Friday, May 8, 2015


                  As most of you know Weibel Chess took a three year hiatus from the CalChess State Scholastic.  We returned this year with a big splash. This event has been the largest and most prestigious of the California youth chess tournaments since its founding 40 years ago.  Two times the competition, that includes numerous divisions besides the championship, drew as many as 1400 participants when you include the side events like the Blitz and Bughouse.  The numbers have dropped in recent years but have begun to climb again in part, to be candid, with the 109 players Weibel sent.  This years total reached 915.  The present organizer, Judit Sztaray, in her first year doing the event really went all out to produce an efficient and fair competition.  Sadly, what she failed to account for was how much more difficult it is to run an event as it grows. Simply 100 more entries means 100% more problems.  She and her staff did their best to try to resolve all the issues.   Some of her new ideas as the sending each parent via e-mail his/her child’s pairing helped relieve some of the crowding around the postings before each round.   I know many of you were upset to sit through three hours of awards presentations and learn that they did not have your child’s trophies.  Trophies were promised to the top 40 players and they only had enough for the top 20.  A whole section of trophies never showed up and a few section awards disappeared.  I am sure, knowing Judit, she will get those trophies to our players and those from other schools promptly. 

I will use the trophy awards as a lead in to my discussion as to the amazing success of the Weibel Teams in the lower sections of the tournament as well as the minor successes of our Teams in the Championship sections.  I can proudly say that there is a reason we are well known in California as the most successful school chess program.  Of course, I give that credit to our great instructors and also the numerous private coaches and programs we have in Fremont.  Weibel students helped NorCal House of Chess and Shoreview Chess win numerous first places in this year’s non-academic Club Team awards.  This year players could compete on both School and Club Teams.  A few of our students are also actively engaged in learning programs through Royal Chess and the Wei Liu Academy.  We may not have produced the top players this year, but we certainly had the most depth of solid chess students.    The vast majority of players at the State Championships are not in the Varsity Division.  Weibel Chess and its students were the talk of the tournament.  Numerous people came up to me to ask me how they could join our program.  I had to explain that Weibel Chess is open almost exclusively to students who attend Weibel.  While I do not allow students from other schools to participate in the Weibel Club classes on Tuesday’s, I do allow a few students, who can get to Weibel  by 3PM on Friday’s, to join us in our classes and tournament style play.  The present number of out of school players is seven with our Team having 102 members. 

            As I noted earlier, our weakest divisions were our Varsity/Championship Sections.  Mission San Jose Elementary School came in seeded first in the K-3, K-5 and K-6 sections with at least one player higher than our best in each group.   I had hoped our players would be able to take out one or two of their best to enable us to win in two if not all the Championship divisions, however we were not successful.  Mission San Jose proved superior in the K-3, K-5 and K-6 division. We could take some solace in taking a first in the Kindergarten division.  I am hoping this proves well for our future in this division.  We took second in the other three.  We placed behind MSJE by 1.5 points in both the K-3 and K-5 divisions and a ½ point in the K-6 divisions.  

Ekansh Samanta tied for 3rd
Edward Miu tied for 12th
Akarsh Khare tied for 12th  
Farhan Ali tied for 12th
Mai-Ha Nghiem tied for 33rd
Ethan Wu tied for 33rd
Krishank Sardesi tied for 33rd

K-3 Championship—
Aaron Hu tied for 8th
Dharshan Vetrivelan tied for 8th
Erin Law tied for 8th
Umesh Gopi tied for 19th
Weslie Chen tied for 19th
Prisha Jain tied for 26th

K-5 Championship—
Oliver Wu tied for 3rd
Aaron Lee tied for 5th
Zayaan Khan tied for 11th
Stanley Ko tied for 11th
Louis Law tied for 11th
Sidarth Raman tied for 11th
Sumukh Murthy tied for 21st

K-6 Championship—
Shivangi Gupta tied for 7th
Jeremey Chen tied for 7th
Enya Mistry tied for 7th
Atri Surapaneni tied for 7th
Anvi Surapaneni tied for 7th
Prithvi Nagamanivel tied for 14th
Rahul Ravishankar tied for 19th

    In the non-Championship sections Weibel won the K-3 Beginner, the K-3 Junior Varsity, the K-6 Beginner and the K-6 Junior Varsity.  We lost the K-3 Unrated and only had one player in the K-6 Unrated which does not count as a Team. 

K-3 Unrated—
Anika Jain tied for 26th

K-3 Beginner—
Kavya Shree Peela tied for 5th
Yesun Lee tied for 5th
Avyukt Bhardwaj tied for 16th
David Gao tied for 28th
Mihika Deshpande tied for 28th
Marcus Chan tied for 28th
Srijan Kakkera tied for 28th
Elena Xu tied for 28th

K-3 Junior Varsity—
Chau-Ha Nghiem tied for 2nd
Rutansh Pathak tied for 16th
Isha Varada tied for 16th
Vincent Yang tied for 16th

K-6 Unrated—
Ananya Kulshrestha tied for 5th

K-6 Beginner—
Chloe Chan tied for 3rd
Jieun Lim tied for 3rd
Navish Sinha tied for 9th
Prabhav Vishist tied for 18th

K-6 Junior Varsity—
Tanabh Mishra—tied for 3rd
Tanvi Deshpande—tied for 3rd
Jason Tse—tied for 3rd
Jongwon Lee—tied for 3rd
Mithil Srugarapu—tied for 16th
Arhan Chaudhary—tied for 19th
Surya Somasundaram—tied for 19th
Kripi Kini—tied for 19th

    As you can see Weibel players brought home a lot of hardware.
I hope I did not miss any Weibel students who won a trophy.  If I did miss your child please forgive me. I have not listed the Horner players or those from any other schools who come to Friday Chess.  Most of them won trophies as well.  You can view the complete results at:
You can go to to find links to the U.S.Chess Federation ratings and photos by Richard Shorman and myself.

FINAL NOTE:  Friday, May 29 is our Awards Ceremonies from 3 PM to 5:30 PM for both the Weibel Team and the Weibel Club.  That will end the formal chess program for the 2014-2015 school year.

Chess is Forever,

Sunday, April 26, 2015


CHICAGO-April 17-19 2015

As most of you know already, the Weibel Teams that went to compete at the 12th Annual All-Girls Chess Nationals in Chicago the weekend of  April 17-19 2015 returned home with lots of hardware and another championship title.  This was the largest field of players in the history of the tournament. Three hundred and fifty eight players competed for individual and team titles. 

Weibel’s Under 12 Girls Team (Shivangi Gupta, Anvi Surapaneni, Enya Mistry and Amy Chan) followed in the footsteps of the teams of the last two years--they brought home the title defeating the New York chess powerhouse I.S. 318 by one point.  The top three players points are counted for the team score.  We had great depth.  If anyone of our second, third or fourth players fumbled we still would have brought home the title thanks to the strong play by Shivangi Gupta, the 2015 State Girls and Polgar Girls Champion.  Shivangi tied for fifth place in the individual competition along with Chenyi Zhao of Warm Springs Elementary.  Shivangi and Chenyi had tied for the Under 12 Polgar Championship.  Shivangi defeated Chenyi in the regular event but lost the chance to be the individual to receive Polgar Foundation funding for the World Youth Championship in the Fall.  Chenyi defeated Shivangi in the blitz play-offs.  Shivangi can still attend the World Youth Championships if she can find another source of funding.

Last year Weibel’s only girls team at the Championships was our U 12 Team.  This year, with a bit of arm twisting on my part, Weibel sent teams in the Under 8, Under 10 and indirectly in the Under 14 sections.  The four girls in the Under 14 section (Serafina Show, Raisah Khan, Sashrika Pandey and Sara Kaushik) were from Horner Junior High School.  They proudly wore their Weibel T-shirts and provided each of their opponents with Weibel patches.  I decided that I would have Weibel logo patches produced and the girls would give one to each person they played.  It is common in the World Youth Chess Championships to provide opponents with a symbol of one’s team or country.  When my boys played traveling soccer it was common to exchange patches or pins.  In fact, it was fun to watch them during half time, while eating their oranges, to be trading pins with players from other teams.   I also provided small California flags for our girls and a few other California girls to place by their chess boards so I could easily find them to take pictures.

The Horner Junior High School chess girls placed third in the team competition in the Under 14 division. I.S. 318 won this group as it has done for many years.  They placed two points ahead of us with a team from Memphis, Tennessee taking second with 11 to our 10.5 points. I thought we had a good chance to win the title from I.S. 318 this year until I saw the entries. I was very pleased we did as well as we did as the Under 14 section was the toughest field of the tournament.  We came in seeded fifth and so at third, we placed higher than our initial seeding.  Once again we had depth.  We would have placed in third even if one of our second, third or fourth girls had floundered.  It is always good to have a back-up player.  Serafina Show, our highest rated player, received 4.5 points out of six and tied for fourth.  I guess the best way I can explain how well she did is to mention that her U.S. Chess Federation rating jumped to 1874.  Raisah Khan also showed how well she played against the tough competition by going from a rating of 1331 to 1384.

I think I shocked everyone at this Friday’s team meeting when I said I was the proudest of our Under 10 Team
(Prisha Jain, Sophia Zhu and Kavya Peela).  After the first round the Weibel Team was in eleventh place. Slowly but surely the team kept moving up in the standings—eighth, sixth, fifth.  The organizers only provided four team trophies.  So I gave the three Under 10 players one of my long-winded talks to inspire them.  A number of girls laughed.  I asked why and they said it sounded like I copied my talk from Coach Demetrius Goins.  Demetrius, by the way, had flown to Chicago with his wife Kelly to help the Weibel girls as a number of them were presently his students. I had brought National Master and Women’s FIDE Master Uyanga Byambaa with us to inspire the girls and go over their games. 

Uyanga gave it her all.  Any time you walked into our team room you would see her analyzing some players game.  Ted Castro, of the NorCal House of Chess here in Fremont, stopped by our team room a number of times to cheer our girls on.  He had in the past coached a number of our girls while he taught at Weibel or as private students.  Back to my main thread—as the sixth and last round ended and two of our Under 10 girls won their games and the third took a draw, I was sure we had the fourth place trophy.  I was thrilled when we ended up in third place especially since we placed ahead of seven New York schools. Granted, two New York private schools, Dalton and Speyer Legacy place ahead of us.

Last, but far from least, was our dynamic, energetic and driven Under 8 Team (Erin Law, Yesun Lee and Chau-Ha Nghiem).   I had never expected that this team with two novices and only one experienced player, Erin Law, would ever be in first place.  Yet, through the first five rounds that is exactly where they were.  Yet, they reversed the direction of our Under 10 Team.  Each round the other teams pulled closer to us.  Before the sixth round started it still looked good for this dynamic trio.  All Weibel needed was two wins to take a clear first and one win from any of our three players to tie for first.  I guess their running around, hiding under the tables, and carrying each other around took its toll.  All three lost their games and we placed second to New York PS 139 the strongest of the New York public elementary schools.  Perhaps I should have ordered the parents to take their girls and make them nap after each round as one parent from another school in Fremont does with his daughter.  I guess that just isn’t in my nature.  As many of you know, I have only sons and grandsons so I guess I just couldn’t help myself enjoying these faux granddaughters of mine having fun.  Now all I am left with is the chess player’s lament, “I shoulda, I coulda, if I woulda.”

I would like to thank all the parents who took the weekend to join their daughters in Chicago.  Their support
was, as far as I am concerned, unmatched by any other group and accounted in a big way for the success of our girls.  I would like to thank NM Uyanga Byambaa for taking a weekend away from her studies to coach the girls in Chicago. While we were in Chicago she checked her e-mail and learned she had been accepted as a transfer student at U.C.L.A. I just read on Facebook that she also received acceptance to Berkeley.  As much as I think U.C.L.A. is a better school, I hope she selects Cal.  Perhaps she will then be able to continue teaching at Weibel. 

Another thank you goes to Rob Chan for his willingness to drive myself and Demetrius and Kelly Goins to the Baha’i Temple even though he had visited it once before.  I am sorry that on the way back from the Temple Demetrius did not get to taste a true Chicago deep dish pizza. The place we went to produced some thick crust thing they called deep dish.  As I told him, being from New York, deep dish isn’t really a pizza anyway because you can’t fold the slices in your hand, have the mozzarella cheese flow over the sides and get grease all over your clothes. 

Thanks to NM Uyanga Byambaa, WFM Alexandra Botez, IM Emory Tate, Lauren Goodkind and Elaine Veksler for giving up one of their Sundays to help train our girls.  Oh, and least I forget, many thanks to the parents who allowed us to use their homes for these training sessions. Kudos, once again, to the 14 Weibel girls who played so well in Chicago. 

That sounds like a good ending for my report, but I am never finished in boring you by writing too much.  I need to add a few personal experiences that warmed my soul.  The organizers of the championships gave me a bottle of wine because they were thrilled about the number of girls I brought from the far distant country of California.  I was thrilled, I told the organizers at a coaches meeting, to swipe an idea from their event to use at my own--a small box on each table for the players to place their turned off cellphones in during their games. 

As many of you know I love photography.  I consider myself a photojournalist – a street photographer.  In Chicago, in the past, I have taken many people shots and mixed them with photographs of the amazing architecture of the city.  This year I took a photo that is out of character for me, yet one I love--a night shot of part of the city and the waterfront from my 32nd floor window.  That alone could have topped off the success of the Weibel girls, but something even more moving occurred.  As I was sitting at the airport Monday morning, awaiting my flight and looking out at a dull raining day, I heard a voice say, “Aren’t you Professor Kirshner?”  I turned my head to see a young man.  He had just gotten off the plane we would be boarding.  He told me he got out of the line heading for the baggage area when he saw me as he wanted to tell me how much he had enjoyed my college class years back and how much I had inspired him to continue his education.  We talked for about five minutes.  As he left to catch his next flight the woman sitting next to me said, “That was a heart warming conversation.”  She continued, “I realize how thankless the teaching profession can be at times, but I am sure it is times like this that warm your soul.”  She was so right.
Chess is Forever,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


    This weekend, February 28 and March 1, 31 members of the Weibel Chess Team travelled to San Mateo to compete in the Susan Polgar Foundation’s National Open Championships for Boys and Girls.   This is the first time this event has been held on the West Coast.  We have Chris Torres of the Chess and Music Academy to thank for bringing the Championships to the Bay Area.  This was his first venture into running a large major tournament and he did a fine job.  Grand Master Susan Polgar and her husband Paul Truong brought their charismatic personalities and helped draw competitors from all over the United Sates and Canada to the event. 
 I admit I was amazed that so many of the Weibel Team players attended as this was not a required event.  Most of our top players were there and even without our full teams Weibel Chess proved that our program could compete with the best.  Our Teams finished first in the Under 12 Boy’s Division as well as the Under 8 and Under 12 Girl’s Divisions.  We lost to Mission San Jose Elementary School in the Under 10 Boy’s Division by a half a point. From my perspective as a coach I think our players in this section deserve loads of accolades as they accomplished this task without our second highest rated player being present and obtained their second place by finishing strong.  As many of you have heard me say for years, “our weakness is that our players cannot finish well.”  Our Under 10 Boy’s came from a fairly large deficit to almost winning the section.  I admit that I tried to bribe them by offering their team members an ice-cream party if they each could win their games in the last round.  They came close to succeeding with only one of the players losing his game.  The big question is, “Will they be able to do at the CalChess State Championship” against the very powerful Mission San Jose 4-5 Grade team.  All I can say is that I am looking forward to dishing out the ice-cream.
Our hero of the two day event was Shivangi Gupta.  She tied for first in the Under 12 Girl’s Division.  Since the winner of the section would obtain the right to compete in the World Youth Championships there had to be a blitz (fine minute chess) playoff between the top two contenders.  Chenyi Zhao, a Warm Springs Elementary School student who is one of the top girls in her age group in the United States with an 1861 rating was her opponent. Shivangi had defeated her in the fourth round. They both had five wins and one loss.  Shivangi’s rating is 1397.  I stood on a table to capture the blitz game on film.  As the time ticked away, Shivangi had a dominating lead and all felt she would get to go to the Youth World Championships.  However, in her aggressive speed play Shivangi overlooked a mating pattern Chenyi had created. Shivangi had to settle with a “wait until next year” and a memory that she had defeated Chenyi in their earlier game. 
As I have done in my recent articles I am only going to name the trophy winners in each section.  In the Under 8 Boy’s we had our poorest showing.  While I hate making excuses like I woulda, I coulda,
I shoulda, I am convinced we would have done a lot better if this were a required event for most of the players who had led us to our victories in the Age Level’s six and seven year old sections were not present.  This translates to “none of our players came home with trophies.”   The Under 8 Girl’s was a different story. Erin Law continuing her recent successes tied for second place, Chau-Ha Nghiem eighth place and Yesun Lee tied for ninth place.

Oliver Wu tied for third place in the Under 10 boys division winning five of his six games.  Louis Law and Dharshan Vetrivelan tied for 12th place winning four games each.   The Girl’s Under 10 was another Division in which we could have used a few of the Team players who selected not to attend.  Please do understand that when I write this I am not saying they should have been there.  Out main   goals this year are to win our State championship and the all-Girls Nationals.  Any victories at the Polgar were a bonus and preparation for those upcoming events. Isha Varada, who I noted in my article on the Age Level surprised me with her success, proved it was no fluke.  She took home a ninth place trophy.  Prisha Jain tied for 11th.

My special Kudos go to our Under 12 Boy players. After not finishing well at the Grade Level in December they looked a lot better here.  Granted they didn’t have to finish well as both the boys and     girls teams took insurmountable leads far before the last rounds.  Rahul Ravishankar, Sutryateja Mandadi and Aaron Lee tied for 10th place winning four out of their six games.  I already mentioned Shivangi Gupta’s, the 2015 CalChess State Girls Champion, success at this event.  She had strong back up with Amy Chan’s tie for ninth place and Enya Mistry and Amirah Mohamed Rafi’s tie for 12th place.  If they can keep up this level of play and with the addition of the strong play of Anvi Surapaneni, who was not at the Polgar, they will win the Under 12 National Girl’s title for the third year in a row. 

A few former Weibel students, now at Horner won trophies in the Under 14 Boys and Girls Division’s.  Kia Sadegi tied for 11th and Avi Khanna tied for 18th in the Boy’s.  Sara Kaushik tied for fourth and Raisah Khan for seventh.  Former Weibel student Aria Lakhmani, now at Basis, took second.  I would like to thank her father, Sonny, for making sure I was fed on both Saturday and Sunday.
In closing, let me provide a million thanks to those parents who gave up their weekend to spend both days in San Mateo when it was not required. In some ways this was a first for Weibel parents.  Over my 25 years with the Weibel Chess Team I have had a hard time to get parents to travel to tournaments outside the Tri-City Area.  I am aware that they have done so reluctantly when the tournament was required as was the CalChess Grade Level in Stockton or the CalChess Girls Championships in San Rafael.  Somehow, over the years most parents, not all, candidly seemed to think that taking their children to a remote place like San Mateo was like a trip to Timbuktu.  Parents of the 31 players who attended the Polgar did not mutter a word or look as if they put themselves out.  They were there to support their children and the Weibel Team.  You cannot imagine how good that felt.  It may have taken me 25 years, but I think I finally have a large number of Team parents who understand what a commitment to an elite competitive team means.  So once again—THANK YOU!

Chess is Forever,
PS:  You can find complete results at
I will shortly process my photographs and post them at my usual site:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015



I am so proud of our Weibel players.  A coach, even a perfectionist coach like myself, could not be happier based on the results of the Weibel individual players and our Teams at the CalNorth Youth Age Level this weekend.  I know the school and the Unified School District will be thrilled at the success of the Weibel Chess Team.  This was tough competition and most of our students played like tigers.  Four hundred and thirty one players from over 40 schools participated.  Actually, over 500 registered.  Yes, at least 70 players failed to show.  I believe the weather had a bit to do with this, but I also think many didn’t show because of the large number of early registrants who forgot they signed up.  Numerous e-mails were sent to remind people of the competition, but I am sure like many of my e-mails they landed in spam folders.

I send my Kudos as well to the parents who spent the last few weeks preparing their children for the competition and seeing that they studied.  My thanks to instructors for their excellent work in training their students. 

There were trophies to 15 places in each division with trophies for ties at 15th place.  Three unrated trophies were given to three individuals who never played in a United States Chess Federation Tournament before and did not win one of the 15 trophies in their division.  The top three Teams also received awards.  I am going to simply list the trophy winners.  To view the full standing, the USCF ratings and photographs of the Championships you can go to

No team trophies were awarded in the 4-5 Age Group or the Invitational Divisions. Weibel Chess Teams, in all the rest, minus two-well maybe minus one, took first place.  OK, we tied for first place in the 9 year old division with Warm Springs, however their top players are all Weibel trained.  Yup, in the 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 year old sections our players took home the championship titles.  In a sense they did in the 12 year old section as well.  The first place trophy went to Horner Junior High School and the three former Weibel players stood tall.  Tierra Linda Junior High School from San Carlos won the 13 year old Championships.

In the four and five year old division, Weibel had five players: , Akarsh Khare, Farhan Ali, Kevin Xu, Krishank Sardesai, Avnita Paul.  All brought home trophies.  The star of the 4-5 Age Group was Akarsh Khare who came in second only a half point from first place.  He drew the winner, Issac Lee of Gomes.   Farhan Ali took seventh.   Kevin Xu got tenth.  Krishank Sardesai placed eleventh and Avnita Paul twelfth.

Six of our players in the six year old division came home with trophies. Aakash Koneru, Edward Miu and Nikko Lee all tied for third.   Avyukt Bhardwaj, Ekansh Samanta and David Gao all tied for ninth.

Our seven year olds came away with a four way tie for fourth: Mihir Gadre, Chau-Ha Nghiem, Reyansh Samanta and Yesun Lee.  Nik Sadeghi, Rutansh Pathak and Vincent Yang tied for thirteenth.

The ties continued in the eight year old division.  Umesh Gopi, Justin Wu and Prisha Jain all tied for third place.

Eshan Prakash was our hero in the nine year old division.  He tied for first place.  Irene Xu and Sidhant Chaliha tied for 15th place.

Our Warm Springs Team players who we tied for first place with and learned at Weibel are: Alex Chen (3rd),  Ryan Dai (3rd), Tiger Yang (15th), Ricky Lin (15th). 

Aaron Lee shined in the ten year old division.  He not only tied for first place he won the playoff for the large first place trophy in a blitz (5 minute chess) game.   Stanley Ko had a good tournament as well tying for third place. Kripa Kini, Frederick Zhang and Yash Pradhan all tied for fifth place.

Four of our player came out in third place in the eleven year old division, only one point out of first: Amirah Mohamed Rafi, Prithvi Nagamanivel, Amy Chan, Rahul Ravishankar.

Former Weibel students did well in the 12 and 13 year old division even though they are now in Junior High School: Ambika Tiwari (4th in 12),   Avi Khanna (4th in 12), Praveen Ravindar (4th in 12), Avikam Chauhan (12th  in 12), Akshay Gharpure (5th in 13th)

A fair number of our top players entered the new format Age Level Invitational for longer time controls and to obtain an international chess rating.

In the 4-9 Open Weibel Chess students had the following results: Sidarth Raman (9th),  Eshaan Mistry (13th), Dharshan Vetrivelan (15th), Aaron Hu (15th)

Last year’s Kirshner Cup winner in the 4-9 Open took second this year in the 10-13  Orwig Cup Open.  Oliver Wu lost to an individual he had beaten many times before, Rishith Susarla of Mission San Jose Elementary School.   Louis Law tied for eight but made a big jump in his USCF rating due to defeating some much higher rated opponents.   Zayaan Khan took thirteenth. Jeremy Chen, Suryateja Mandadi and Shivangi Gupta (this year’s Girls State Champion) did not have great tournaments, but still brought home trophies for tying at fifteenth place.

If I left anyone out, please please forgive me.  I am still not recovered from the weekend helping Carl Moy run this successful tournament.   I would have gotten this out sooner, but I have been sleeping a lot the last few days.  I guess that is what happens when you become an Ancient. ;-)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


I would like to start my report by thanking all the parents who drove their daughters and their friends to San Rafael on Saturday, January 31.  I am sure they were surprised that getting there was not like driving to the end of the earth.  However, the trip home was another thing as I am sure you felt you Fremont was the end of the earth.  The traffic was bumper to bumper from San Rafael through the Berkeley corridor.   It took me more than twice the time to get back to Fremont as getting to the Mark Day School in the morning.  I think the only saving grace the parents had was that they had a great day enjoying the success of their daughters and the Weibel Team.

As I wrote in an earlier note to the Weibel Community and on Facebook, the Team won both the 2-3 and the 4-6 grade sections.  In the K-1 division we placed second, a half point behind Mark Day School.   Prisha Jain in the 2-3 and Shivangi Gupta in the 4-6 were the only two players to win all their games.  They both became State Champions in their respective divisions.  Both had to play their teammates to obtain their titles. 

Prisha Jain, a third grade student, defeated Weibel’s Erin Law, our top 
second grade player, in the third round to move on to the final.  Erin’s only loss was to Prisha.  My pleasant surprise was to see a Weibel student, I did not know well, Isha Varada, in third grade, also finish with only one loss.  Erin and Isha tied for second place and took home trophies.  The organizer Ray Orwig provided medals for the top second grade students who did not win trophies.  Weibel’s Chau-Ha Nghiem, Yesun Lee and Elena Xu tied for this award.

In the Kindergarten through First Grade section the only two girls we had in this division took home trophies for tying for fourth place, Mihika Deshpande, in first grade, and Mai-Ha Nghiem, in Kindergarten. They both played extremely well for their first big meet.  They will join our 2-3 girls as future
stars replacing the absolutely wonderful group of sixth grade girls that are leaving us at the end of this school year.  I anticipate that before they leave they will also do Weibel proud in the Polgar Girls Championships on February 28 and March 1 in San Mateo and then help continue our winning streak in the Under 12 division of the All-Girls Nationals in Chicago over the weekend of  April 17 through April 19. 

Ray Orwig, the organizer of the meet, as he was giving out the award commented on the excellent chess played at the tournament this year.  He then specifically mentioned a game we both watched in the 4-6 division that will last in our memories for a long time.  If there was a super star chess player award both Ray and I would have given it to Enya Mistry.  In  round three, Enya played the top student from Berkeley Chess School rated who was over 100 points more.  Enya played like a Tigress—focused and sure of herself.  As the game approached its conclusion Enya’s opponent had only two seconds left on her clock.  Many lesser players would have toyed with their opponent waiting for the clock to fall.  Not Enya.  With determination and confidence she moved with clarity of purpose and proceeded to trade off her pieces checkmating her opponent with her king and her rook. 

This win now meant that Enya had to play Shivangi Gupta in the last round for the Championship.   Shivangi moved on to the championship match by defeating her good friend and teammate Anvi Surapaneni in a match that should not have been.  Sadly, the tournament director was not familiar with the USCF Rule Book on not pairing teammates until the last round.  He also did not carefully examine the pairings to see that there were two non-Weibel players in the same score group that got paired together.  I take blame, in part, for what occurred.  I was outside going over a couple of younger players games while eating my lunch and enter the playing hall just seconds before the round was to start.  I brought it to his attention just before he was going to start the round.  He did not repair the group.  

Shivangi defeated Anvi after, I am told, she offered her a draw that Anvi turned down.  I told Enya
and Shivangi that they should play for a win in the championship game.  If they did not a three way tie would result and that would mean a student that had not played any of the top Weibel players would become a co-champion.  Shivangi, as I mentioned earlier, won the championship taking home the first place trophy.  Enya, Anvi and Amirah Mohamed Rafi, also from Weibel, tied for third place.  The top fourth grade player medal in this four through sixth grade division went to Weibel student, Sophia Zhu.

Weibel had 24 girls in this event. While I have only mentioned those Weibel students who won awards, I want to note that I am proud of all the girls.  Most won at least 50% of their games and not one of our students lost all of their games.  As your Principal Catherine Strommen wrote after receiving my short note on your successes: “Congratulations Weibel girls!!”
Enkijen Vs Enya Jan 31 2015 - Annotation by Enya Mistry: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3Bc5 5. Nc3 Normal four knights opening with guicco piano. 5... d6 6. h3 Be67. Bb3 h6 8. Be3 very mundane opening. couldn't get less exciting. 8... Bb6 9. O-OO-O 10. Ne2 Interesting move. I have never seen a person play that, in the little experience i have. It seems that my opponent wants to make her 2 knights very dangerous. 10... d5 a counterattack 11. exd5 Nxd5 12. Bxb6 I think this was a bad move because it gives me a chance to open my rook and put pressure on the a2 pawn. This also gave me an open file to do anything i want with my rook while her rook was trapped in her own pawns. 12... axb6 13. Ng3 now she is putting her knights into the play 13... Nf4This move was a waiting move. This was so that my queen could go to g6 and then i could put pressure on the knight and possibly win a pawn.  14. Bxe6 Nxe6 15. Re1 f6This opened my king side, but he doesn't have a white squared bishop, so it is no problem. 16. Nh4 now i can't move my queen out. 16... Qd4 but i moved it out with a threat. I either win a knight or a pawn. 17. Qg4 she counterattacked. If i take the pawn on b2, she takes my knight WITH a check. Therefore, she would be up in material and would start invading my pawns and kingside. 17... Qxg4 18. hxg4 Nb4 Instead i found a counterattack. 19. Re2 Nxa2 I took with the knight to perhaps move it out, and attack the hanging rook with a discovered attack. 20. c3 Her plan was to move b4 after this to get my knight, but then i would play Nxc3, so i am fine ....for now. 20... Nf4 21. Rd2 Rfd8 22. Rad1Rd7 My plan is to move the other rook to d8, threatening to take the pawn, but then my knight was hanging, so i need to figure out a way to get my knight out. 23. Ne2 Nxe2+24. Rxe2 b5 This enables me to move to b4, and if he takes, my knight can take back and be free, and if she doesn't, i win an extra pawn with : bxc3, bxc3, Nxc3. 25. Nf5 b426. cxb4 Nxb4 My knight is free!!! 27. d4Rad8 She can't take my pawn because then i take her rook with a check. 28. Red2 c5This puts more pressure on the d4 pawn, threatening to take the d4 pawn with a tempo. 29. d5 excellent move. If nxd5, rxd5,rxd5, Ne7+, winning the rook to fork. 29... Kf7 30. d6 b5 Now i am planning to bombard the queen side area and possibly promote. 31. b3 I don't know why she moved that, it was a waste of tempo. 31... c4 32. bxc4 bxc4 33. Rc1Rc8 34. Ne3 c3 35. Rdd1 Ke6 36. Nf5Nd5 This blocks the white pawn from anymore guarding. This will let me win the pawn later on in the game.  37. Rd3 h538. f3 hxg4 39. fxg4 g6 40. Ng3 Rxd641. Ne4 Rdc6 42. Kf1 Her king will never be able to get to my pawn because if she moves Ke2, i fork her king and rook. 42... f543. gxf5+ gxf5 44. Ng5+ Ke7 45. Ke1e4 46. Rh3 she was planning to keep checking my king and waste time because she had 3 minutes remaining while i had 7 minutes 46... Nf6 47. Re3 At this point i stopped notating because i had 3 minutes on my clock. I ended up winning in a rook and king endgame. Before, she had a knight, but i pinned her king to the knight and i won her knight. she made that mistake because of time pressure. she had 13 seconds on her clock. i played till the end with 10 seconds remaining on my side of the clock.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


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.

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.

You can view all current entries at:

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,
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.

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,


On Valentine’s Day, February 14 in Cupertino:
On January 31, Alex Veksler is holding the first of his monthly Chess for Kids Quads in San Jose:
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:

On March 7 in Santa Clara, Matthew Bensen is holding another of his Let’s Play Chess tournaments:

On March 15, Dennis Myers is running his yearly, non-rated tournament, at Fox School in Belmont:

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the weekly Friday night tournaments the Hanley Chess Academy holds in San Jose:
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:  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:

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:
Jay writes the following in his Welcome to

“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,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


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: 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.

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.