Tuesday, April 10, 2018


This weekend, April 7 and 8, 2018, CalChess held their State Championships at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Under the direction of Dr. Judit Sztaray the tournament continues to improve each year. I would say that the reputation of the event has been made great again. This year the event once again reached the numbers of the early part of the 21st century with around 1200 players. The good reputation of our State Championships are apparently spreading, for they are once again seeing teams from places like Chico and Fresno attending. I was even more excited to know that a fair number of players came from out of State this year.  Back in the 1990’s this Championship drew players from out of State due to its reputation for having outstanding competition. This year a fair number of players appeared again to test their skills against our CalChess players. One did especially well winning his section. While he won the first place trophy, he could not claim the title of State Champion. That honor went to the second place winner in his division.

I am proud to say that Weibel dominated the school competitions in the K-6 divisions. Of the ten Elementary School sections, we had teams in eight. Weibel did not have teams in the two unrated divisions—players without United Chess Federation ratings. We won six of the those eight. Weibel obtained this year’s championship titles in the Kindergarten, K-5 and K-6(co-Champions). We achieved first place in the K-6 and K-3 Junior Varsity sections. We also won a first place in the K-3 Under 500 division. ASIDE: Weibel Elementary School students feed into Horner Junior High School. Their Team won the K-8 Championship (Co-Champions with Fallon Middle School from Dublin).

I have inserted photographs of this year's Cal Chess State Scholastic Champions as well as the first place team winners in the lower sections. I do not have, at this time,  a photograph of our K-6 Junior Varsity team that took first as they were giving out the trophies in two different room on Sunday night. However, I do have a photograph of one of that team's members holding the trophy in a photograph with the K-6 Under 500 group who placed fourth. 
I hope to have more good news in two weeks after the All-Girls Nationals in Chicago. A victory there would mean that Weibel will have obtained ten National titles since 2010.
All the photos I took are now posted from the link at http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/photographs.html

You can view the complete results of this year's CalChess Scholastic Championships at: https://bayareachess.com/static/pairings/states1day/

I wanted to send my thanks and Kudos to my players and their parents.  Most of all I want to think our outstanding and unmatched teaching/coaching staff:  Demetrius Goins, Frisco Del Rosario, Gaurang Mehta, Jason Cruz, Badaamkhand Norovasambuu, Kevin Moy, Clarence Jones, Kevin McCue, Jenny Ly and Richard Shorman.  I end with a special call out to our Assistant Coaches from Horner Junior High School that have been working with many of our Kindergarten and First Grade students: Chenyi Zhao, Amy Chan, Rithwik Narenda, Sidharth Raman, Irene Xu, Eshaan Mistry, Louis Law, Aaron Lee and Prabhav Vashist.  
Chess is Forever as I hope Weibel Chess will be.

Thursday, April 5, 2018


Today, I was very pleased to honor Louis Love Le with his Elite Weibel Chess jacket. I provide every player in our K-6 program who receives a U.S. Chess Federation rating of 1000 with an Honor Roll Cap. For each grade there is a set rating for a team member to obtain an Elite Player jacket with our logo on the left side and the player's name on the right. Louis is in first grade and needed a rating of at least 1000 to be declared an Elite Player. If he were in sixth grade he would need to reach 1450. His present rating is 1019.
He is following in his brother Nikko’s footsteps. Nikko on my right also obtained a 1000 rating in first grade. He is now in fourth grade and is presently rated 1788. His rating qualifies him for a large crystalline trophy as a Weibel Ultimate Player. In fourth grade he had to obtain a minimum rating of 1700 and maintain it for three straight tournaments for our highest achievement title.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Weibel Chess
Published by Alan KirshnerYesterday at 10:30pm
Let me start with the attached photos. The photos are of the Weibel Elementary School Chess Team at the March 31. 2018 head to head tournament with the NorCal House of Chess.

If you look to your left on the photo below you will see Phiona Mutesi with our team. Some of you may have seen the movie ‘The Queen of Katwe.’ This highly acclaimed film details Phiona's struggle for success in chess coming from a very humble background in the African Nation of Uganda.

Phiona is presently a student in a college in Seattle and was in the area this week. Ted Castro invited her to speak at the NorCal House of Chess were our team members met her. The next day, April 1, she provided a truly inspiring story about her struggle to escape the poverty in the district of Katwe.

Our Weibel Elementary School went head to head against the NorCal House of Chess. Each of our 15 players competed against a NorCal student with a similar rating—once as white and once as black. Many of the top players from both the teams were gone for Spring Break. Carl Moy, the present organizer of the CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level Championships, wanted to get rid of some of his left-over trophies. He convinced Ted and myself to go ahead with the match as he thought it would be a great practice for next week’s State Championships. The time control of game, in 75 minutes with a 5 second delay, is the same as it will be at the States. I could not stay do to a family event. 

The hard work the Weibel Team has been doing this year paid dividends. Weibel won the team match 16 to 14 despite a big comeback from NHC in the second round. From what Carl tells me—all had a great time. In the end, that is what it is all about. Thank you Carl!
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Sunday, March 4, 2018


15 of the 23 Weibel Girls that Competed 

Once again, the Weibel Girls Chess Team proved itself the best in California. Our girls won all the Elementary School sections at the CalChess State Girls Age Level Championships on March 3, 2018 in Berkeley--5-7 year olds, 8-9 year olds and 10-11 year olds. This year's Girls State Championships pulled more players than any other previous CalChess Girls States.  One hundred and five girls participated. Sarah McCarty-Snead, the organizer, and Bryon Doyle the Chief Tournament Director receive my Kudos for a job well done.


The largest girls event in CalChess, the Sojourner Truth Tournament for Girls in 2001, drew 167 girls. Weibel Chess girls cleaned-up at that one as well.  We are looking forward to the All-Girls Nationals in Chicago on April 20-22.  Our goal is to win our eighth national all-girls title. 

I will be writing a full report soon for our Weibel School community which will appear on our blog:  http://weibelchess.blogspot.com/

I will also be posting my photos at http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/photographs.html

Sunday, February 11, 2018



            I realize I am late in getting to this report on the Weibel players and Team successes at this year’s CalNorth Age Level Chess Championships, February 4. As the old saying goes, “better late than never.”   Let me just say that perhaps I did not get to writing this because I was tired from blowing out all the candles on the birthday cake that Lisa Chan provided for me.  She even created molds to make eatable chess pieces.  My first of many thanks to those that helped make my 11 AM birthday celebration so enjoyable.
            Not only was my 80th “party” a success, it was a wonderful day for Weibel students and our teams.  While 379 children registered, a fair number did not show.  Still a respectable number with over 300 playing.  Perhaps the no shows suddenly realized it was Super Bowl Sunday.  Only a few of those that did not show asked for a refund by the deadline.  Obviously, this helped Carl Moy, the organizer, make ends meet. 

            Of the 300 plus players around 40 came from Weibel.  So let me first inform you how well our teams did.  They did better than well.  They were amazing. They won all the age sections from 6 to 11.  There were no team trophies in the 5 year old section or in the Invitational sections.  We had no players in the 12 year old or 13 year old divisions.  Translation—we did the best we could have and even better.

In the six year old section there were seven teams.  Weibel, came in first with 12 points to 9 for Basis of Fremont.  Basis top scorer was my grandson Elizur who got them 5 of the points.  Our top scorers (only top three players points count) were Louis Le (4 pts), Matthew Miu (4 pts) and Aarav Gulrajani (4 pts).

In the seven year old section Weibel defeated Mission San Jose Elementary School with a score of 10.5 to 8.5. There were 11 teams. Abhay Annavajjhala (4), Rohil Manwani (3.5) and Mintai Ye (3) were our top performers for the team.

In the eight year old section with seven teams Weibel obtained 12 points defeating Chadbourne who scored 5.5.  Akarsh Khare (4), Krishank Sardesai (4) and Drake Long (4) led the way.  I should note that Wenyuan Xi also had four and wasn’t counted due to tie-breaks.

In the nine year old section Weibel’s team received its highest points 14.5.  This section had only 5 teams.  Second place went to Green Elementary with nine points.  The Weibel leaders here were Mai-Ha Nghiem (4.5), Ekansh Samanta (4) and Edward Miu (4).

The ten year old section saw Weibel defeat Chadbourne nine to seven.  Eight teams competed in this section.  The older sections only played four games as they had longer time controls.   Chau-Ha Nghiem (3.5), Reyansh Samanta (3) and Kevin Arakkal (2.5) were the top players for the team, although Shreyansh Suraparaju also had 2.5, but his tie-breaks were lower than Kevin’s.

Weibel also obtained nine points in the eleven year old section of five teams.  In second place was Warm Springs Elementary with 5.5 points. Weslie Chen(3.5), Surya Gunukula (3) and Krish Gangal(2.5) gave us the win.

As I wrote earlier Weibel had 40 players, but some of them played in the Invitational that had two sections—a 5-9 section whose player rating had to be over 1000 and a 10-13 whose player rating had to be over 1300.  I will start with those in the Invitational who won trophies that attend Weibel Elementary or Horner Junior High School. There were eight player trophies for each Invitational.  The first place winner received a trophy and a special crystal cup. The 5-9 award is called the Kirshner Cup and the 10-13 crystal this year was called the Kerry Lawless Cup to honor the historian of California Chess who is so often overlooked for everything he has done and accomplished.   I will follow the Weibel winners in the Invitational sections  with those in the open Age Level where there were ten place trophies. 

In the 5 to 9 Invitational, Nikko Le (1724) took home second place. Shruti Nath (1010) had an amazing tournament, tying for third place with a 1724 rated player and gaining 150 points to 1160.

In the 10 to 13 Invitational, Yesun Lee (1480) tied for fifth place along with her teammate Vincent Yang (1382). Yesun, who is in fifth grade, has a new rating of 1530.  She has over a year to go at Weibel and has time to beat the girl’s record rating held by Serafina Show at 1746 that she achieved while in sixth grade before entering Horner Junior High School in 2014. 

Louis Law (1373) from Horner tied for first place in the 13 year old division. Arnav Pradhan (769) from Horner tied for fourth place.  In the 12 year old division, Prabhav Vashist (914) from Horner tied for sixth place.

Weslie Chen (1179) and Isha Varada (1198), (ahhh I just saw that Isha did not have Weibel listed next to her name) are this year’s champions in the 11 year old division. Yes, both are from Weibel. Surya Gunukula (995) tied for third.  Krish Gangal (1144) tied for ninth. This section listed 44 players.

The ten year old section also had a Weibel player tied as the 2018 Champion,  Chau-Ha Ngiem (1095).  Reyansh Samanta (1181) tied for fourth. This section had 46 players.

In the nine year old division Mai-Ha Ngiem (1151) did not lose a game but took home second place because she drew one game. Ekansha Samanta (1057) came out on top of seven other players with four out of five to take home the actual third place trophy.  One of those other players with four was his teammate Edward Miu (927).  This section had 43 players.

The 53 player eight year old division saw lots of Weibel trophy winners.  Akarsh Khare (1953), Krishank Sardesai (627), Drake Long (462), Wenyuan Xi (649) all tied for third place and Vivaan Parhar (519) won the tenth place trophy.

The seven year old division had 62 players listed, but only 48 played.  Abhay Annavajjhala tied for fourth place and was the only Weibel trophy winner.

In the six year old division, listing 50 players, Louis Le (985) tied for third with our Aarav Gulrajani (532) and Matthew Miu (663).

The 4-5 year old division had only 9 players and only one played under the Weibel Club because while training at Weibel he goes to New Horizons.  Sarvagnya Brahmanpapally (221).  There was one other player indirectly tied to Weibel in this group.  Gaurang Mehta, one of our instructor’s granddaughter, Zia Mehta, in her first tournament,

Kudos to all the Weibel players and parents who attended the Eleventh Annual Age Level Championships.  I would like to thank Carl Moy, our former Weibel Parent Coordinator for all the hard work he put into making this special tournament a success.  I am also very proud of all the Weibel volunteers who answered my call to help Carl and myself at his event.

A number of years ago I had my bid to put on a CalChess tournament denied and one of the reason I was given was that I was going to hold it at the Newark Pavilion and such tournaments should be at hotels.  As I look at my photos of the players and parents relaxing and enjoying themselves outside in the courtyard and open spaces I really must laugh at how ridiculous some functionaries can be.

You can find links to all the results, the U.S. Chess Federation ratings and photographs at http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/photographs.html.

Chess is Forever,
Alan Kirshner
Director of Weibel Chess
Originator of the CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level Championships

Saturday, January 13, 2018


The Weibel Girls Chess Team, winner of seven National titles, defeated the Berkeley Chess School Queens today, Saturday, January 13, 2018. Fourteen members of each team went head to head twice--once as white and once as black. The final score was 26 1/2 to 1 1/2 in favor of our female Wildcats.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


The last of the three CalNorth Youth Chess Weibel Quads and Grand Prix tournaments took place last Saturday, December 9.  These Quads, players facing three other opponents, have been very popular over the years.  A large reason has been our ability to set a Quad with children very near the same skill level and age as well as their avoiding playing those from the same school or club.  Our numbers decreased this year.  The December Quad drew 130 competitors.  Fifteen years or so back, in December, the Quads drew near 300 players.  Those were in the days when they were the only game in town.  Today many organizations hold youth chess tournaments.  In some ways, I am happy the numbers have decreased for with age my energy level has also decreased.   I am pleased that I can still say that we are the most popular Quads in Northern California drawing at least three times the number of players of other organizations.  The Weibel Quads continue to have players coming from as far away as Santa Rosa to the north and Monterey to the south.
The Grand Prix provides points to players who competed in all three Quads.  The winners of this year’s Grand Prix received larger trophies for first, second and third place plus free entries to the Age Level Championships on February 4, 2018 plus, for first place, all of next Fall’s Weibel Quads.  This year’s winners were:

UNDER 900 U.S. Chess Federation Rating:
1st, Tanish Balamuggan ( Marshall Pomeroy School)
2nd, Matthew Miu (Weibel School) & Anish Shankar (Weibel School)
3rd, Parth Pandhare (Royal Chess), Kai Lum (Basis School), Arnav Pradhan (Horner School)

OVER 900 U.S. Chess Federation Rating:
1st, Mihir Patil (Royal Chess)
2nd, Reyansh Gangal (Weibel School)
3rd, Advaith Mopuri (Chadbourne School)

You can go to http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/photographs.html for links to the results, U.S. Chess Federation ratings and our three photographers’ pictures.

The next big CalNorth Youth Chess competition will be our Age Level Championships on February 4, 2018 at the very family friendly Newark Pavilion.  This event has drawn around 500 players in past years. Information and an application can be found at http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2018/
Ten years back Alan Kirshner, the founder of Weibel Chess, established this tournament to celebrate his 70th birthday.  He is thrilled to still be here for his 80th birthday tournament.

Carl Moy, the present organizer, has also created a two day tournament for high rated youth players on February 3rd  and 4th. http://www.calnorthyouthchess.org/AgeLevel2018/AgeLevelInvitational.html