Greater Scholastic Tournaments in America

by Alejandro Ramirez
2/16/2017 – 2017 marks the 15th anniversary for the Kasparov Chess Foundation, and they are celebrating with record-breaking events around the U.S. This past weekend, despite sharing a busy schedule with the traditional Super Bowl, the Greater New York, Greater Chicago and Greater Baltimore Scholastic Chess tournaments brought in over 2000 players! Garry Kasparov himself made an appearance in New York.

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New York Greater Scholastic Photos by Vanessa Sun

Chicago Greater Scholastic Photos by Jorge Barrera, thanks to Renaissance Knights

This past weekend a celebration of scholastic chess happened in three major regions of America. The Kasparov Chess Foundation is celebrating their 15th year anniversay, and they are doing so by expanding their projects, which at the very forefront is the commitment to scholastic chess in all of the United States.

Record-breaking attendance was seen at the Greater New York, Greater Chicago and Greater Baltimore tournaments, even though it was Super Bowl weekend! Combined, well over 2000 K-12 players participated in these events, ranging from relative beginners to titled players.

The New York event alone attracted 1478 players!

The banners celebrating the 15 years of the Kasparov Chess Foundation
and welcoming players, parents, and coaches, to the playing hall

Garry Kasparov made an appearance, even making the first move in some of the top boards!

There were a variety of tournament sections, based on age and rating band. These were the final winners from the Championship (open) section in High School, Junior High, Elementary, Primary and K-1: The High School Championship was taken by the highest rated player, FM Ethan Li, who swept the field with a convincing 5.5/6. He was followed closely by Max Li and Dennis Li.

Place Name Rtng Team Grd St Tot
1 FM Ethan Li 2390 LIPAT 11 NY 5.5
2-3 Max Li 2083 EMONJS 09 NY 5
  Dennis Li 2158   09 CT 5
4-5 Henry Qi 2210 WTCLARK 10 NY 4.5
  Brian Arthur 2058 EMURR 12 NY 4.5
6-9 Daniel Regassa 1936 STUY 11 NY 4
  Nicholas Cardenas 2001 TRENHS 11 NJ 4
  Tristan Dalhouse 1836 EMURR 11 NY 4
  Diante Davis 2016 BCSM 11 NY 4
10-19 Mubassar Uddin 2013 NEST 12 NY 3.5

Meanwhile in the Junior High Championship there was again a clear rating favorite: FM Hans Niemann who took the event with another 5.5/6. He was followed very closely by three players!

FM Hans Niemann got the job done, but it was not easy

Place Name Rtng Team Grd St Tot
1 FM Hans Niemann 2402   08 CT 5.5
2-4 Alan Zhang 2120   07 NJ 5
  Brandon Wang 2108   07 NY 5
  Theo Kogan 1668 CGPS 07 NY 5
5-10 Wesley Wang 2257 JERIMS 07 NEW 4.5
  Justin Chen 2264 LAB-M 08 NY 4.5
  Ankit Raparthi 1900 COLLG 07 NY 4.5
  Marcus Sutton 1952 I318K 08 NY 4.5
  Katrina Wong 1868 I318K 08 NY 4.5
  James Lee 1922 SPEYR 07 NY 4.5

The Elementary Championship section was a hard fought battle, and it all came down to the duel between Nico Chasin against Vincent Tsay in the last round to determine the winner. It was Nico that emerged on top and won the event!

# Place Name Rtng Team Grd St Tot
1 1 Nico Chasin 2107 P41M 04 NY 6
2 2-8 Jason Lu 1905   05 NJ 5
3   Charles Hua 1869 NEST 05 NY 5
4   Vincent Tsay 2127 BUCDAY 06 NY 5
5   Davis Zong 2078 NEST 05 NY 5
6   Leonardo Liu 1753   06 NEW 5
7   William Tse 1641 P33M 04 NY 5
8   Eric Sheng Wu 1782 PRDAY 05 NJ 5
9 9-14 Eddy Tian 2111   04 NJ 4.5
10   Paris Prestia 1860 LLOYDE 05 NY 4.5

The only section that did not have a clear winner was, interestingly, the youngest section! In the K-1  we saw a big five-way tie for first place! Due to the tiebreak system, it was Oliver Boydell that got first:

Place Name Rtng Team Grd St Tot
1-5 Oliver Boydell 1427 UNIS 01 NY 5
  Will Luo 888   01 NJ 5
  Xan Meister 1420 COLLG 01 NY 5
  Ranbeer Arora 1017 COLLG 01 NY 5
  Avaan Chamadia 949 P11M 01 NY 5
6-9 Christoffer Lamtan 873 P11M 01 NY 4.5
  Jasper Ho 990 SPEYR 01 NY 4.5
  Kai Gabriel Tsuboyama 824 NEST 01 NY 4.5
  Stephanie Weinberg 760 DALTN 01 NY 4.5
10-18 Kabeer Arora 835 COLLG 01 NY 4

Vanessa Sun, chess player, journalist and enthusiast from New York brings us these beautiful impressions from the Greater New York tournament:

The players got to tell the former World Champion what they wanted to open with…

Some requested the normal 1.e4 or 1.d4...

But this girl made Kasparov open with 1.f4!

Coaches hard at work: grandmasters Irina Krush and Alex Lenderman

Tough battle sin the younger sections

Some players were clearly dressed for the occasion

Sweet feeling of victory

A proud scholastic chess team

Sophie Suzuki-Morris is one of the most talented female youngsters in the U.S.

Women's chess from the U.S. Chess Federation had a strong presence at the event

The photographer/fan, Vanessa Sun, with Garry Kasparov

The tournament in Chicago brought 432 players from the Chicago/Mid-West area. The tournament was organized in conjunction with Renaissance Knights.

2017 Greater Chicago Champions

Section Individual Champions Team Champions
Primary K-3 JV Siri Chennareddy - Decatur Classical, Chicago, IL Decatur Classical, Chicago, IL
Primary K-3 Varsity Ria Raj - Peterson, Naperville, IL Avery Coonley, Downer Groves, IL
Elementary K-6 JV Richard Li - Ivy Hall, Buffalo Grove, IL Whittier, Oak Park, IL
  Idden Tsai - Keller, Chicago, IL  
Junior High K-9 JV Daniel Chen - Kennedy, Naperville, IL Kinzie, Chicago, IL
Junior High K-9 Varsity Jay Neel - Whitney Young H.S. , Chicago, IL Whitney Young H.S., Chicago, IL
Junior High K-9 Varsity Cesar Escutia - Joliet Central H.S., Joliet, IL Joliet Central H.S., Joliet, IL
High School K-12 Varsity Deniz Gulecyuz - Whitney Young H.S., Chicago, IL Walter Payton H.S., Chicago, IL

Full concentration mode in Chicago

The tournament runs smoothly thanks to the very capable TDs!

Players from all over the Chicago region came to participate

Some brought their good luck charms!

Others relied on their pre-game chess-conniving

Lucky pens were not rare

"You played what!?" The winners were decided in dramatic games

Some players came from different states. In total, 134 schools from five different states were tallied in the Chicago area.

Sometimes the trophies were bigger than the players

Despite the difference in Baseball team allegiance, they emerged chess champions together!

Many schools came with their own uniform, and sometimes, coaches!

Beeming with pride

The Greater Baltimore Scholastic was the smallest of the three events, but still brought together more than 250 participants. The Kasparov Chess Foundation will continue with these Greater Scholastic events, including events in California and the All-Girls tournament later this year.



Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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John Goldner John Goldner 7/24/2017 03:22
The article by FM Melekhina is interesting, but I wonder. If there should be no distinction labeled as "women's chess" then why are there competitions open only to females, such as the US Women's Championship? And what about tournament prizes for "Top Woman". I believe the author collected such a prize in Las Vegas a few years ago, rather than refusing it for being pejorative. Just saying.
savantKing99 savantKing99 2/18/2017 10:54
Respect for Kasparov. What this man means for Chess is unbelievable. He put so much energy in chess even after his retirement. If you comparte him with that slime man kirsan iljoemzjinov. Just unbelievable that not Kasparov was elected for the FIDE presidental elections.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 2/17/2017 08:01
"Tough battle sin the younger sections"
The battle sin must be tough indeed.