves; however, they don't help your thinking process.

There are some good examples of analysis in the following link. You should check it out.
http://uyangabyambaa.blogspot.com/ See game:
Graham Grindland (2030) - Uyanga Byambaa (2171) [E99] Sacramento Chess Championship (4), 05.07.2014
http://uyangabyambaa.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2013-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2014-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=2 See game:  SAMIR ALAZAWI (2003) - UYANGA BYAMBAA (2075)  

Another very effective thing you can do in your analysis is to make a conclusion. I make my students do this and I witness tremendous improvement in their games.

Point out 3 main mistakes in your game. Answer these questions.
Why did I make that mistake?
What could I have done better instead?
How do I fix it?

Finally, sum up your analysis: What did you learn from the game? Write it down. It could be anything. For example:
I learned that the most natural moves are not always the best.
Instead of recapturing automatically, there might be an in between move I’m missing.
Sometimes double pawns are fine because they make my pieces more active in the open lines and diagonals.
In time pressure, moving too fast is not a good idea.
In Sicilian dragon, castling opposite side gives me good chance to manage a strong attack and etc.

Of course, it’s a lot of work. GM Jesse Kraai told me once, that he spends months to going over just one game. He’d write 10-15 pages of analysis. I was highly impressed and motivated at the same time. He has an incredible work ethic!   However for me, it takes one or two days, sometimes just few hours. I recommend  for our Varsity Team players that they spend at least an hour to working on their own game.

Just take it slow. You don’t have to do all this once, it will take some time. Make sure to put more details in  your analysis on the critical moments of the game including certain variations you see during the game.

I hope my recommendation will not intimidate anyone.

Sincerely

Coach Uyanga