Greater California 2019

“Greater and Greater” by Jerry Yee

The summer of 2019 showcased The Kasparov Foundation’s continuing series of annual popular tournaments in the greater areas of New York, Chicago, Mid-Atlantic and California. These annual events only represent part of the foundation’s story. The Kasparov Foundation’s primary focus throughout the year is maintaining chess excellence with our elite junior players through world class training workshops and camps. The foundation’s involvement in that process is one of the reasons the younger players of the U.S. in recent years have risen to the top of the world rankings.

The 5th Annual Greater California Scholastic Chess Championships took place over the weekend of August 10-11th in beautiful and sunny Southern California. The venue was Maple Park Community Center in the city of Glendale. Since August of 2015, Maple Park has been the venue of the most prestigious scholastic event of the summer in Los Angeles. The organizers of the event are friendly local rivals Beyond Chess and American Chess Academy (ACA). The two long time, well renowned chess training organizations forged a unique and rare partnership 5 years ago. Not very typical for rivals to do these days. That was when the idea of adding California to the Kasparov Foundation’s “Greater” series came into fruition.


ACA President IM Armen Ambartsoumian and Beyond Chess owner IM Sarah Deng (pictured above) both felt it was important to have a prestigious annual summer event in Southern California that would fill an obvious void at the time for quality competitive events in a very populated area of the country. The idea continues to be a success. A solid turnout of 202 young players participated this year in an event that awarded trophies and a $2000 cash prize fund.

There were 59 players in the largest section, the JV K-3 Under 600 category, showing that interest in chess is strong among our youngest players. Winners in each section were: Pranav Kumarsubha in the K-12 Open, Armen Botoyan in the K-12 Under 1500, Aakash Ahuja in the K-8 Under 1200, Richard Zhou in the JV K-6 Under 900 and Jayden Fung in the JV K-3 Under 600.

“I used to know them when they were this tall” Armen Ambartsoumian with some of the winners

Not many things can top the excitement of a competitive scholastic chess tournament in the middle of summer. Garry Kasparov making a future guest appearance in Southern California would be one way to top it. If that happens, the dream of many young local players meeting one of the greatest players ever to play the game would come true. The collaborative efforts of the past 5 years by the Kasparov Foundation, Beyond Chess, and American Chess Academy would be the very reason for that dream coming true.

Young Stars Global

Following the incredible success of the Young Stars program in America, a collaboration between the Saint Louis Chess Club and the Kasparov Chess Foundation, the Young Stars program has now gone global! Prodigies like Kayden Troff, Sam Sevian and Jeffery Xiong have been elevated to the rank of grandmaster, and in the case of Jeffery he is now grazing the 2700 mark.

The first session of the Young Stars Global program was held in Zagreb, Croatia from June 28 to July 1st. The camp was held in conjunction with the 2019 Grand Chess Tour, so the participants had a chance to see the elite of the chess world play next to them as they hope to reach that level in the future.

Garry Kasparov at the opening of the 2019 Croatia Grand Chess Tour, one of the highest rated round robin tournaments in the history of the game

The participants of the camp were:

IM Jonas Bjerre – Denmark
FM Jan Subelj – Slovenia – European u12 Champion
FM Oskar Oglaza – Poland
WGM Bibisara Assaubaeva – Kazakhstan
FM Maurizzi, Marc Andria – France
CM Robert Creanga – Romania
Simun Dumancic – Croatia

Students from the chess camp in Maribor, Slovenia organized by European Chess Academy in association with ECU and Kasparov Chess Foundation, visited the Grand Chess Tour in Zagreb to watch the tournament and meet their hero Garry Kasparov

Garry Kasparov, here assisted by FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky, keeps his passion and intensity for chess, as the campers found it very quickly

Game analysis is a key part of these camps, and the students were asked to present some of their more noteworthy ones for assessment

Bibisara Assaubayeva, from Kazakhstan, is one of the talents the whole world has their eyes on

Work was done over the board, with computers, and sometimes with pen and paper. Marc Andria Maurizzi here uses a bit of everything!

Jonas Bjerre was the camp’s highest rated player, but even he had trouble with the fascinating pawn endgames

The students lined up after tough days of chess

Pictures courtesy of Lennart Ootes.

Harlem Children’s Zone Workshop

A big part of the Kasparov Chess Foundation’s goals is to give back to the community. Our projects with chess in the schools, and specially our cooperation with the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) is one of the more rewarding ones. On June 19th KCF President and FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky conducted the annual workshop for chess coaches at HCZ. It is traditionally scheduled upon conclusion of the school year and before the start of all the HCZ summer camp programs.
The Harlem Children’s Zone, established in the 1990s, has been driven by the belief that the success of our children and the strength of the community go hand in hand. Their needs are inseparable and must be addressed together in order to break the cycle of generational poverty and give our kids a real shot at the American dream. They offer a multitude of programs and training systems to help kids in all aspects of education. We at KCF are delighted to be part of this visionary program.
As one of the most rewarding programs in the KCF aimed for kids in underprivileged communities, the HCZ workshop has been a resounding success since its inception in 2002. The founder of HCZ, Geoffery Canada, and the HCZ Chariman, Stanley Druckenmiller, approached Michael Khodarkovsky to get the program up and running in Harlem. In an annual basis, over 200 kids take a part of the chess workshops. We serve eight locations, including the Promise Academy Charter schools one and two.
A true telltale of the success of the program is in the returning alumni! In the above photo, Christina (next to Michael Khodarkovsky, with cap in hand) and Ruel (second on the right) are alumni of the program and now they are working as chess instructors, sharing their knowledge with the new generation of HCZ students. In the portrait above we see Geoffery Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone.
Our most sincere congratulations to Jabari McGreen (pictured above with KCF’s Curriculum Book) as the newly appointed director of the chess program at HCZ.
Hard at work discussing the curriculum and teaching methods
The curriculum, “Teaching Chess Step by Step”, is aimed at teachers school settings. Volume one is for teachers, focusing on how to teach chess lesson by lesson. Volume two focuses on exercises for kids, relevant to the lessons taught in volume one. Volume three is an accompanying book.
HCZ students have been able to participate at city, state and national championships. A new generation of students is coming in, and we also have a new generation of teachers beginning their chess work at HCZ.
Our curriculum can be found by clicking here.

Young Stars Chess Camp Summer 2019

The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and Saint Louis Chess Club have been running the very successful Young Stars program for the past six years. Team USA’s program has helped develop several American chess prodigies from across the country. including the likes of GM Kayden Troff, GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Team USA has been capped off with individualized training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself.

This Summer’s session at the Saint Louis Chess Club was a more intimate camp for the students, as Young Stars is now global with sessions in America and Europe. The participants were:

WIM Rochelle Wu – Youngest participant in the 2019 World Team Chess Championship, representing USA

IM Brandon Jacobson – Obtained IM last year and has crossed his rating requirement for GM, needing only two more norms

IM Andrew Hong – Silver Medalist at World Cadet Championships 2016

IM Christopher Yoo – Youngest player to defeat a 2700 grandmaster in tournament play at 12 years old

Abhimanyu “Abhi” Mishra – Record-holder for the youngest Master in US Chess history

The camp went on from June 14 to June 16th and was held in the boardroom of the Saint Louis Chess Club, the same room that hosts such tournaments as the Sinquefield Cup, Cairns Cup and US Chess Championships. The players spent time on every aspect of the game, and Garry Kasparov evaluated their progress from their last meeting in New York six months ago. Players also had a very strong training session, including special hand-picked by Kasparov and KCF President and FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky.

Left to Right: Andrew Hong, Rochelle Wu, Michael Khodarkovsky, Garry Kasparov, Brandon Jacobson, Abhi Mishra, Christopher Yoo

Andrew Hong and Christopher Yoo focused on a tough puzzle:

Black’s position is in a precarious situation, but he has counterplay against White’s own king and with his powerful passed pawn. Can you find the way to convert the advantage, but more importantly, can you also find black’s counterplay and the refutation to that? Solution at the end of the article!

Abhi Mishra and Brandon Jacobson

Some of the far-from-trivial studies given to our students!

The camp served as an excellent preparatory session for a couple of the students, as Brandon Jacobson will be participating in the strong Summer Classic C-group and the upcoming U.S. Junior  Championship (under 20), with an average rating well over 2500, and Rochelle Wu will be participating in the 2019 U.S. Junior Girls Championship (under 20) in just a couple of weeks. The other players will also have a full schedule, trying to finish up their quest for their titles and higher ratings.

Hard work almost immediately paid off! The players were also part of the Saturday Night Special rapid tournament at the Saint Louis Chess Club – a venue that always attracts grandmasters because of the strong prize funds and the number of GMs in the area! Brandon was able to split of first place with GM Dariusz Swiercz, USA’s #1 board in the 2019 World Team Championship, and that was because Abhi nicked Dariusz for a draw in round two!

Coincidentally, Saint Louis was having a big celebration the weekend of the camp! For the first time in the city’s history, the Saint Louis Blues hockey team was able to raise the Stanley Cup as their own! The parade was scheduled for Saturday, and the whole city dressed in blue.

Saint Louis has traditionally been a strong sports city

The Blues coming back with a big victory over the Boston Bruins, and celebrating in style

It’s unique that Garry Kasparov and the Stanley Cup champions were in one place at the same time!

The next Young Stars program session will be held in Zagreb, June 29 – July 1, in conjunction with the Croatia Grand Chess Tour. There will be participants from Europe and Asia. We will be bringing you all of the info from that session soon!

The solution:

1. Nf2+ exf2 2. Rh6+ Bh2 3. Qd1! Rc1!! 4. Qxc1 Qxh6 5. Qa1!! Qh8 6. Qb1 Qh4 7.
Nd3 Bg1 8. Nf4 Qe7 9. Ne2 Qh4 10. Qe4+ Qxe4 11. Ng3+ Kh2 12. Nxe4 +-

Only the main line is given, you are free to explore the refutation to other black tries!

 

Photos of the chess camp by Adithya Chandra, courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club

Photos of the parade and the Saint Louis Blues taken from the Official Facebook page found here.

Dispatch from the All Girls Nationals: “I am Here to Fight the Chess Wars”

Keyla entered her first Kasparov Chess Foundation All Girl’s Nationals ready to fight the chess wars, make friends, and improve her chess skills. As we walked into the opening ceremony, I saw both nervousness and excitement in her eyes. The energy from the rest of the girls was contagious and within seconds her nervousness seemed to subside.

To read the rest of the article, visit the US Chess Federation.

Check Out the KCF Q1 Newsletter to Find Out What We’re Doing Around the Globe

The Kasparov Chess Foundation has gone global.  Did you know that we’re now in 5 continents? Check out our latest newsletter to get the worldwide story. Click here.

 

Check Out Pics from All Girls Nationals

Nearly 400 young women from around the country gathered in Chicago on April 12 – 14, 2019 for the All Girls Nationals.  Check out pics from the event here.

Results Are in for the 2019 All Girls National Championships

Results are in at the 16th Annual Kasparov Chess Foundation All Girls Nationals. Winners include 9-year-old Alice Lee of Minnesota, who played way up to win the Under 18 section. Aria Hoesley took down the Under 16, Sophie Tien won the Under 14 and Iris Mou prevailed in the Under 12. Riya Kanury tied with Mary Elisabeth Tracy in the Under 10 and Alexandra Phung scored a perfect 6-0 in the Under 8. Find full final standings here.

KCF’s All Girls Championships Featured in New Video

Check out this inspiring video featuring some of the players from our 2018 All Girls Scholastic Championships.

You can see why they’re all winners!  Hope to see you at the 2019 All Girls Scholastic Championships, April 12 – 14, 2019 in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, in Chicago, IL.  For more information on the tournament, click here.

Greater New York Championships – Photo Gallery

Check out our latest pics from the 2019 Greater New York Scholastic Championships, held on Jan. 5 – 6 at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.  Click here to view.