Sunday, May 16, 2021

NORTH AMERICAN YOUTH CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP, AUGUST 16-21, 2021 CHICAGO

Most of you know that for many years Weibel Chess Girls have attended the All-Girls Nationals in Chicago. As you also know our girls won a title every year they attended. Those that attended saw a well-organized tournament. This same group, The Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation, is working together in Chicago with a number of other groups including FIDE (The International Chess Federation) to hold the North American Youth Chess Championships from August 16-21, 2021. I urge all of our Team players to give serious thought to attend. No matter how you fair, and some of you will fair well, you will have an opportunity to participate in an international event of the highest caliber.

The organizers recognize the challenges presented by COVID-19 and are implementing precautionary measures to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 among players and guest at the tournament. Details can be found on the event website.

https://www.naycc2021.com

NOTE: I still do not have any information about when and how Weibel Chess will reopen. Kwee Kuntjara, who heads the Weibel Chess Committee, will inform you as soon as they have some information.

Chess is Forever,
Alan
Alan Kirshner, Ph.D.
Weibel Chess Director Emeritus

Thursday, March 11, 2021

 

TO MEMBERS OF WEIBEL CHESS 2019-2020 AND OTHER POSSIBLY INTERESTED PARTIES:

I hope all of you are doing well.  I know it has a been a rough year for all of us.  I closed Weibel Chess on Friday, March 13th last year.  The Fremont schools closed a day later, I believe.

I do not doubt that fairly soon the schools will open with safety prodigals in place.   I suspect we will be able to reopen Weibel Chess sometime next Fall.  This will necessitate some changes in the program.

As most of you know I have established a Weibel Chess Committee under the leadership of Kwee Kuntjara for this was to be my last year, after 33 years running the program.  I did not want to turn Weibel Chess over to a for-profit Chess Company (even if some of them are non-profits).  There have been two parent run Fremont school chess programs in our area who did so years back and they have not only lost their school identity, but the number of students participating dropped dramatically.

The Weibel Chess Committee met a few times a fair number of months ago. The Chair of the Committee, Kwee Kuntjara, has set a Zoom meeting for tomorrow, Friday night, March 12, at 7:30 PM.  He and I would like to invite any of you who are interested or might be interested in being a member of the committee to attend or just to observe to please let me know ASAP.  WeibelChess@comcast.net and I will send you the Zoom connection.

For those of you who are looking forward to seeing Weibel Chess back in operation here is a summary of what changes I feel will have to occur due to the still lurking dangers of Covid 19 in the Fall:

Weibel Chess, when we reopen will have to use only the Multi-use Room.  The membership will be limited to between 30 and 45 students with the Club on Tuesday and the same number on the Team on Friday. The hours on the Friday Team meetings will be reduced.   These changes will create good social distancing, better air circulation and clean-up that might need to include disinfectants.

The number of members will be reduced by more than half of those we had.  Of course, without Sixth Grade we would have lost a few members in any case. There will be only a need for three instructors on each day instead of the seven we had for Club and six we had for Team in 2019-2020.  I will hope we can get back three instructors from last year.  Two are no longer in the area and most of those that are now work near full-time for the big Scholastic Chess companies.

The big question is how we will cut off membership.  Those parents who were members in previous years will have first shot until a set date and then Weibel Chess will be open to the Weibel community at large.  I believe that on the Friday Team we should reserve a few spaces for players new to Weibel who have competed in U.S. Chess Federation tournaments and have a rating.

Keep safe and if you have not yet been vaccinate as my wife and I have, I hope you will be able to obtain yours soon.


Saturday, August 8, 2020

ALAN KIRSHNER APPEARS ON ON MECHANICS INSTITUTE CHESS SHOW

 Mechanics' Chess Social, Zoom show hosted by the Mechanics Institutes' Chess Director, Abel Talamantez, and the Youth Outreach General Manager, Dr. Judit Sztaray interviewed me on their Friday show about Weibel Chess and some history of youth chess in Northern California. Considering the chess celebrates they had already interviewed here and across the nation I felt truly honored.


If you have a little less than an hour to waste you can see the full interview on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UymwpqM_Jso&t=1565s/

The Mechanics Institute's Chess Club, founded in San Francisco in 1854, is the oldest chess club in the United States.  



Tuesday, July 14, 2020

NO WEIBEL CHESS PROGRAM AT THIS TIME
Sadly, for the first time in 33 years we will not start a Weibel Chess program in September. The FUSD made the only decision they could at this time which is to keep the physical schools closed until there are no new cases in our county for seven days. They showed great human concern for the health of your children, the Weibel School staff and teachers and all of us connected to the schools. The death rate, due to better knowledge and equipment, has been lower than a few months ago. However, the information of the short and long range serious heath damage to those having active cases of COVID-19 along with a new increase in death rates must be of concern for all of us not just those like myself in the high risk categories.
Sadly, I had given serious thought to retiring from Weibel Chess at the end of this year with a transition team shadowing me to learn the process. I figured that no matter how healthy I was, being 83 at the end of this upcoming school year, Weibel Chess needed to have a plan to continue. Initially I thought I might have to turn it over to a chess company, however, this concerned me. Even though the three companies in this immediate area have great love and respect for our program, there is no way, I felt, they could run it separate from their chess business. While I had hoped all along a parent could come forth and follow in my footsteps, none arose until last Spring. Kwee Kuntjara, parent of Sarah and Sabrina, offered to run Weibel Chess with a chess committee totally separate from any chess business keeping it under auspices of the PTO. Officially, since the get go, Weibel Chess has functioned as a committee under the PTO—candidly, as a committee of one.
My hope had been that Kwee and the Weibel parent committee, he established, would shadow me through the transition year. The committee is up and running and they have had a few Zoom meetings. We still have time to prepare the Committee for the transition. While some changes in the physical operation are underway, I have been assured that the mission and goals of the Weibel Chess, I set up as an educator, will not change.
Since there are numerous chess business and clubs running online classes. I do not feel there needs to be a Weibel Chess online program. Besides, even though, I was a pioneer in teaching college course online in the late 1990’s, I do not believe that groups of more than four students can benefit from chess classes online. That is not to say that dedicated experienced chess students can’t benefit, but Weibel Chess has been a program with great instructors who know how to excite and motivated beginners and intermediate chess students in large numbers to enjoy the game, art and fun of playing chess.
If you want help in deciding which online program or chess tournament your child should participate in or how to contact an individual coach, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail.
I will miss all the wonderful children, parents, instructors, Weibel staff and faculty that I was looking forward to seeing again in September as well as a large new “crop” of chess players and parents.
STAY SAFE UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!
Chess is Forever,
Alan

Friday, December 13, 2019

THE LAST OF THE THREE FALL WEIBEL QUADS

The last of the three Fall 2019 chess quads ended yesterday, December 7. The Weibel Fall Chess Quads began in 1999. I created them to provide our Weibel chess students an opportunity to compete against players from other schools.
A few years back I created a Grand Prix which gave points to the players based on their success in each tournament. Those players who attended all three could compete for a much larger trophies than those provided to the winner(s) of each four person round-robin competition.
In Saturday’s competition, of the 90 who registered, 84 played in 21 tables of four. Over half of those entered had been in the October 5 and November 2 tournaments. When the Grand Prix points were totaled a tie occurred for the Championship and Devesh Mamidi from Shoreview Chess who was in Quad #1 tied with Jocelyn Cheung from Weibel, who was in Quad #13, with 145 points. Om Vatsyayan was first runner-up with 120 points and Alex Chai took home the second runner-up trophy. Interestingly, both Alex and Om were in Quad #12 this time around with Alex taking a first and Om a second. However, Om had gathered more points from the first two tournaments.
I would like to thank Success Chess School for their sponsorship. Thanks to the experience and amazing organizational abilities of former Weibel students with Club TD licenses, Krish Gangal, Yesun Lee, Amy Chan and Louis Law, their secondary school mates, Charlene Kwok and Chau-Ha Nghiem, the Weibel coach extraordinaire, Jason Cruz, and Prakash Narayan who has helped at the Quads for nearly 20 years, everything went off without a hitch. The Law family braved the weather and set-up to sell food. Lisa Chan, as always brought the bagels etc for the helpers, while Rob Chan set up the Wi Fi and a Tarp for the food sales in case of rain. The force was with us for it did not rain until the Quads ended. Lastly, my sincerest thanks goes to the parents, siblings and relatives of the players. Most were inside the playing hall due to the chilly overcast weather and the decibel level was near zero. Unreal!

Monday, November 18, 2019

WEIBEL CHESS TEAMS DOMINATE THE CALCHESS STATE SCHOLASTIC CHESS GRADE LEVEL CHAMPIONSHIPS




CalChess held the yearly Grade Level State Chess Championships.  I started this event as the Scholastic Chair of CalChess held at Weibel back in 1993.  We drew 219 players.  Since that time the tournament has doubled the participants and has added a few non-Championship sections that have brought the number of participants to over 500 this year.    CalChess began to put the tournament out to bid around 1999 and it was held for many years in Stockton.  A few years back it returned to the Bay Area and this year CalChess held the event at the Santa Clara Convention Center.  I realize for those that were there that it appeared to be a Bay Area Chess event because you hardly saw a CalChess sign anywhere, but let me assure this was a CalChess, the official affiliate of the U.S. Chess Federation, State Championship.

My policy in the last few years has been to designate the top four or five players, by their U.S. Chess Federation ratings, in each grade as those representing Weibel about three weeks before the States.  The competition is very strong and sending our least experienced players as well would simply make them fodder for other teams.

While the competition was very strong this year, as usual, it may have been watered down due to the Bay Area Chess organizer holding an open event (for adults and kids) at the same location and time.  He told me himself that it was likely a mistake.  Notably missing was our annual adversary, Mission San Jose Elementary School’s teams.  I deny the rumor that they were afraid that Weibel would out play them as we did last year winning the Championship in GRADE 4 (11.5-7), GRADE 5 (13-9.5) & GRADE 6 (12-9).   I do not know the reason their long time coach failed to have his teams present. I must admit my disappointment that we failed to have all of the best teams present. 

We only had one Kindergarten student on our Team classes this year and only a few in the Club.  I believe this may be due to all the Kindergarten classes being in the morning this year.  So I did not have any Kindergarten team as they count the points of the top three finishers in each grade for the team.  A team can have as many members as they want, but it would be very difficult to win with only one or two team members, although it does happen. 

I initially did not invite any first graders to compete as our First Grade team members are almost all beginners with provisional U.S.C.F. ratings.  This means they have very little tournament experience and many first grade players have a fair number of tournaments under their belt.  On Wednesday, before the Grade Level States took place on the weekend of November 16 and 17, 2019, I looked at the entries.  Doing some calculations and using my instincts from years of experience with tournaments, I concluded that Weibel players despite their inexperience could place in the top three in First Grade section.  I immediately sent out an e-mail to the parents of the First Grade players indicating I had changed my mind, and although extremely late, I was inviting their children to compete.  I kept my fingers crossed that three would respond positively.  I was thrilled when seven of our players entered the Championships. 

Grades K, 1, 2, 3 competed on Saturday only in five games each of which could technically go over an hour due to time controls on the their clocks that was game 30 minutes and delay 5 seconds for each player.  This translate each player had 30 minutes to complete their move with a touch more as the clock did not start for five seconds once the button was pressed to start their turn.

Our First Grade Team consisted of Jasper Chung, Yuva Herur, Adrika Kasyap
Abir Kulkarni, Shourya Navada, Pradyuan Rishi, Siddhant Vivek.  I am so proud, almost as proud as their parents, that this group of beginners, thanks to the training they are receiving from our chess coaches and assistant coach finished in first place.  Since the Weibel Office says it does not have space for our trophies anymore, the first place trophy will be kept, as will all of them, by the player who obtained the highest number of points to help us win.  In this grade, it was Adrika Kashyap.

Our Second Grade Team consisted of Deniz Korzmaz, Stanley Kwok and Ojas Parhar. They also took home the Championship title despite other teams having much higher rated players.

In Third Grade we did not fare as well and had to settle for second place.  Three of our players led the Team with three out of five wins all coming home with individual place awards: Ryan Chen, Matthew Miu and Lucas Immanuel Oh. Not far behind with 2.5 points each were Sara Kuntjara (she actually only played three out of the five rounds as she had a piano recital that afternoon) and Louis Le. 

Besides school teams, the State Championships have Club Teams that can put together players from other schools if they have been attending their programs.  Some of our players also competed for Shoreview Chess, NorCal House of Chess and Liu Chess.  I few years ago I registered a Weibel Charging Knights Club with the U.S. Chess Federation to allow players who attend our program to join our players who are not members of another Club to have a team to have companionship at the tournaments.  In third grade Elizur Fisher-Kirshner(Basis), Alexander Ng (Harvey Green), Victor Wei (Patterson) and Navidh Panchel (Warm Springs) who come to Weibel every Friday joined Sara, Louis and Mathew as the WCK Club Team. Their Club Team placed third out of eight team.  I am thrilled to report that my grandson Elizur had his best tournament in a while.  He took home the third place trophy, winning all but one game, behind the two players who tied as Champions by winning all five games.

We returned to our winning streak in Fourth Grade.  Grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 competed on both Saturday and Sunday.  They had three games each day with time controls of Game in 1 hour and delay 5 seconds.  This translates to each game possible going over two hours.

Our individual players did very well and like all our players, they get my Kudos.  Competing for Weibel were Vivaan Parhar, Soham Chatterjee, Drake Long and Lucas Chiang.  Ethan Zhao from Warm Springs joined them in the WCK Club competition.

Fifth Grade had some strong competition from a group that was listed as Bella Vista High School.  This was a bit confusing since fifth is not a high school grade, even though some flat earth believers might think so.  It turned out, after I inquired, that they had confused the Bella school  with an elementary school with a similar name.  Our players pulled out a victory obtaining 11 points to their 10.5.  The three players that made this possible were Mai-Ha Nghiem, Ekansh Samanta and Edward Miu.  Our back-up players, who did well, were Akarsh Khare and Om Herur.

Sixth Grade, I think I can honestly say, did not live up to expectations.  Our strongest group took second way behind Miller Elementary School.  I am not sure if they were over confident or just not focusing.  Their wall cha, I put up for them to record their results, was a mess of joking around scribbling.  The group consisted of Nikko Le, whose rating of 1872 put him on top of the list of competitors.  Ryan Tiong’s 1806 placed him fifth on entering the event.  Shruti Nath entered in 11th place. Reyansh Gangal and Mihika Deshpande were our back-up players.  

I was excited that our Assistant Coaches, those dedicated and former Weibel students, played for Horner, but almost to a person, wore their Weibel Ass’t Coaches jackets.  In Grade Seven Horner took third behind Fallon Middle School and Hopkins.   Vincent Yang, from Horner, with an 1826 rating, did not enter and sadly our best female player ever moved to the Hopkins District—Female FIDE Master, Yesun Lee (1897).  Yesun did join our WCK Club Team as in her heart she was and always will be a Weibel aficionado. However, even if she had been on our Horner Team and not Hopkins it only meant that we would have placed second instead of Hopkins.  Fallon Middle School has been in the last few years a shining edition to the competition in Northern California due to a truly dedicated coach and a tremendous amount of parental support. I would say that their parental support rivals the wonderful encouragement our parents provide.  I was almost in tears when I heard the near deafening cheers our parents provided our teams.  The players on the Grade 7 Team were Kevin Arakkal, Charlene Kwok, Reynansh Samanta and Chau-Ha Nghiem.

Horner Junior High School, which I guess will become Horner Middle School when Weibel Sixth grade is eliminated next year and we become a K-5 school, won the Championship behind a typical group of former Weibel animated girls. Prisha Jain, Rachael Tiong and Isha Varada.  Dharshan Vetrivelan, our highest rated player at 1680 was having a bad day and dropped out after round four.  Fallon came close in second place only one point behind and also having a female as their top scorer.

So we had an exhausting, hectic, exciting and successful weekend.  I could not have survived it in my ancient years if I did not have the help of two of my most supportive coaches.  Jason Cruz, not only brought the sign, banner and other equipment we needed in the parents room, he spent two days going over our players’ games.  Side Note:  Jason even made sure to get to the Convention Center on time with the materials on Sunday driving for a short while on a flat tire.  Bless his soul!  Grand Master Enrico Sevillano came on Sunday to also analyze players games and share with them his knowledge of chess that made him a Grand Master as well as an individual who continues to win prestigious chess tournaments.  He even stayed around after the awards ceremonies to help pack up our equipment. 

My list of thanks extends to the students and their parents who spent one or two weekend days cramped in a stuffy Convention center and perhaps got caught in the crowd of sport fans heading to Levi Stadium on Sunday.  My total appreciation to all.  My special thanks is directed to Lillian Wang who kept taps of the results, marked the score charts on the wall and most of all help me crawl on stage taking my camera and take photos so I could join our players in the Team pictures. 

What a wonderful group of players, parents and coaches.  Thank you again!


WEIBEL CHESS TEAMS DOMINATE CALCHESS GRADE LEVEL CHAMPIONSHIPS

WOW! One of the best chess championships ever for Weibel. CalChess held the State Grade Level Championships at the Santa Clara Convention Center this weekend, November 16 & 17, 2019. We had teams in Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Horner Junior High School had teams in Grades 7, 8. There were nearly 500 players competing on Saturday and Sunday.
Weibel Chess Teams won the Championships in Grades, 1, 2, 4 & 5. We took second in Grades 3 & 6. Horner players won the Grade 8 Championships and took third in Grade 7.
Our players, for the most part, seemed to have a lot of fun.
I will write a full report and present my thanks and kudos to those who made it possible as soon as I get some sleep. I would at this time, though, present my gratitude to the parents of our First Grade students. To attend this event I select the top four students in each grade to invite. I initially did not select any first grade students as they were all new with only one or two small events under their belts. On Wednesday of this week I analyzed the entry list and decided we had a great chance of getting a team trophy in the top three places. I wrote to the parents of most of the first grade students and asked if any could attend despite my late notice. Six parents took up my call. I think they were more excited than I was when their children won first place. The top three finishing players have their points count for the results.