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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

WEIBEL TEAM NEWSLETTER FALL 2014



TEAM PLANS FOR 2014-2015

I know we will have a great year. I know we will have many successes to write about in 2014-2015, after all this is the Weibel Chess Team winner of six national titles and to many to name State Championships. We will have a chance this year to add some State Championship titles to our history. We will be sending teams to the CalChess State Grade Level on December 6 & 7 as well as to the CalChess State Scholastics at the end of April. We have not done this in over three years. I will write a bit more on this later in this issue. As has been the case since it’s inception about six years ago, we will have all our girls attending the CalChess State Girls Championships in San Rafael at the end of January. I expect our girls to continue their winning ways as they have won at least one division every year since the Championship got underway. We will also have many of our players at the Age Level on February 8th in Newark as well as the Judit Polgar Boy’s & Girl’s Championships on February 28 & March 1 in San Mateo. I hope to have our girls as well as the Horner Jr. H.S. girls attend the Girls Nationals in Chicago on April 17-19. As you know already, all our Varsity players are going to Nashville in the on May 8-10 to attend the National Elementary School Nationals. Please prepare now.



OUR PLAYERS

 For the first time ever the Weibel Chess Team have more students than the Weibel Chess Club.  I am not sure if word of our success has drawn children/parents to the Team or we simply have a very masochistic student population at Weibel this year.  I say this because of the required homework as well as the required number of tournaments Team members must attend.  By the way, I am happy to report that only two of our 98 members failed to complete the first tournament requirement due by October 15.  Carl Moy, our parent coordinator, expected a far greater number.  I should also note that of the two, one of the students went to a competition that does not count due to a recommendation from that tournament organizer. So I only suspended one person.  I hope that everyone will meet the November 15 deadline for two attending two tournaments.  Our Kindergarten students will have to attend their first one, if they have not done so already, by that date.



Here is the breakdown of the 2014-2015 team.  Hopefully the number of Junior Varsity and Varsity players will increase as our students improve their skills and increase their ratings.  I have loads of caps ready to provide those players that make our Honor Roll by obtaining a1000 USCF rating.  I have already order one Elite scarlet and black sport jacket for a third grade student, Weslie Chen, who broke 1200 this summer.  We now have 12 Elite players.  As I mentioned in a previous note, Oliver Wu became our first Weibel Ultimate Chess Player by reaching 1700 in third grade.  This weekend in Reno he reached 1822.

NOVICE PLAYERS = 42        JUNIOR VARSITY =  32       VARSITY = 21 PLAY OPTION = 3 Kindergarten = 5, 1st Grade = 7       2nd Grade = 15 3rd Grade = 19           4th Grade = 22  5th Grade = 13          6th Grade = 13 7th thru 9th = 4       Girls = 29 Non-Weibel Students = 12




I will take this opportunity to mention that I have made a change in  the requirements to which you committed.  All parents agreed that in placing their children on the Team they would attend the CalChess State Championships. I have decided that due to the nature of the Grade Level on December 6 & 7 only the four top rated players in each grade will represent Weibel. I will be letting you know in the beginning of November if who will be required to go to Stockton to compete. K-3 grade students will only need to go on Saturday December 6.  Grade 4 and up must attend both days.
RATINGS & RANKINGS

For those of you new to Weibel Chess this year, let me try and explain our ranking system.  Players get points for playing chess, doing homework, attending tournaments and at the discretion of their teacher.  The children get 3 points when they win a game, 2 points for a draw and 1 point for a loss.  These points are double when they play in a United States Chess Federation Tournament.  When they obtain a specific amount of points they obtain a title.  For example, after obtaining 8 points they are a Pawn. At the end of the year we have an awards ceremony/banquet.  All players will receive trophies and a certificate with their current title.  The top 5 point winners will receive special trophies. Each week, after the first month,—unless my schedule prevents it—I will update the points and the ranking sheets. Please be sure your child brings home a sheet each week.  I often post little notes to the parents on these missiles.  Every few weeks I will send a copy of the point sheet home via e-mail.

Please do not confuse the points a player receives or his/her rating with the skill level.  Skill levels are based only upon the class the student attends or the rating they receive when entering U.S. Chess Federation tournaments. 

CURRICULUM + ASSIGNMENTS:  

If you are curious as to what we will be teaching, the curriculums for each level are available for download at: http:// www.WeibelChess.org/curriculum.html

For the Novice and Junior Varsity we spend about half the time in instruction on tactics and strategy and the other half playing chess under tournament conditions.  The Varsity Team will play longer time controls that end at 5:30 PM.



Starting next week all players must do homework. Translation—the first homework is due on Friday, October 31—TRICK OR TREAT.  Yes, we have chess at the regular time on half-days unless the school has an activity in the MUR. All players will notate their games starting this Friday. Novice and Junior Varsity will only need to write 5 moves to start.  They will expand to 10 moves in a few weeks. The Varsity players must record their complete game. Varsity players must annotate their games (comment on the moves) this must be placed in a computer and turned in the next Friday.  Novice & JV players will start this practice in the second semester.  However they must keep all their notated games in a folder at home.  I will ask them to bring them to me to check later in this semester.



I am sending home a list of Nicknames and Passwords for ChessMagnetSchool.com  Players are to do the number of problems appropriate for their status as spelled out in the Online information sheet.  If the problems/puzzles are taking more than two hours, let me know & I will consider reducing the number.  I will also be providing you with the passwords for Chesshomework.com. Any work done there is extra credit.  Our highest skilled players have received a password to ChessLecture.com.  They will watch videos & report what they learned as well as to critique the video lectures.



MISCELLANEOUS:

The T-shirts have been ordered and they are schedule to arrive on November 2.  I only order the number of T-shirts for those who get them gratis as they joined for the year or for those that ordered them. Requesting a change in the initial size will, therefore, not be possible unless someone with that size shirt wants the size shirt you want to exchange.



Please be sure to peruse the Weibel Chess website: http://www.WeibelChess.org.  We also have a blog that Carl Moy our parent coordinated created. I will be placing all Team parent e-mails on the blog. Please accept your membership when asked.  The address is: http://weibelchess.blogspot.com/



While I keep a list of the USCF scholastic tournaments at http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.org/Tournaments.html the blog site duplicates this listing as well as adding major events out of the Bay Area and carries the open (for adults and top youth players) tournaments in the our area and on the national level.

REMEMBER:                             

1) The children start chess promptly at 2:55 in the MUR.                              



2)  Novice and Junior Varsity will be dismissed from the MUR at 4:30 PM. No parent nor anyone designated on our list to pick up their child may do so before 4:30 PM without advance notice. Varsity players are done at 5:30.  They cannot leave until 5:30 whether they have finished their games or not.  Mr. Shorman provides a lesson/lecture for those who have completed their games and analysis early.                                    



3) All players must leave through the doors leading to the upper/staff parking lot.  No student can exit back into the school or be on school property after chess unless they are in an afterschool program that meets on the campus.

E-MAILS TO CONTACT TEACHERS:

Alan Kirshner-- Alan@WeibelChess.org

Uyanga Byambaa-- uyanga_3s14@yahoo.com

Alexandra Botez-- AlexandraBotez@hotmail.com

Gaurang Mehta-- gaurangmehta.chess@gmail.com

Demetrius Goins – coachdemetrius@gmail.com

Barry Curto – blindfoldchess100@yahoo.com

Arpita Khandelwal – arpita79_79@yahoo.com

Serafina Show – c/o clin0827@yahoo.com

Steven Li – c/o bosili2000@gmail.com

Angela Chan – c/o LisaChan408@yahoo.com

Sashrika Pandey – c/o Pandey00@yahoo.com

Richard Shorman –c/o WeibelChess@comcast.net

Our Parent Coordinator:

Carl Moy—carl.moy@comcast.net

http://wwwCalNorthYouthChess/WeibelChess/Instructors.html

This link has not yet been updated for 2014-2015.



I will be trying to coordinate a Team Parent Meeting sometime within the next couple of weeks.



THE FIRST WEIBEL CHESS TEAM 1989 TOOK FIFTH PLACE AT STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS