Wednesday, June 18, 2014


With our Awards Ceremonies on Friday May 30, 2014 we ended one of our best chess years ever. I want to say thank you again to Fahria Khan and her staff for producing this great event. It  brought the perfect finish to Weibel’s  25th year of chess.  The letter I sent to the Weibel Team chess community spelled out the specific details of their success.  I have inserted it below for any of you who want to read it or are interested in sending your children to the Team.  I cannot be as specific with details of the Weibel Chess Club members successes as they are not required to attend tournaments etc.  I can only be subjective in my statement that we had a great year.

I feel we had a great year because from my observations those new to the Club played far better chess than they did at the start.  I saw it and many parents commented on how their children were now defeating them at home. My instructors noted how they did not feel they were simply babysitting kids.  The children, they said, appeared excited about chess.  This year I had far fewer players drop out for the second semester than any other year I remember.  I think it was only five and two of them moved to other locations.

I hope to see a good number of this year’s players back for next year.  The return of players keeps Weibel from being a revolving door program like so many other chess programs.  What I mean by that is most other chess schools offer the same skill instruction each year because they get a new batch of students—few return.  Weibel, both in Club and Team, is able to offer various classes for almost every chess level.

That being said, I do hope many of you will consider moving your children to the Team.  I want to emphasize that we really need new girl blood.  After this year we are losing our wonderful girls Team who have won so many honors.  We need to build our base again so we can continue our national reputation as the girls team to beat. Also, to show, as we have done in the past, that when we win the open nationals or place near the top our team has girls who are instrumental in those successes. This takes me to another building block for our Team—I have created a special Kindergarten Team class for next year on Fridays.  Joyce Laforteza, who is known for her excellence in producing chess success with young children and has a California teaching credential and experience teaching in Elementary School will be the instructor in that class.  I hope you will pass the information to any parents who have Kindergarten children who know how the pieces move and who love chess.

The only requirements to be on the Chess Team is the child must know how to play chess, love the game and is willing to do a little chess homework and attended a limited number of tournaments. Please be sure your child wants to be on the Team before you decide to place them there.  And, if you do sign him/her up for the Team because s/he want to be there, please follow the most important requirement--that you as a parent support your child by adhering to your commitments to the Team.

For those returning to the Club—I look forward to your children enjoying and improving their chess next year.  This is why we have a Club and a Team with outstanding instruction in both. We can, thereby, offer a program for your child’s personality, desires and time schedule.  No matter which your child selects, as all controlled studies show, his/her critical thinking and school successes will increase.  The Team only adds the competition which can also be achieved without a fixed requirement by any Club member.  Translation, all chess competitions are open to players who are in the Club or the Team.  In fact, there are many chess tournaments this summer if you want to see how your child feels about formal competition.  You can go to or our blog,, to find suitable events that fit your schedule.

The Weibel Information Sheet and Registration Form for the 2014-2015 chess year can be found at or at the tab link at

Sunday, June 15, 2014


With our Awards Ceremonies on Friday May 30, 2014 we ended one of our best chess years ever . I want to say thank you again to Fahria Khan and her staff for producing this great event. It  brought the perfect finish to Weibel’s  25th year of chess.  I also want to thank Ted Castro and his NorCal House of Chess for the generous free summer camp certificate awarded to our Rookie of the Year, Prisha Jain, and our Most Improved Player of the Year, Aaron Hu.  My thanks also to our anonymous donor of a professional wooden chess set to our Most Valuable Player of the Year, Oliver Wu. Special thanks go to the Ferguson’s for continuing, for the last 21 years, a memorial scholarship to the individual who best represents the values of Weibel Chess.  This year’s winner was Shivangi Gupta. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the winner of this year Sportsmanship Award, Serafina Show.  Serafina not only tied for the CalChess Girls Junior High School & Senior High School Championship this year but she has been selected to represent Northern California in the National Girls Invitational Tournament in Florida this August and was invited to attend the Susan Polgar Girls tournament in July.

Weibel Chess, this year, had more students on our Honor Roll (USCF ratings over 1000) than ever before—24. Two more dropped down and one more just made it-so in total it was actually 27.   I provided 13 elite team members jackets to those players who reached a very high goal I set for the various grade levels at the beginning of the year.  For 2014-2015, I am continuing the jackets awards and have added an Ultimate Award for the few players that can reach an extreme level chess rating that will place them in the middle of the top one hundred chess players in the country for their age/grade level.

While our Varsity Team did not win a National title this year we were in contention in the four sections we entered right down to the last two round.  Our Varsity Girls’ Team did win a national title—their fourth. 

The Information Sheet and Registration Form for the 2014-2015 chess year can be found at or at the tab link at

Have a great summer and please do have your children play and work on their chess.

Monday, May 12, 2014


 I am waiting for my plane to leave Dallas.  I thought I might as well get a report out to the Weibel Chess parents or at least that one person sitting on the edge of his chair waiting for this information. ;-)

The Weibel news is mixed.  The good (almost great news) is that all but one person wore their Weibel Team T-shirts all weekend.  It helped the players and parents bond as a team.  Our spirit was high even if our scores weren’t as high as we would have liked.  I was excited to see our elite players take pride in their jackets.  They wore them during most of the rounds.

On the positive side:
I was happy that I invited Gomes (Fremont) and Bret Harte (Modesto) to share our large Team Room.  We felt a brotherhood/sisterhood of being from Northern California.  Success and accomplishment come not just from trophies, but from being a part of a community.

Demetrius Goins, our coach, amazed people in his staying power. He had few breaks during the day as he threw all his energy and extensive chess knowledge in preparing our players and some of the Gomes players for their next games.

There were few negatives.  One impacted our team and caused some unwanted tension and lack of sleep.  Almost all flights were cancelled Thursday due to thunderstorms, hail and tornados in Dallas.  Flight had to be rearranged to get to Dallas. A number of our players had to take byes the first round for fear of not arriving in time on their re-booked flights.  Anthony Zhou, our highest rated player, decided to gamble and try and make the hour deadline before being forfeited.  He made it with about five minutes to spare and went on to win his game.

Almost everything went smoothly at the tournament.  The Chief TD , however, apparently made a decision based upon his philosophy that reversed two years of a peace that had occurred between many teams and Washington State players.  Washington State has its own rating system.  When Washington State players enter a Nationals their USCF ratings are quite deceptive.  Some feel that is intentional.  For example, a Washington team in the K3 Under 800 section had players rated by their system over 1700 and others 1500 and 1300 and they had played dozens of competition chess games.  Their USCF ratings were way under 800 due to having played these games years ago.  The Chief TD informed the large group of protesters that as far as he was concerned all non-USCF rating system and activities were illegal.   Obviously, this was a business power ploy on his part that lacked any ethical considerations.  He had, in my opinion, absolutely no concern for the players.  I loved watching my brethren and sisters from New York come down on the Chief TD whom they viewed as arrogant.  I personally felt he was just a snot.  Obviously, it isn’t just in Northern California that we have one or two people who use their power and status for their own purposes disregarding the players. 

How went the tournament for Weibel?  I was excited that all our players were taking their time before moving.  Only once or twice did a player  return from his/her game in under 20 minutes.  A few years ago a dozen players would have been back in the Team room in that amount of time.  Many of our players went three hours and a couple even lasted almost to the end of the time control.  Shivangi Gupta seemed to do this in almost every round.  She, like a number of other Weibel players, found themselves playing higher rated players in every round.   I do want to provide my special kudos to second grade student Dharsahan Vetrivelan as he used his full time during one of his games. 

Another second grade student who deserves Kudos is Aaron Hu. He played a slew of people 400 to 500 points higher and finished the tournament with 5 out of seven points in the K-3 championships.  He was by far the big surprise of the tournament and deserved his trophy and loads of accolades. 

Anvi Surapaneni was the heroine of the team as she won the K-6 Under 1000 competition with a perfect score.  While winners of any of the Under or non-rated sections cannot use the title Champion, I would definitely call her a champion even if I must use a small c.

In the K-6 Under 1000 competition Sashrika Pandey also came home with a trophy for her five wins.  Our Team took third in this section only a ½ point out of first.  We had 20 points and the first place team had 20.5 points.

I believe in this year’s National Championships our players confronted their most difficult competition ever.  They did far better than last year, however.  We failed to come home with many individual trophies, but our teams picked up a few.  In fact, only the players I have already mentioned and Oliver Wu in the K-3 section brought home any hardware.

The Weibel Team results:

Based on the initial rankings of the teams in the sections we entered our final results were good.  Translation—we placed higher than we entered.  Yet, I had hoped we would do better.  The K-3 Championships provided our best chance for a title.  Through most of the rounds seven teams including Weibel were within one point of first place.  In the sixth round Mission San Jose took its turn in first by half a point and held on to its lead in the seventh to gain the victory. Once again Mission has proven that their players can finish strong.  Weibel placed fourth only one and a half point behind.  As expected, Oliver Wu led our players and finished with 5.5 points.  As noted earlier, Aaron Hu with a rating 600 points below Oliver was our second place player.  In the last round Louis Law fought a player rated much higher than himself to a draw and obtained 4.5 points.  The four highest scoring players count for team point no matter how many players on a team.  If a team finishes in the top five the four players get plaques.  Our final plaque was awarded to Vincent Wang who obtained 3.5 points.

Despite our K-5 Championship Team being seeded eleventh in the country, I truly felt that we had the talent to finish in the top five. We had no heroes but we had a lot of depth. Through most of the tournament, we were in the top five.  The bane of Weibel Chess’ existence in recent years, not finishing strong, raised its ugly face again when we dropped our position in the last two rounds and ended tied for ninth place.  To be fair our players defeated a number of higher rated players, just not enough of them.  While there were not any plaques for our K-5 players, I would like to personally thank all of them for their team spirit.  I think this group enjoyed themselves a lot.  I am sure some might say too much, but I can’t help but get a warm feeling when a group of students are laughing together while playing chess in the Team Room. They were like comrades in arms.  Next year, I hope the comrades in arms hit the target more directly.   Our highest rated play Atri Surapaneni (1496) obtained the most points—4.5.  Prithvi Nagamanivel (1163), showed he could still play chess as he did in second grade. He destroyed many higher rated players and received 4 points.  I think the tension in the delayed flights and Jeremy Chen’s (1423) lack of sleep hit him more than any other Weibel player.  We were all incredulous when he lost his first three games.  With the help of Demetrius Goins, our onsite coach, he made a comeback winning the next four games.  Enya Mistry, another of our players that can play three to four hour games, added 3.5 points to our team. Suryateja Mandadi and Rahul Ravishankar also had 3.5 points in the K-5 tournament.

We tied for fourth in the K-6 Championships.  This was a respectable finish.  Yet once again we would have been higher if our players had better conditioning to finish off the tournament as strong as they started.  The Nationals are grueling event with seven four hour games in three days.  There is little doubt in my mind that our elite players and even varsity players need to play longer time controls over two or three days. Most of all they need to attend more tournaments. Every coach wants to put his sport first.  I just hope I can get some of the parents to do this.  In no other sport do the controlled studies show the academic improvement that studying and playing chess does.  I hear all these worries about studying for tests and test scores.  Yet, critical thinking developed through chess is a prime mover in education.  Having sat on college admissions committees and speaking from the experience of my own boys, becoming a standout chess player will get more attention from most college selection committees than the scores your child received on any Star test.       Our two top players, Anthony Zhou (1842) and Serafina Show (1590) both brought 4.5 points to the team score.  Shivangi Gupta who I moved up from fifth grade due to her fighting spirit obtained 3.5 points as did Daniel Emmanuel. They all received plaques for their accomplishment.

Fremont’s Gomes Elementary was the winner of the K-6 Championship group.  They had been last year’s National K-5 Champions..  Weibel was happy once again to share our Team Room with the Gomes players. I hold a special place in my heart for Gomes since it was the second school I taught at. I left Gomes when I turned Success Chess over to Bela Evans.   Gomes, in the years I was there, mirrored Weibel.  They had great students who were a pleasure to work with plus loads of parent volunteers.  I even held tournaments there and felt as much thrill when they won State Championships as I did when Weibel came out on top.   I may have left Gomes in 2005, but my ties remained.  Gomes’ number one player, National Expert Joanna Liu (2016) started her chess during her three years at Weibel.  She was one of the best students I ever had and telling her parents this inspired them to continue her in chess.  Gomes fourth player in their K-6 Championship Team is William Sartorio (1603-now close to 1800) who played and interacted with our coaches at Weibel for two years.   I felt honored (I had tears in my eyes) when the Gomes parents asked me to be in a picture with their Team.    The other two outstanding players who were part, not only of Gomes’ National Championship team this year, but last year’s as well, were fourth grader Jason Shuhe (1708) and sixth grader Ganesh Murugappan (1835).  KUDOS!                                                                                                                                                          

We did not have a team in the K-1 Championship section, but I hope to have one next year.  Erin Law was the lone player in that section this year.

I want to finish this article on Weibel at the 2014 Elementary School Nationals with a bit of information on other Northern California winners.  Balagi Daggupati , a student of Ted Castro and his famous NorCal House of Chess, stood alone in first place in the K-3 National Championships.  Northern California has the most amazing group of third grade chess players ever.  Seven of the first 15 positions were held by our players: Balaji Daggupati (1919) in first; Maiti Milind (1836) and Andrew Peng (1775) tied for second; Callaghan McCarty-Snead, Chingun Bayaraa (1778), Rishith Susarla (1701) and Oliver Wu(1713)  tied for seventh.  In K-5 David Pan (1839) tied for second.  In K-6, third grade student Andrew Zhang Hong (2038) tied for fifth along with Joanna Liu(2016) and Jason Shuhe Zhang (1708).  This was a great year for Northern California players.  They continue to show that they are once again a force to be reckoned with. 

I will get some photos posted in the near future.

Monday, April 28, 2014


On Saturday, May 3, Success Chess School in Cupertino is holding its first rated chess Quads tournament in many years.  Success Chess has been the major sponsor of all my events. However, neither myself, CalNorth Youth Chess or Weibel Elementary School are affiliated with Success Chess.   So I wish them success. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.  Information is available at

The same day, May 3,  in Santa Clara, Let’s Play Chess has a youth Swiss tournament:

On Sunday, May 4, Robert Blatt who ran a large highly praised CalNorth Youth Quads at Tierra Linda Middle School in San Carlos is holding a non-rated Swiss event at Heather School in San Carlos.  Over the last few years this tournament has drawn numbers in the mid-one hundreds.   I hope he pulls young players from all over Northern California as he did for the April 5 Quads.  You can get information at:

The same day, Bay Area Chess, that holds small youth tournaments just about every weekend, will host both a Swiss and Quads in Fremont:

The next weekend May 10 & 11 includes a whole series of Bay Area Chess tournaments as well as a NorCal House of Chess Quads in Fremont on Saturday, May 10.

Sunday, May 11, Chess For Kids is hosting a youth tournament in San Jose.

Saturday, May 17, is the last of the CalNorth Youth Chess Spring Quads.  This one will be back at Weibel.  I am hoping it will be the largest and the best of the Spring series.  As of today 80 players are registered.  This bodes well for an excellent event.  Why?  Because it allows me to divide up the four members playing each other by very close skill levels and school grades.  As those that have attend these Quads before know,  I do my best to avoid placing players from the same school and club at the same table.  This task is not always possible for schools and clubs that have a large number of entries.

A side note: On May 3 the NorCal House of Chess will have its second meet against Weibel Elementary School.  In their last face off a month ago NCHC defeat Weibel 24 to 22.  While Weibel is determined to obtain revenge, the main purpose of these head to head matches is to obtain practice in playing in the long time controls similar to those of the Nationals.  Weibel will have three teams at the Elementary School Nationals.  NorCal House of Chess cannot field any teams as scholastic tournaments are reserved for academic schools.  This, by the way, is why it is called scholastics. Ted Castro’s NCHC has trained many of the top players in the country, including many Weibel players, and they will have a fair number of players at the event.

The Elementary School Nationals are the weekend of May 9 through 11.   The tournament presently has 1943 entries.  Northern California has a total of 60 entries.  This number pales in comparison to New York’s 562 and the 668 entries from Texas.  Then again the event is in Dallas so Texas has the home field advantage.  Southern California only has 7 entries.  I have absolutely no explanation for this.  SoCal like NorCal has many outstanding chess players. 

The third largest contingent of players in Dallas will be from Florida with 84.  The Teams to beat, in most cases, are from Texas and New York.  The NorCal teams shape up pretty well.  At this writing only three school teams are entered, Mission San Jose, Weibel and Gomes Elementary Schools.  While two players from a school can constitute a team to be realistic four players are needed to place in the top of the competition.  Presently, Mission San Jose has 15 players entered with full teams of four players in K-1 and K-3. Weibel is sending 26 players with full teams in K-3, K-5 and K-6.  Gomes with 5 players will compete in K-6.

The Gomes Team won the K-5 last year and this year the members are shooting to win the K-6.  They are by far the favorites despite Jason Zhang being in fourth grade and William Sartorio in third grade.  Most of the competitive teams have four sixth grade players.  The Nationals will use the May U.S. Chess Federation ratings.  Right now only the April ratings are posted online.  I took a look at the May ratings that show at the U.S. Chess Federation site as “Published Rating as of 2014-05-01.  The four top rated Gomes players are:

2024 Liu, Joanna
1865 Murugappan, Ganesh M
1725 Zhang, Jason Shuhe
1573 Sartorio, William Jiarui

This gives Gomes a team average of  1797.   Joanna Liu is presently seeded sixth right behind another player who competes in our Statw,  Andrew Zhang Hong.

Weibel will be entering as the third seed behind a team from Texas with an average of 1675.  Weibel’s top four players average 1545:

1817 Zhou, Anthony
1578 Show, Serafina
1421 Emmanuel, Daniel
1364 Gupta, Shivangi

For what it is worth, while Weibel will fight to overtake Gomes, the two teams are brothers and sisters in arms and will be sharing the same Team Room.

In K-5, Mission San Jose has only three players.  Weibel has eight.   Based on current entries and the May ratings Weibel will enter in eighth place with:

1573 Surapaneni, Atri
1404 Lee, Aaron
1384 Chen, Jeremy Y
1265 Mistry, Enya

Weibel does have some depth with four other players that might be able to cover if one player falters.  None of the Northern California individual players fall within the top ten entries.

In K-3, Mission San Jose presently is seeded second to a strong team from New York with an average rating of  1518.  Mission’s team average is 1466.  I would never rule Mission out as they have a record of pulling it through in the last round. 

1701 Susarla, Rishith
1536 Pan, Kevin
1505 Meiyappan, Annapoorni
1124 Thirumalai, Atul

Weibel enters in fifth place with a 1388 average. My hope is that Weibel has learned from their rival two miles away and will finish the last rounds with wins as our girls did at the All-Girls Nationals earlier this month.  Translation--I need to toughen up my boys.  ;-) It is h^&% having a group of great chess players that are nice kids with wonderful parents. ;-)  If they play the last rounds as well as they will the first rounds,  I am sure Weibel has a shot at the title in this division.

1745 Wu, Oliver
1294 Wang, Vincent X
1286 Law, Louis
1227 Mistry, Eshaan

The perennial winners of this division have been from New York with two private schools that emphasize chess leading the pack, Dalton and Hunter.  They are in second and third place.  I would not rule either one out as they have amazing depth.

Northern California has an amazing group of individual players in the K-3 section.  Balaji Daggupati is presently top seed with a 1935 rating.  Other players from our State to watch are Milind Maiti 1814,  Callaghan McCarty-Snead 1796,  Andrew Peng, 1764, Oliver Wu 1745 and Rishith Susarla 1701.

Only Mission San Jose has a team entered in the K-1 Championship division.  Their team average of 863 could place them in the top 5.

1209 Wong, Allyson
1117 Lingannagari, Arnav Reddy
 629 Jay, Shreyas
 497 Arutla, Siddharth

The leading team in this section, New York’s PS 22,  has an average of 1208 for its top four players, but has eight others that can fill in.  Once again, keep your eyes on Hunter and Dalton both with team averages over 1000. Both teams have loads of extra players that could replace one or more of their top four.  Dalton will field 15 players.  Hunter has 10 competitors in this section. Only the top four scores will count in the Team competition.

If you are interest in following how things are shaping up for the NorCal teams and individual players, the pairings and results will be found starting Friday, May 9, at

Chess is Forever!

PS: Breaking news: 

Cupertino’s Vignesh Panchanatham (2317) wins the K-9 Championship division of the Junior High School Nationals.  Hopkins Junior High School places second in the team competition in the K-8 Championship Division.


Alan M. Kirshner, Ph.D.
CalNorth Youth Chess Tournaments

“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.”  David Hwang, Corte Madera


Monday, April 14, 2014



            This weekend (April 11-13, 2014) ten girls from Weibel attended the All-Girls Nationals in outskirts of Chicago.  You couldn’t ask for a worse location for a National event—in a place where nothing existed but a few hotels.  You couldn’t ask for a better outcome for the Weibel players.

            Due to high hotel prices and a lack of available space in downtown Chicago, this year’s All-Girls Nationals took place in Northbrook.  The organizers of the tournament ran a very successful event despite the limitations they faced in a second rate location with nearly nothing within walking distance from the hotel.

            For the second straight year the Weibel girls took a first in the Under 12 division.  This was accomplished even before the last round started.  Our girls proved unquestionably that they were the best in the country in the Under 12 category.  Our Team finished with 14.5 points compared to the second place team from Florida with 9.5 points and the third place team with 8 points. Weibel has now won four National girls titles. 

In the individual competition this year, four of the Weibel girls brought home trophies.  I would claim a fifth trophy going to Weibel due to the fact that one of our girls, Aria Lakhmani, moved to Warm Springs Elementary School last year even though she continues her chess at Weibel.  Obviously, her points could not count for Weibel.  I might note that no matter how many people you have on your team only the top three players scores count. The organizers awarded 15 trophies in each section.  In the Under 12 section there were 74 entries.  This years Championships were the largest to date with 322 players. Last year the event drew 238 competitors. 

            All our girls did wonderfully.  They are wonder girls.   Only one of our ten girls failed to obtain three points out of six. The youngest of our wonder girls, and the only girl from Weibel to compete in the All-Girls National, Prisha Jain in a non-under 12 section, tied for fifth in the Under 8 section.  The highlight of her day was defeating the only player attending from Mission San Jose Elementary School.  I am not sure why MSJE failed to have more players at this event as two of their girls are ranked very high in the country.  Aside:  Despite this continued interschool competition we all cheered for the California Girls.  I even gave small California flags to the Weibel girls and those from other Northern California schools.  Sadly I ran out of flags and could not provide for every California girl.

            The wonder girls from Weibel were:
Serafina Show, Weibel student school president  and number one Wunder Kind, went undefeated.  She drew two and won four.  Her two draws were against the two highest ranked players.  In the last round she fought hard for the National title and a trip to the World’s.  Her draw placed her in a tie for second place.

Enya Mistry, with five wins and one lose, also tied for second. She had, perhaps, the best tournament of her life.  Enya came in ranked 24th in the competition.

Raisah Khan went 4.5-1.5 and tied for eighth.  Raisah defeated a 1731 rated player in her way to winning a trophy.  Raisah came into the completion ranked 29th..

Shivangi Gupta had a great day as well.  If she had won her last round she would have tied for second rather than 10th.   Shivangi’s rating was 1308 and that of her last round opponent, 1711.  Shivangi ranked 19th in the beginning of the competition.

Aria Lakhmani, from Warm Springs and former Weibel student, attended Weibel Chess again this year even though she moved out of our attendance area last year.  She also tied for 10th.   Aria entered the Championships ranked number 20.

Sashrika Pandy, Amir Rafi, Ambika Tiwari and Anvi  Surapaneni finished the weekend close to the rankings they entered with.

Above I have sung the praises to second grade student, Prisha Jain, who entered ranked number 20 and fished tied for sixth.

I would like to thank all the parents who accompanied their daughters to the Championships.  They did a beautiful job inspiring all the girls to do well.  I mean all the girls, not just their own daughters.  When I get the photos up online shortly (I hope) at, you will see one mother going to each girl
sharing her energy for their win.

Obviously, their chess instructors, both inside and outside Weibel, had a great deal to do with their success. 

Finally, I want to identify those that brought extra inspiration and lessons to the girls via Sunday training sessons:  Richard Shorman,  FIM Uyanga Byambaa, the Goodkind sisters—Barbara and Lauren, Joanna Liu and Elaine Veksler.  I am convinced that while the girls’ excellent training helped, the inspiration provided by those I named placed the finishing  touch to their victories.  We often see one person taking credit for the achievements of another, but in reality it takes a village within which a child lives to create their success.   So to those who helped our girls learn to finish a competition in style, my special thanks.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Oliver Wu, a Weibel third grader with a 1745 rating, just received news that he won ninth place nationally in the 2013 Junior Grand Prix sponsored by Chess Magnet School and the U.S. Chess Federation.  The points are based upon how well you do in USCF Junior Grand Prix designated events throughout the nation. Oliver has had a great year so far.  He won the most difficult scholastic chess tournament of the year to date—the Under 10 open section of the CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level--bringing home the unique Kirshner Cup. The same month, February,  Oliver became the 27th player in the 25 year history of Weibel Chess to obtain Hall of Fame status.  There are a number of criteria to receive that honor.  You can view the vigorous requirements and the other honorees listed from the link at  Oliver did it by obtaining a 1600 rating.  He has made an amazing jump to 1745 in just a month and a half.  Oliver not only received a certificate for his accomplishment but also a membership in Chess Magnet School and in the Chess Lecture program.  As you know, all our Weibel Chess students get Chess Magnet School free and a select few are enrolled in Chess Lecture free as well.  Oliver has been watching the Chess Lecture tapes for many hours every week and keeping a log with reviews of each tape he views as part of his homework. KUDOS TO OLIVER! What is next for this boy wonder?—I am betting on a National title.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weibel vs. NorCal House of Chess match, Part I

On Saturday March 29, many members of the Weibel Elementary Varsity Chess team along with players going to the Girls' Nationals competed against select members of the powerful NorCal House of Chess club, National Championship winners in 5 age groups last month at the US Junior Chess Congress in Irvine,  in the 3rd Annual Weibel versus NorCal House of Chess team match.  The match took place in an adjacent building near the NorCal House of Chess club, as the NorCal House of Chess Amateur Team, winners of the Amateur West tournament back in February, was competing simultaneously in the club, in the playoffs against the winners from the other 3 regions.  23 players from each side played in a 2 game match.  This was a friendly rivalry, as Ted Castro, the head of the NorCal House of Chess, teaches at Weibel and many members of the Weibel team also are members of the NorCal House of Chess.   In addition to the competition, the other main purpose of the match was to prepare the players for playing with longer time controls (G/90) before the State and/or National competitions.

Weibel raced out to a 13.5-9.5 point lead after the first round, but NHC came storming back and took an almost insurmoutable 23-20 lead with 3 games to go. However, 3rd graders Louis Law and Oliver Wu got wins for Weibel, which left the top boards Anthony Zhou (1842) from Weibel and Ganesh Murugappan (1835) battling in the final game to see if Weibel could take the match into an Armageddon overtime match.  The position turned into a complicated one, with Ganesh having a couple of rooks and 2 extra pawns to Anthony's rook and 2 (strong) bishops, along with a 15 to 20 minute clock advantage.  Anthony fought valiantly, eschewing draw offers, but Ganesh managed to push his slight advantage into a win, with only 15 seconds left on his clock.  NHC wound up winning the match 24-22.  Every year has been a close match and this year was no different.  It was a really good day for the NorCal House of Chess, as an hour later, they wrapped up the US Amateur Team championship.

This was an almost free event, and I want to thank Ted for helping organize the event, as well as the numerous Weibel alumni volunteers who helped TD and go over the games - Experts Kevin Moy and Joanna Liu, along with former State Champions Daniel Ho and Steven Li.  I hope some of the current Weibel players will give back to the chess community after they depart from Weibel, just like the others mentioned have.  I also thank Dr. Alan Kirshner for donating his time, equipment and trophies, and to Joyce LaForteza and Tigran Darbinyan for their usual help in Weibel and NHC events.

Weibel will face NHC in a rematch on May 3, in a prelude to the Elementary School Nationals the following weekend.

USCF Results
CalNorth Youth Chess Photos