Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Thanks to Nimita Mukherjee gathering photos from online of some of Weibel Chess' finest moments during the 2017-2018 we made quite a splash in the school yearbook. Nimita sent me these scans of the two pages allotted to Weibel Chess.
Reminder: Registration is open for next year. Simply go to http://www/ and click on the tab that says, Application 2018-2019.

Monday, May 28, 2018


The 2017-2018 Weibel Chess year ended on Friday, May 25th, with our Annual Awards Banquet.  A successful year end with successful ceremonies, albeit, not without a bit of noise.  As much as I try to keep the noise down, it is difficult to keep 250 plus parents, students and instructors involved for two and a half hours after they eat.

We started with the food followed by my bragging about the growth of our Club and Team players with their improvement in skills and the numerous trophies the team players amassed in 2017-2018.  Since the school does not have room to keep the trophies, I gave them to the top scorers in the respective team tournaments.  The Ferguson family then awarded the annual scholarship and plaque named after their son Scott.  A speeding bus killed him on a Boy Scout biking trip in 1992 after he left Weibel and was scheduled to attend Junior High School in the Fall. He was one of our top players in those early Weibel Chess years as well as a great athlete and a wonderful human being.  I told the audience that my first criteria for the award was that, like Scott, the recipient had to be a student I have never had to “discipline.” This meant that the choice came down to three students.  Ekansh Samanta, a third grade student, won the $150 scholarship to go to a chess camp or obtain chess materials based on the actual criteria of being the individual that best represents the values and mission of Weibel Chess. 

Then came the thank you cards and little gift to the people who volunteered this year to help our program to continue as well as our staff of amazing instructors who always raise the standards and skills of our players.  I provided Fahria Khan, who has made our Awards Banquet possible over the last few years, a special crystalline award thanking her for her service to Weibel Chess from 2009 to 2018.  I feared that, if Fahria gets elected to the Fremont School Board in November, she will not have the time to organize our banquet next year.  I determined it was time to provide her with an ever lasting thank you.

Awards followed: Two of our sixth graders obtained their Elite Weibel player jackets—Krish Gangal(1472) and Umesh Gopi (1453).  A few players had received their jackets earlier in the year.  Nikko Le (1802), a fourth-grade student who became a Weibel Elite Player in first grade, received a very large crystalline trophy.  The criteria for this Ultimate Weibel Player Award is to maintain a rating for three straight tournaments that should place him/her in the top 50 players on the U.S. Chess Federation’s Top 100 age group list.

The Most Valuable Player award, for the second straight year, went to fifth grade student Yesun Lee(1651).  Ryan Tiong (1370), a fourth-grade student, won the Rookie of the Year player.  The Most Improved trophy went to Ryan’s sixth grade sister, Rachel Tiong, who jumped from a rating of 730 to 1385 this year.  I understand from her coach, Demetrus Goins, that after he rates his weekly Shoreview Chess marathon tournament she will be well over 1400.

I provided five trophies in the Club and five in the Team for the players who gained the most points on our inhouse point sheet for the chess year.  In the Club, Stanley Kwok took first, Carston Hamali second, Ahana Vashith third, Kriti Kini fourth and Arman Sirjani fifth.  On the Team, Nikko Le was the overwhelming winner with Louis Le second, Vincent Yang third, Ryan Tiong fourth and Rachael Tiong fifth. Points are awarded for winning games in our inhouse tournaments, attending USCF tournaments, helping the instructors, doing well in their classes and for extra-credit homework.  As the students accumulate points, they receive titles from Weibel Pawn to Weibel’s Magnus Carlsen.  At the end of the year they obtain a certificate of their status.

Students then obtained their certificates, a participation trophy for surviving the year and a raffle ticket. The ceremonies ended with the raffle through which all students received a door prize that ranged from Chess clocks to chess key chains. 

I want to thank all of those volunteers who helped at the Awards Ceremonies under Fahria Khan’s leadership.  Many of whom were the same ones who helped during the chess year. I also wish to thank the Weibel School Principal, Annie Lee, and her office staff along with the custodians and the Weibel school teachers who allow us to use their classrooms.  Fahria made sure each of them received a card and a little gift from us.

I did my best to take a few minutes away from the microphone handing it over to my very able Assistant, Jenny Ly, to take a few photographs.  A few of these are inserted with this posting.  More photos are available for your viewing at:


Weibel Chess ended another year with its annual spectacular Awards Banquet on Friday, May 25, 2018. (Another posting on this shortly.) The end of the Weibel Chess year did not stop our players from their love of winning tournaments. A few attended the Bay Area Chess Best of the West Kids Championships and brought home the First Place Trophy for the combined divisions. The four highest scorers that brought us another 2018 success were Louis Le, Sabrina Kuntjara, Om Herur and Rohil Manwani. A number of other Weibel players are finishing up their competition in the open three day Best of the West Championships.

Thanks to Praveen Herur for the photograph.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I could not be happier.  Weibel players and teams did beautifully at this weekend’s (May 5-6, 2018) 13th Susan Polgar Foundation National Open for Girls and Boys.  Grandmaster Susan Polgar held the event in Livermore and Bay Area Chess handled the organization.  Weibel players and parents showed their new found mettle as well.

Sadly, this prestigious event with it championship sections and two divisions for less experienced chess players, a blitz tournament, a puzzle solving section and other worthwhile activities dropped in attendance this year.  Last year, the event drew 427 players and this year 347.  While it is always difficult to know what causes a drop-in attendance, I can say that this year,  though it was held on the same weekend last year, had many more people tell me of other activities in which they had to participate.  Surprisingly, we had 40 players this year and only 33 last year. To some extent that is the theme of the beginning of this article—the amazing excitement our players and parents have taken in entering chess tournaments this year. 
As most of you know, members of the Weibel Team must attend six tournaments of their choice before the State Championships.  Parents also commit to the State Championships.  The members of the Weibel Chess Club have no commitments.  I really feel great, in fact, proud that so many parents selected to attend the Polgar and a few others after the April 7-8, 2018 State Championships.

What has changed?  From what I can deduce, many of the parents and players have observed the growth in chess skills and the success from those players who have attended more competitions.  Going to the tournaments together this year’s parents and the players have developed a sense of team, a sense of community and a feeling of accomplishment.  We have also been very lucky to have two excellent chess store front programs nearby who have expanded the tournaments they hold each month.  Thank you, Demetrius—Shoreview Chess—and Ted—NorCal House of Chess.  Your programs along with our classroom teachers have enabled us to be successful.
There are also so many other chess tournaments in the Bay Area.  As most of you know Bay Area Chess holds events every weekend, yet this year, besides Shoreview Chess and NorCal House of Chess, groups like Berkeley Chess and Hanley’s Chess Academy are holding more events.  There are many other tournaments run by different programs, even right here in Fremont, Yes for Chess, U.S. Chess Mates (not sure they are still here), Success Chess School (yes, they are holding rated tournaments in places like Mountain View and Fremont) and Kidz to Pro.  Yup, all those programs are based in Fremont. We are a hot bed of chess, no question about it.  When I started the Weibel program in 1988 we were the only youth game in town.   I do my best to search out these tournaments, as some do not appear on the CalChess Clearinghouse, and post them at

As I mentioned in my Weibel Chess Facebook site, I was not able to go to the tournament on Sunday and unexpected circumstances drove me away on Saturday afternoon.  I did take photographs on Saturday before I left, and they are linked from   
Parents sent me the photographs inserted in this article. 

 Now, on to Weibel at the 13th Annual Susan Polgar Foundation National Open for Girls and Boys. As is my practice when Weibel has a large number of entrants, I only discuss those individuals who won trophies and the players whose points counted for the Team.  I feel guilty about not mentioning everyone, but perhaps they will strive harder to get their names mentioned in my next posting.  Meanwhile, I thank you all for your participation and I know if you continue doing so you will improve your skills and be among our top Team players in the future.  If not, then just remember that chess has increased your critical thinking ability and that, like chess, is forever.

As I noted earlier, the Championship sections, divided by age, were not the only chess competition at the tournament. Weibel had a number of players who selected to enter the K-4 Under 500 and K-8 Under 800 called the Reserve Sections.  They competed only on Saturday.

Both Weibel Teams in the Reserve section finished second. In the K-8 Under 800 section we finished second to Fallon Middle School of San Ramon.  Fallon’s chess program has not only been growing over the last few years, it is also becoming a chess powerhouse under the able direction of their coach Eric Lai, a former Bay Area scholastic player.  Fallon won the U14 Championship section as well.   Four players counted for the team score with Nathan Xu, Krishank Sardesai, Matthew Miu and Vivaan Pathar listed as our top performers.  However, Charlene Kwok and Anish Shankar actually had the exact number of points as Vivaan—two.

In the K-4 Under 500, Weibel was second behind our perennial rival, Mission San Jose.  Our top scorers were Krish Behl, who tied for second in the individual competition, Ojas Parhar, Kevin Xu and Nikita Jain. However, Stanley Kwok had the exact 2.5 points as Nikita.  Stanley and Ojas are both in Kindergarten and I have high hopes for them for next year. 

On to the individual competition in the Championship/Open part of the competition: 
In the Under 12 Boys Division, Vincent Yang and Dharshan Vetrivelan tied for first a half point behind the winners.  Umesh Gupta and Krish Gupta also obtained one of the 15 trophies in this section tying for 13th place,

In the Under 12 Girls Division can only be described as another amazing finish.  Yesun Lee, took home the championship title which also earned her an invitation to the Susan Polgar Foundation’s Girl’s Invitational at Webster University in St. Louis with her room and meal expenses fully covered.  Yesun, in Fifth Grade, is also on track to become the highest rated girl ever at Weibel.  She broke 1600 and this qualifies her for the Weibel Chess Hall of Fame.  Serafina Show, our highest ever rated girl while still at Weibel had a similar rating when in fifth grade.  Prisha Jain tied for second winning the second place trophy on tie-breaks. Prisha lost her only game to her teammate, Yesun. Rachael Tiong, new to the Team this year, placed 12th and Sabrina Kuntjara took home the 14th place trophy.

In the Under 10 Boys Division Ryan Tiong led our team tying for sixth place.

In the Under 10 Girls Division Mai-Ha Nghiem led our team tying for sixth place. Shruti Nath tied for eighth place along with Mahika Deshpande.

We did not have any players in the Under 8 Boys section. Our only girl in the Under 8 Girls Division, Anusha Mukhopadhyay, brought home an eighth place trophy.

And now for the team competition:  Weibel won all the Championship sections we had teams in—the Under12 Boys and Girls as well as the Under 10  Boys and Girls.  Vincent Yang, Dharshan Vetrivelan, Umesh Gopi and Krish Gangal were our four scorers in the Under 12 boys section.  Yesun Lee, Prisha Jain, Rachael Tiong and Sabrina Kuntjara brought us victory in the Under 12 girls.  We only had three boys in the Under 10, but that was enough to win first place for the team.  We had four girls on the Under 10 winning team, Mai-Ha Nghiem, Shruti Nath, Mihika Deshpande and Shriya Surana.

I end this article with a big shout out to all the players and parents who took their time from other activities last weekend to come to Livermore for the Susan Polgar Foundation National Open for Boys and Girls. 

Chess is Forever,

Photo of GM Susan Polgar awarding Yesun Lee her first place trophy and piece of luggage for winning the Under 12 championship title. Susan Polgar posted this photo that was likely taken by her husband, Paul Truong an excellent photographer, on her Facebook site.