Spokane Scholastic Chess

Spokane Area Scholastic Tournaments


    We will post flyers or event notice links for upcoming events as they are received.

  The current season is complete.  Local scholastic chess events will return during the new school year.

Unless posted below, the flyers for these events can be found on the Inland Chess Academy web page.  The link is at: http://www.inlandchess.org/


Scholastic Event Reports 2018-2019


This year’s edition of the high school team championship was held March 8 at Gonzaga Prep. Four teams took part in a round robin tournament, with Dishman Hills, the Community School, and G-Prep all finishing tied for first with 2-1 scores — Dishman beating Prep in the first round, Community School beating Dishman in the second, and Prep sweeping Community in the third round.

As a result of the three-way tie, total points were used to break the tie. Prep was tops with 12 points in 15 games, while Dishman took home the second place trophy with 10 points.

The scholastic cross table link will be posted here when event is rated:


Gonzaga Prep senior Charles Ruddell scored a perfect 4.0 to win the high school individual championship at tourney held at Shadle Park High School on January 11, 2019. Second place in the field of 24 was shared by seniors James Azarov and Bradley Sauve of Prep, sophomore Sam Sauder of Pride Prep, and Shadle senior Chase Smith, all of whom scored 3.0.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report18-19/GSLIndivid.html

Scholastic Event Reports 2017-2018


    Shadle Park won this year’s GSL Team Championship with a perfect 3.0 score in a four team round robin event.  The other teams — defending champion Dishman Hills, Ferris, and host school Gonzaga Prep all tied for second with 1-2 scores.  The tie set up a three team round robin blitz playoff that ended with each of the winners claiming a 3-2 victory!  Ferris came away with the second place trophy when all of excitement ended.  There were four perfect scores in the match play — board 1 David Peoples of Shadle, board 2 Abdul Hakkani of Shadle, board 4 Caleb Peterson of Prep, and board 5 Bradley Sauve of Prep. David earned the trophy for the outstanding individual performance.  The event was played February 9, 2018.

    The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report17-18/GSLTeam.html


     Shadle Park senior David Peoples was a perfect 4.0 in winning the GSL Individual Championship which was held at Rogers High School on January 12.  A total of 23 students representing Ferris, NC, Shadle, Gonzaga Prep, Mead, and Rogers high schools took part in the event.  Second place was a six way tie (3.0 each) between Alex Nguyen and Tai Chu of Ferris, Logan Faulkner of Mead, Caleb Peterson and Will Dow of Prep, and Grant Gilmore of Shadle.  Alex (another senior) won the second place trophy by winning out in the six person blitz play-off!  Bradley Sauve of Prep won the trophy for the biggest upset.

     The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report17-18/GSLChamp.html

  by Dr. James Stripes  

   Harvest Pawn Report

   A few surprises characterized the Harvest Pawn youth chess tournament at Saint George’s School on 21 October 2017. The rarely encountered checkmate with bishop and knight occurred twice in the games of the tournament winner. This checkmate is the most difficult of the so-called elementary checkmates. Some chess players, even masters, never become proficient, but also never have this lapse in training exposed. It is both difficult and rare.

    Eli Mounts found himself struggling to execute this checkmate in round three, and could not, so he settled for a draw. In the next round, Eli was defending against Varun Ambalavanan’s efforts to perform the checkmate. Varun centered his pieces, the crucial first step. Then, he drove Eli’s king to the edge of the board. Where Varun faltered was in the third stage, driving the king from the wrong corner–the corner colored opposite the bishop’s diagonals–to the corner where checkmate is possible.

    These two draws in a technically won, and lost, position were part of Eli’s completion of a tournament with no losses. He finished in first place in K-12 via tie-breaks over four others who all had 4.0 after five rounds. The others in this group were Kevin Nguyen, second overall; Arnav Wadikar and Ben Barrett, both taking home books as prizes; and Orrin Keener, first in seventh grade.

    Three sixth graders tied for sixth overall with 3.5. Varun took home the sixth grade trophy, while Isaac Fuchs and Aniketh Parlapalli took home books. Peter Uribe (3.0) won the trophy for first in high school. Lachlan Cunningham (2.0) was the top eighth grader. Tristen Santille won the biggest upset prize.

    In the K-5 section, there was another tie for first. Four players finished with 4.0. Mary Wang beat two of the others and had the strongest tie-breaks, so took home the first place trophy. Tom Albrecht placed second. Tyrel Tielborg, who handed Mary her only loss, won the fifth grade trophy. The third grade trophy went to Adrian Rooney, rounding out the top four.

    Mike Mitchell (3.5) was first in grade four. Eshan Reddy (3.0) and Yashas Hithalamane (2.0) both won top in their respective grades. Alex Koch won biggest upset.

    Libby (14.5) expected to win another team trophy, but fell by half a point to Hope Lutheran Home School (15.0). Host Saint George’s (11.0) and All Saints (10.5) were the next two teams. Seven teams fielded at least four players in an event that had 53 students from nineteen schools.

    The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report17-18/HarvestPawn.html


Scholastic Event Reports 2016-2017

 by Dr. James Stripes

Fool’s Mate Highlights Collective Strength

    The Fool’s Mate Youth Chess Tournament had eleven players sharing first place across four sections. The event was held April 1, 2017 at Hope Lutheran Church in Spokane Valley. Fifty-one youth players representing twenty-three schools competed across the four sections. As the 2016-2017 scholastic chess season’s end draws near, near equality on the top boards has become the year’s theme. Not only are most of the top players proving themselves capable of beating any of the others, this season has the largest number of players with ratings above 1400 in the past fifteen years.

    In the top section, four players came into the event with ratings above 1400, another was just below that mark. In addition, three new players without NWSRS ratings, but with FIDE and New Zealand ratings strengthened the competition. As the FIDE to USCF conversion formula put the newcomers all near 1500, this rating estimate was used for pairing purposes. Benjamin Nylund (number 13 in his age group in New Zealand) finished with 4.5 as did Varun Ambalavanan. They drew each other and beat their other opponents. Tie-breaks gave first place to Benjamin and second to Varun. Tied for third place with 4.0 each were Alex Herron and Mathew Wasson. Alex’s only loss was to Benjamin; Mathew’s loss was to Alex. First place in high school went to Alex, the highest rated player in the section. Mathew took home a scorebook as his prize. First place in sixth grade went to Kolby Uhlenkott, the top 3.0 on tie-breaks. Also with 3.0 was Ryan Lamb, who took home the trophy for first in middle school. Scoring 3.0, but going home without individual prizes were Kevin Nguyen, Arnav Wadikar, and Timothy Nylund. Gabrielle Lee won the biggest upset trophy.

   The road to greatness is strewn with obstacles. When these obstacles are strong opponents, everyone grows in strength. In the K-5 section, the top four rated players were all within a few points of 1100 NWSRS. Three of them tied for first. Ben Barrett won the first place trophy due to the strongest tie-breaks, even though he lost to Tom Albretch, who took home the second place trophy. Vishal Achanta beat Tom, and won first place in grade five. Vishal’s only loss was to Ben. Once again a perfect circle of three–each beating and losing to one of the others–reveals the complexity of tie-breaks. There were two players with 3.0 in that section. Cole Conway won the trophy for first in grade four. Matthew Hou could not compete for a grade level trophy as a second grader playing up, but took home a scorebook as his prize. Tyrel Tyborg won the upset trophy.

    Competition was so fierce in the twelve player K-3 section that 3.5 points put each of five players in a tie for first. Mary Wang, the only player without a loss, won the first place trophy. Second place went to Andy Bao. Two of the remaining three won their respective grade level trophies. Joshua Schoenberger was first in grade three and Alex Lucas was first in grade two. The remaining player in the five-way tie at the top, Rishi Achanta, took home a chess book. Shane Teilborg won the upset trophy.

    The six-player K-1 section was played as a round robin and produced the only clear first place winner. Owen Worsfold took home the trophy for first as a consequence of winning four of his five games. However, half of the six players tied for second with 3.0 each. Yashas Hithalamane, the only one to beat Owen, won first in kindergarten. Eshan Reddy, playing in his first tournament, won first place in first  grade. Henry Cartwright took home a special prize that was not a trophy, but that put a smile on his face.

    Anand Wadikar won all three games to finish atop the parents group. Three parents finished with a single loss each. The prize was a book awarded to the Wadikar family for the 6.0 combined score of parent and child. As Shankar Achanta and his top scoring child also finished with 6.0, they took home the latest issue of Northwest Chess.

    The Odyssey Program at Libby won the team competition with 13.0 combined top-four scores. The second place team trophy went to Priest River Home School (11.0), the family that recently moved to the area from New Zealand. Farwell (9.5), Cataldo (8.5), and Hope Lutheran Home School (8.5) rounded out the teams with four players.

by Dr. James Stripes

Bishop’s Sacrifice

The Bishop’s Sacrifice Youth Tournament was played at St. John Vianney School in Spokane Valley, Washington on March 18, 2017.  There were four youth sections and a parents competition.

            Alex Herron finished with a perfect 5.0 in the K-12 section.  Varun Ambalavanan (4.0) lost to Alex in round four, but won his other four games. He took the second place trophy.  Evan Craciun (4.0) won first in seventh grade. He finished behind Varun on tie-breaks largely because his loss came in round two, leading to slightly easier pairings. Cameron Simonds (3.5) was first in grade six; Christopher Bruceri (3.5) was the top eighth grader.  Aiden Oos-MacFadden won biggest upset with an astounding 648 point gap between his rating and that of one of his victims.

            Seven of the sixteen players in K-5 could have played in K-3, but opted for stiffer competition. Three players finished on top with 4.0 each; Benjamin Johnson drew with both of the other two, winning first place on tie-breaks.   Vishal Achanta and Rohan Dhillon also finished without a loss, both drawing Benjamin and one other player. Vishal was second on tie-breaks, and Rohan took home the trophy for top fourth grader.  Cole Knapton (3.5), who lost to Benjamin in the first round, won three straight before drawing Rohan in the last round. He took home a trophy for his efforts.   Matthew Hou (3.0) won the upset trophy for that section.

            Brax Proszek, playing in his first scholastic tournament, won first in the K-3 section with 4.5. Second place went to Elijah Tobin, the only 4.0, and Brax’s fifth round victim.  Grade level trophies went to Zihan Wang (3.5), second grade, and Rishi Achanta (3.5), third grade. Andy Bao (3.0) won the upset trophy. The K-3 section was the largest with twenty players.  Most were in grades two and three, but included one kindergartner.  He finished with an impressive 3.0.  Due to such stiff competition, Yashas Hithalamane should be well prepared for the state tournament six weeks from now.

            With only six players, the K-1 section was played as a round robin, rather than a Swiss as the other sections. Henry Cartwright (4.5) gave up a single draw to Nicholas Lucas, beating all the others. Nicholas won the kindergarten trophy. Ethan Lactot and Collin Craciun drew each other and both lost to Henry. As a consequence of his other draw being against a player finishing higher in the standings, Ethan won the first grade trophy.

            Team competition was hot with seven schools represented by four or more players each. Libby again won top honors with 14.0. All Saints School earned their first team trophy with a 13.0 second place finish. Shakar Achanta was perfect in the parents section. Combining his score with his highest scoring son gave them a solid 7.0, winning a chess book.

            FM Jim Maki saw more of these games than anyone because of devoting most of the day to game analysis; more than half of the sixty youth players brought their game scores to his table.  James Stripes also saw several dozen games as he provided game analysis when other duties did not interfere. Judges on the playing floor saw parts of many games.  One game judged checkmate by the players featured a position that could not be reached legally.  However, in accordance with a firm non-interference policy, the judges did not interrogate the players with the intent of discovering how a king on f4 could be checked both by a knight on h3 and a bishop on c1. That the king had no escape was clear to the players and judges present.

             Another game featured a deft bishop move by the player of the Black pieces.  After he moved his bishop to c6, there were threats towards White’s pawn on f3. Each player had a rook on the open e-file. White could have taken Black’s rook, but that would have allowed Bxf3+, when the Black bishop would be forking White’s queen and king. Black’s threats included an exchange off rooks on e1, which would have deflected White’s queen from its defense of f3.  The game ended with checkmate a few moves later.   Black’s coach was pleased to see how his student coordinated pieces in attack.

by Dr. James Stripes

March Madness

 Cataldo School prevailed over Libby to win the first place team trophy at the March Madness youth tournament held on March 4. Cataldo’s top four players scored 14.5 to Libby’s 13.5. Libby earned the second place team trophy. Host school, Saint George’s (9.5), finished in fourth, half a point behind the home school group from Hope Lutheran (10.0), the only other team to beat Libby in the 2016-2017 season. Shaw Middle School (7.5) was the only other team with four players. In addition to these five schools, nineteen other schools were represented by the 53 individuals who competed in three sections.

 GSL individual champion, Alex Herron (4.5), made a rare appearance at a Saturday K-12 scholastic event and won the trophy for first place in the top section. Mathew Wasson (3.5) held him to a draw in a round four battle that had a dramatic finish. With both players running low on time, yet still notating their game, Herron pressed with a bishop against a knight in an ending where each side had four pawns. Both contestants missed winning chances in the complex struggle. In the end, Herron ran out of time, but Wasson lacked sufficient material for checkmate. Wasson finished in fourth place, earning a medal.

 Varun Ambalavanan (4.0) won the trophy for second place in K-12. Connor Gosselin-Harris (4.0), who beat Wasson in round five, settled for a medal because Ambalavanan had stronger tie-breaks. Both players lost only to Herron. Arnav Wadikar (3.5) also took home a medal. Other trophy winners in K-12 were Orrin Keener (3.0), first in grade six; Mia Sponseller (2.5), first in seventh grade; Ryan Lamb (2.5), top eighth grader; and Drew Lindh, (2.0), first in high school. Also, Dylan Boyle won the trophy for biggest upset in the section. Noah Brody won a book as the highest 3.0 not earning a trophy or medal.

 Ben Barrett (50) had the only perfect score in the event, winning first place in K-5. Paul Michael Leaver (4.0) won the second place trophy in that section. Grade level trophies went to Cole Knapton (3.5), first in grade four; Per Sande (3.0), first in third; and Isaac Fuchs (3.0), first in fifth. Michael Monek’s 551 point upset won the trophy for biggest upset. A medal was awarded to Mike Mitchell, whose 432 point upset was the second biggest of the event. Connor Simonds (3.5) also won a medal. Adrian Rooney (3.0) had his choice of a book.

 In K-2, Matthew Hou won the first place trophy with 4.5. Zihan Wang (4.0) was second, prevailing over Joey Maestas (4.0) on tie-breaks. Maestas won first in second grade. Brendan Monek (3.0) was first place in kindergarten. Owen Worsfold (2.5) won the trophy for first in grade one. The biggest upset trophy in the section went to Ethan Lanctot (2.0). Brenton Leaver (3.5) won a medal and Reagan Heller (3.0) won a book.


   For the second time in four years, Dishman Hills has won the GSL team championship.  Dishman scored 2.5 from 3 to win a round robin tournament held at Gonzaga Prep on March 3, 2017.  Dishman edged Shadle 3-2 in the first round match that essentially decided the event.  Shadle finished second with a 2-1 score.  An undermanned Ferris team saw its top two players, Alex Nguyen and Tai Chu sweep all three of their games, but it was not enough. Ferris did draw its match with Dishman in the final round.  Nguyen won the trophy for top individual performance.

  The NWSRS cross table link will be posted here when the event is rated:

by Dr. James Stripes

Rook’s Ruckus

Chess is a mindsport where focus can beat experience, where older youth do not always have the advantage against younger. At the Rook’s Ruckus tournament 18 February 2017, three players elected to play up with older students. One second grader opted to play in K-4, instead of K-2. He won the top prize. Two others, a third and fourth grader, have been playing in the K-12 section most of the season. Both did well. The oldest student, a high school senior, lost only to the third grader and to the winner of the section, a fifth grader who also happened to be the highest rated player in the event.

Varun Ambalavanan, Spokane’s highest rated player active in scholastic events, suffered a single loss in each of two January tournaments. At the Rook’s Ruckus, he took care of business and finished with a perfect 5.0, which should push his NWSRS rating over 1500. Aniketh Parlapalli (4.0) finished second. These two won trophies for top in the section. First place in 5th grade went to Mathew Wasson (3.5), who prevailed over Robby Witmer (3.5) on tie-breaks after the two drew their round five game. Also with 3.5 was Connor Gosselin-Harris, the fourth grader. In places 6-12 were seven players who finished with 3.0. Arnav Wadikar placed sixth based on tie-breaks. Among this group, trophies were awarded to Drew Lindh, top high school player; Christopher Bruceri, top middle school; Malia Brown, first in sixth grade; and Seth Vandergriend, upset trophy.

Tie-breaks were vital in determining winners in the other two section. Both had three players with 4.0 at the top. In K-4, Adrian Rooney beat Cole Knapton, but lost to Oliver Ling. Oliver lost to Cole. With a perfect circle of wins and losses among the top three, mathematical measures of the relative strength of their other opponents determined the prizes (see link at bottom of article for an explanation of these measures). The tie-breaks put Adrian, the second grader, on top. Oliver took second place in the section, and Cole won the trophy for first place in second grade. Six players finished with 3.0, sharing places 4-9. Alex Marsh (3.0) won the upset trophy. Colton Thomas (3.0) was the top third grader.

In K-2, Creighton Condon beat the other two players who tied him with 4.0. Although the head-to-head tie-break usually fails to resolve three-way ties, it would have worked in this case for first, but not to distinguish second from third. Solkoff–strength of opposition–usually accounts for head-to-head, and did so in this case. Creighton took home the top trophy for the section. Matthew Hou (4.0) won second place, prevailing on tie-breaks over Tiernan Waggoner, who won the trophy for first in second grade. Alex Lucas (3.5) handed Creighton his only loss, but lost to Matthew. He won a trophy for second place in grade 2. Yashas Hithalamane (3.0) won first place in kindergarten because his tie-breaks were stronger than Hattie Condon, the other kindergartner with 3.0. A coach, who analyzed the game between Hattie and Matthew with the two players, observed two moments where the young girl missed a checkmate in two. The competition among the top seven players was very close. Most games could have gone either way.

Libby won first in the team competition with 16.5 scored by their top four. A second place team trophy went to Cataldo with 12.0 team score. There were 56 youth players representing 22 schools. Five schools had four or more participants.

Seven parents participated in the adult event. Anand Wadikar was perfect with 3.0, while Kyle Gosselin-Harris, Shakar Achanta, and Felicia Boyle each finished with 2.0. The Wadikar family took home a chess book because their combined parent-child score of 6.0 edged out the 5.5 earned by Kyle and his son.

For detailed information of Swiss Tournament tie-breaks, see James Stripes, “Swiss Tournament Tie-Breaks” (http://chessskill.blogspot.com/2016/02/swiss-tournament-tie-breaks.html).

 The NWSRS cross table link: (when rated)

by Dr. James Stripes

Groundhog’s Shadow

   Going into the last round of the Goundhog’s Shadow youth chess tournament, Benjamin Johnson held a half-point lead over the other three on the top two boards. Ben had given up a draw in the second round, while each of the other three had suffered a defeat. Elijah Tobin was paired against Colby Jessup. Both players had lost to Ben in previous rounds. Ben was paired against Tiernan Waggoner, whose only loss was to Elijah. Colby (4.0) and Tiernan (4.0) both won in the last round, putting them atop the combined section of K-2 and K-4. Colby won the trophy for first in K-4, and Tiernan won first in K-2. Ben (3.5) won second in K-4 and Elijah (3.0) took home the trophy for second in K-2.

   Others winning prizes in the K-4 section were Yashas Hithalamane (2.5), first in kindergarten; Jaxon Korb (3.0), first in first grade; Zihan Wang (3.0), first in second grade; Joshua Schoenberger (3.0), first in third grade; and Tyrel Teilborg, first in fourth grade. Joey Maestas (3.0) won the upset trophy. Yashas and his father also won the parent/child competition, taking home a new chess set.

   The K-2 and K-4 sections started the tournament as separate sections, but were combined in round three because the size of tournament would have led to strange pairings in the later rounds. The tournament had the largest number of preregistered participants of any Spokane area tournament so far in the 2016-2017 season, but 7-12 inches of snow that started falling on Friday and stopped only after most participants had arrived at the tournament site kept many away. While their children played chess, several parents spent part of the day getting their cars unstuck from the largely unplowed roads leading to the venue. Those without four-wheel drive vehicles were advised to stay home. Seventeen schools were represented by the 34 players who made it to the event.

   Orrin Keener, who warmed up for the chess tournament by clearing the snow from in front of the entrance won all his games to finish with a perfect 5.0 atop the K-12 section. Second place went to Christopher Bruceri (4.0). Also with 4.0, Vishal Achanta won first in fifth grade. Noah Brody (2.0) was first in grade six. The middle school trophy went to Alex Tunca (3.0) and the upset trophy was taken home by Robby Witmer (3.0).

   For the first time in 2016-2017, Libby had to settle for second place in the team competition as their top four scored 13.0. A trophy was awarded for second. A group of home school students affiliated with Hope Lutheran Home School combined for 13.5 and won the first place team trophy.

    The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report16-17/GroundhogsShadow.html

by Dr. James Stripes


     The sixteenth annual Winterfest youth chess tournament featured the broadest age range possible. The oldest participant was a high school senior returning to competition after a six year gap, and the youngest was a three-year-old trying his first event. There were 36 participants from nineteen schools.

     Three schools with four or more players battled for the two team trophies. Once again, Libby placed first with 15.0. Saint George’s School (14.0) took home the trophy for second place team.

       The K-12 section was grades 4+ with one second grader opting to play up. All participants scoring 3.0 or more took home hardware. Mathew Wasson (5.0) was first. Varun Ambalavanan (4.0) had stronger tie-breaks than Drew Lindh (4.0) and took home the second place trophy, while Drew won first in high school. Mia Sponseller (3.5) won first in middle school. With 3.0, Annie Alvarez was first in sixth grade, Cole Knapton was firsst in fourth, amd Liam Reeves was first in grade five. Oliver Ling (3.0) took home the prize for biggest upset.

     The K-3 section had separate prizes for K-1 and 2-3. In addition, due to an earned win over a second grader, Cyrus Bennetch won a trophy for top pre-schooler. Parket Watt was first in kindergarten. The two first graders finished first and second in K-1. Jaxon Korb (3.0) was first, and Clayton Ebat (2.5) was second. First in grade two went to Carter Miller. Colton Thomas (3.5) was first in grade 3. At the top of this section was Adrian Rooney, scoring his second perfect 5.0 in 2017. Second place was Colby Jessup (4.0). Per Sande won the upset prize.

   The NWSRS cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report16-17/DeerParkWinterfest.html


    Alex Herron repeated as the GSL Individual High School Champion at the annual event held at Rogers High School on January 20.  Alex, a sophomore now playing at Dishman Hills after spending his freshman year at Gonzaga Prep, edged top seed Braxton Casey in a time scramble during their final round encounter that saw Braxton resign with three seconds left, while Alex had only 15 seconds.  Second place was shared by Shadle Park junior Reese Duncan and Mead High School freshman Logan Faulkner, each of whom finished with 3.5 points.  The pair drew in their second round encounter.  Logan topped Reese in a blitz play-off game to take home the second place trophy.  The trophy for biggest upset went to Jose Mendez, a junior at Dishman Hills.  Jose had a nice event that included claiming the two largest upsets!

    A total of 26 players turned out for the event, including a nice showing from Ferris which served notice that it will be a contender at the team championship on March 3.  Defending champ Gonzaga Prep and former champions Shadle Park and Dishman Hills all look to make it a well-balanced contest.

    The NWSRS cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report16-17/GSLIndividual.html

   by Dr. James Stripes

Explosive Growth Evident

Youth chess in Spokane appears to be growing rapidly, judging by the turn-out at the Pilgrim’s Progress scholastic tournament at Saint George’s School, November 19. There were 83 students in grades K-8 representing 24 schools. The size of the event proved challenging to organizers who were set up for 64 players, and they rose to the challenge.

It was the largest event, aside from two state tournaments, since 2009. Youth tournaments typically drew 90 players in 2008-2009, but the largest youth tournament in the area in subsequent years had 77 participants. Most events in recent years have drawn in 40-50 players with an occasional event having as few as 30 or as many as 60.

The 22 player K-2 section had four kindergartners, the largest number of very young students in several years. Hattie Condon topped players in this grade with 2.5/5. Notably, all kindergarten players had earned points–the bottom two managed three and two draws, respectively. Hattie’s success included wins against one of the other kindergarten students and a second grader. The other K-2 section winners were Tiernan Waggoner (4.5 points), first overall; Creighton Condon (4.0), second place; Adrian Rooney (4.0), third place; Zihan Wang (3.5), first in grade 2; Clayton Ebat (3.0), first in grade 1; and Matthew Hou, upset prize.

There were 27 players in grades 3-4. One elected to play up in the K-12 section, leaving 26 players in K-4. Arnav Wadikar (4.5) took home the trophy for first place in the section. Three players were a half point behind. Cole Knapton (4.0) held Arnav to a draw and won the second place trophy on tiebreaks over Paul Michael Leaver, third place, and Ben Barrett, first in grade 3. Tom Albrecht had the strongest tie-breaks among the seven players who finished with 3.5, earning first in grade 4. Per Sande (3.5) won the upset medal, while the others with 3.5 all took home medals: Colby Jessup, Olivia Hilton, Mike Mitchell, Colton Thomas, and Zane Bergsma.

Varun Ambalavanan scored a perfect 5.0 to win top honors in the K-12, or championship section. there were 35 students in this section. Five players finished with 4.0: Connor Gosselin-Harris, second overall; Liam Reeves, third overall; Mia Sponseller, top seventh grader; Aniketh Parlapalli, top fifth grader; and Alexander Nicolazzo, who earned a chess book. Also taking home prizes in that section were Noah Kuhn (3.5), book; Eli Mounts (3.5), book; Quincy Hofer, top grade 8; Dylan Boyle, top grade 6; and Ira Morelli, upset medal.

The Odyssey Program at Libby won their second team trophy in two events with 16.5 points earned by their top four. Cataldo and Saint George’s shared honors for second place with 14.0 points.

   The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report16-17/PilgrimsProgress.html  

Scholastic Event Reports 2015-2016

March 26, 2016

by Dr. James Stripes

Dragon Slayer

Pioneer School completed a near perfect run at the Dragon Slayer youth tournament March 26. The school won the team trophy, as they had in every tournament except the Black Knights Joust in October. Saint George’s School, which won the team prize in October finished second,  two points behind Pioneer. The Oaks was half a point behind Saint George’s.

Varun Ambalavanan fished first in the upper section with 4.5 points. His draw with Cameron Simonds (3.5) was the last game to finish in round three as both players were under severe time pressure. First Varun misplayed a winning pawn ending, then Cameron missed his chance to use his queen to stop Varun’s last pawn. Second place in the section went to Patrick Kovis (4.0) from the Tri-Cities who defeated Cameron in the last round after losing to Varun in round four. Cameron won first in fifth grade. Ryan Waters also finished with 4.0 and took home the fourth grade trophy. His sole loss was to Patrick. Next in the standings was Megna Pream Dutta, the top seventh grader. Topping those with 3.0 was Connor Gosselin-Harris, who won a trophy. Also with 3.0 and winning trophies were Mia Sponseller, first in sixth grade; Gavin Consiglio, and Aniketh Parlapalli. Jaiden Nagra won biggest upset.

Arnav Wadikar took first in the K-3 section as the only 4.5. Second went to Ben Barrett (4.0). Four players finished with 3.5 and took home trophies. Rohan Dhillon was first in third grade. Ethan Shan was first in second grade. Cole Knapton was second on tie-breaks to Rohan, while Caetlyn Kovis finished second in second grade. First place in grade one went to the top 3.0, Elizabeth Arquette. Noah Lueck (3.0) was second in grade one. Connor Simonds (3.0) also took home a trophy as did biggest upset winner Mike Mitchell (3.0).

Anand Wadikar won the parents tournament again with a perfect 3.0 and with his son’s first in section finish, they easily won the family prize. They selected a book of chess puzzles.

Chess books were also awarded to four players for impressive checkmates. It was announced at the start of round one that the tournament director wanted to photograph checkmates that were notable and that a prize would be given to the most impressive. Connor Simonds’ checkmate with two pawns, supported by queen, rook and another pawn won first choice among the available books. Next was Noah Lueck’s third rank Arabian checkmate with a second rook on the second rank supporting. Cameron Simonds took a book for his two rook and two bishop checkmate. Arnav Wadikar earned the final book for a sixth rank Arabian mate with a bishop and pawn guarding escape squares.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report15-16/DragonSlayer.html

March 12, 2016

by Dr. James Stripes

March Madness

A trio of players dominated the upper elementary and middle school section at the March Madness youth chess tournament. The event was held at Saint George’s School on March 12. The trio of players were teammates or they might have been paired against one another before the final round. Varun Ambalavanan, Connor Gosselin-Harris, and Aniketh Parlapalli each accounted for one of the losses of every player who scored 3.0 in their section.

In the final round, Aniketh faced Varun, while Connor played the top player with one less point than the trio, another teammate. Varun won and finished first on tie-breaks over Connor, both finishing with perfect 5.0 scores. Connor earned a trophy for second place. Aniketh was the top fourth grader. Toby Kast, dispatched by Connor in the final round, finished as the top 3.0 and took home the trophy for top fifth grader. The top sixth grader, Mia Sponseller, also finished with 3.0 as did four others who went home without trophies.

Also receiving trophies in that section were Jack Curry (2.0) for biggest upset and Tysean Oliver (2.0) for first in seventh grade.

In the K-3 section, Arnav Wadikar and Ethan Shan drew their final round game after both beating all other opponents. They finished with 4.5 each. Arnav was first on tie-breaks. Ethan took home the second place trophy. Two others were close behind with 4.0. Rohan Dhillon won the trophy for first in third grade, while Evelyn Arquette, behind Rohan on tie-breaks, took home a chess book.

Others winning trophies in K-3 were Ben Barrett (3.0), first in second grade; Elizabeth Arquette (3.0), first in first grade; Alex Marsh (2.5), first in kindergarten; and Amelie Hilton (2.0) for biggest upset.

The top three players by rating and the only high school player elected to play a quad–a four player all-play-all–with a longer time control. Garrett Casey won all three games and took home two chess books for his efforts. Alex Herron was second, losing only to Garrett, and took home a chess book for second place.

Pioneer School’s 17.0 top four combined score topped Saint George’s School (14.5), The Oaks (11.0), and Roosevelt (8.5) for the team trophy.

Anand Wadikar was again perfect in the parents competition. His score added to son Arnav’s edged out the Gosselin-Harris family by half a point for the family prize. Having won a chess set in a prior tournament, they took home a book.

The NWSRS cross table link:  http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report15-16/MarchMadness.html

March 4, 2016

Gonzaga Prep Wins GSL Team Championship

        Gonzaga Prep swept this round robin event 3-0 to win the GSL Team Championship.  Dishman Hills finished 2-1 to take second place.  Shadle Park and the Community School also fielded teams in the event. 

        The two top individual performances were turned in by freshmen.  Prep’s Alex Herron was perfect on board one to win the trophy for best individual performance, while Shadle Park’s Cole Eberling was perfect on board three.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report15-16/GSLTeam.html

Rook’s Madness

by Dr. James Stripes

The Rook Madness youth tournament at Jewett House in Spokane attracted 43 elementary competitors from fourteen schools on February 20. Once again, Pioneer School ran away with the team prize as the school’s top four scored 18 points! In addition to the three elementary sections, two middle school students played a three game match with a longer time control. Garrett Casey prevailed over Logan Faulkner 2.5 – 0.5 in their match.

Varun Ambalavanan prevailed over all challengers in the K-6 section with a perfect 5.0. Second place went to Mathew Wasson, who lost to Varun in the last round and finished with 4.0/ Also finishing with 4.0 and taking home trophies for best in grade 4 and grade 5 were Aniketh Parlapalli and Kolby Uhlenkott. Mark Sorensen was the top sixth grader.

Another perfect score led Olivia Hilton to the top of the K-3 section. She was followed by Connor Gosselin-Harris (4.0) in second place and Ananya Parlapalli (3.5), the top third grader. First place in second grade was Ben Barrett with 3.0.

In K-1, Adrian Rooney took first with 4.5. Florence Cooper finished in second with 3.5. Also with 3.5 was the top kindergarten player, Jaxon Korb. First place in first grade went to Noah Lueck with 3.0. Amelie Hilton’s 546 point upset was the largest of the tournament and she went home with a trophy for that accomplishment.

In the parent’s competition, Anand Wadikar finished with another perfect 3.0. However the prize goes to the top parent-child team. Jeff Hilton (2.0) and his daughter, Olivia (5.0), won that competition over the Gosselin-Harris family (6.0) and the Wadikar team (5.0).

Groundhog’s Shadow

by Dr. James Stripes

Four perfect 5.0 scores topped the four sections of the 51 player Groundhog’s Shadow youth chess tournament on February 6. Garrett Casey won the open section that included every player in grade five and above, as well as a third grader playing up. Second place in that section went to Logan Faulkner (4.0). With 3.0 each, Annie Alvarez won the fifth grade trophy, Alexander Nicolazzo won the sixth grade trophy, and A.J. Stenbeck won the sixth grade trophy. Troy Sheikh, also with 3.0, won the trophy for biggest upset.

The second section consisted of fourth graders and one second grader playing up. Kara Chiang finished first with 5.0. In second place was Aniketh Parlapalli (4.0). Isaac Pooler (4.0), third overall, took home the grade level trophy. Liam Reeves won biggest upset.

Olivia Hilton had the perfect 5.0 atop the large K-3 section, while Ananya Parlapalli (4.0) won second place. Rohan Dhillon (4.0) took home the trophy for third grade. Ben Barrett (3.0) won the second grade trophy. The biggest upset prize went to Benjamin Johnson. The Hilton family also won the parent-child team award because Olivia’s 5.0 added to father Jeff’s 1.5 edged out  Arnav and Anand Wadikar with 3.0 each.

Eight first graders competed in the K-1 section. Noah Lueck won first with 5.0. Adrian Rooney was second with 3.5. Florence Cooper took home the grade level trophy. The biggest upset prize went to Tiernan Waggoner.

Pioneer was the top team with 16 points from the combined scores of their top four players. Saint George’s had only three players present, but managed second in the team standings with 12.5. The Oaks, Cataldo, and Roosevelt also had strong team performances.

January 15, 2016

Herron Wins GSL Individual Championship

       Gonzaga Prep freshman Alex Herron edged top seed Alexander Nguyen, a Ferris sophomore, in their final round encounter to win the GSL Individual Championship with a perfect 5.0 score.  Herron dropped a bishop in the early middle game when Nguyen defended against the tactics, but was later able to force his connected e and d pawns to the seventh rank to claim the come from behind victory.  Nguyen’s score of four points tied him for second with Prep senior Daniel Bassler, Prep sophomore Alexander Carlson, and Community School sophomore David Peoples.  The four played a two round blitz play-off to win the second place trophy, with Carlson stopping Bassler and Nguyen en route to taking the prize home.  Shadle Park junior Reese Duncan secured the prize for the largest upset.

        There were 25 players competing in this year’s event at Rogers High School on January 15.  Transportation difficulties kept seven Lakeside players from attending, but they can be expected to augment the ranks for the GSL team championship on March 4.

        The NWSRS cross table link:  http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report15-16/GSLIndiv.html

by Dr. James Stripes

Hot Competition at the Frosty Pawn

  Garrett Casey’s perfect 5.0 came at the expense of half of the players in the top ten in the 23-player upper section of the Frosty Pawn youth chess tournament 9 January 2016. He beat Logan Faulkner (4.0) in the fourth round. Faulkner captured second place overall because his defeat of the other two with 4.0 in earlier rounds gave him better tie-breaks. Toby Kast (4.0) took home the trophy for top fifth grader, while Mathew Wasson (4.0) won the fourth grade trophy. The top sixth grader, Mia Sponseller, was one of eight players sharing 5th through 12th place with 3.0. Also with 3.0 were the top eighth grader, Adrian Roberts, and Malia Brown, who won the biggest upset. Nicholas Dawson, the top seventh grader, finished with 2.0. Connor Gosselin-Harris, a third grader, finished with 3.0, but his option to play up deprived him of a trophy because he did not finish in the top two.

  The K-3 section proved once again that there is considerable equality among most of Spokane’s top elementary players. After three rounds, the Arquette sisters stood atop the standings with 3.0. Evelyn was paired in round four with Ben Barrett who had 2.5, while Elizabeth faced Olivia Hilton, also at 2.5. Ben and Olivia had drawn in round two. Both Ben and Olivia won their games against the Arquette sisters. In the last round, Ben played Elizabeth and Olivia battled Evelyn. Again, Ben and Olivia won. Hence, Ben and Olivia finished tied atop the standings with 4.5 each. Moreover, each had faced the same opponents in three of the five rounds. Both had defeated a player who finished with 2.0 as well. The crucial difference became Ben’s round three win over Rohan Dhillon (4.0), while Olivia’s other win was against a player who finished with 1.5. Ben won first place overall; Olivia placed second. Rohan was third overall and took home the trophy for top third grader. Also with 4.0 was the top second grader, Arnav Wadikar, his only loss was to Evelyn (3.0). Elizabeth (3.0) was the top first grader. Aaron Pooler (3.0) won the prize for biggets upset.

   In the team competition, Pioneer’s 15.5 top-four combined score overwhelmed the competition. Host school First Presbyterian was second with 12.0. Anand Wadikar was again perfect in the Parent’s tournament. Combining his score with his son’s 4.0 edged out the Hiltons by 0.5 point for the parent-child team prize.

Holiday Scholastic

   Ten days prior to the Frosty Pawn, Inland Chess Academy hosted the Holiday Scholastic on 30 December 2015 after a two-day chess camp. Five players finished atop the Holiday Scholastic with 4.0. In tie-break order, they were Cameron Simonds, Kara Chiang, Aniketh Parlapalli, Arnav Wadikar, and Kolby Uhlenkott. In their individual games, Cameron beat Kara, but lost to Aniketh. Aniketh’s sole loss was to Jackson Florence (3.5) who also drew Noah Kuhn. Noah lost only to Aniketh. Arnav lost only to Connor Simonds (3.0) who fell to Kolby and Noah. Kolby’s only loss was to Kara. From these results, it becomes very hard to predict results of any match-ups between any of the top eight players.

   Trophies were awarded as follows: First place, Cameron; second place, Kara; top fourth grader, Aniketh; top second grader, Arnav; top fifth grader, Kolby. Jackson won the biggest upset. Noah was to top player under 700 and Connor was second u/700. The top third grader was Ananya Parlapalli (3.0). Lachlan Cunningham (2.5) won the prize for top sixth grader; Cooper Florence (2.0) was first in first grade; and Brennan Cunningham (1.5) was the top kindergarten player.

  The team competition took the top three scores from each school. Pioneer (10.0) prevailed over The Oaks (8.5) and Cataldo (7.5). Other teams had fewer than three players.

King’s Clash (December 5)

by Dr. James Stripes

Pioneer School Prevails Again!

Plenty of Drama

Youth tournaments diverge slightly from the norm for rated chess competition. Not all young players notate their games, although this practice is required in USCF events. Games also start without clocks. Forty minutes into a one hour round, clocks are placed on the games still in progress with each player allotted ten minutes to complete the game.

In the last game to finish in round three, both players had been notating the game until each were under three minutes remaining. Kyler Doud was ahead a rook and bishop for a pawn and threatened checkmate in one, but Kara Chiang kept harrassing his king with checks. Kyler’s king walked from one corner to the other to escape checks. Finally, unable to check the king further, Kara defended her vital b7 pawn where Kyler threatened checkmate. The exchange of queen and rook for queen and pawn did not appeal to Kyler, so he opted for another tack. A few moves later, Kara pointed out that the position had been repeated three times and stuck out her hand claiming a draw. Kyler could have pointed out that neither scoresheet could prove the repetition, but with less time remaining was happy to split the point.

Parents are not allowed in the playing hall and so miss such drama. Tournament officials are kept busy enough in an event with 61 players, that they observe a mere fraction of these moments.

The King’s Clash Scholastic Tournament held at Cataldo School on Saturday, December 5 featured many untold stories that will linger in the memories of the competitors for a few weeks, years, or in some cases for the rest of their lives.

Pioneer School was one of a couple that kept Saint George’s School from taking all of the team trophies in Spokane during the 2014-2015 season, although SGS still captured the majority. With Pioneer’s victory on Saturday–their second in three events–PSP showed that they are the team to beat in 2015-2016.

The tournament consisted of four sections, K-1, K-3, K-5, K-12, plus a parent’s event. The only player who opted to play up was second grader Mythreya Dharani. He won the K-12 section with 4.5/5.0, giving up a draw to newcomer Kamden Doud in the fourth round. Kamden placed third in the section and took home the trophy for top sixth grader. Alex Popescu placed second, losing to Mythreya but winning his other four games, including a round five battle with Kamden.

In the K-5 section, three players finished without a loss. Varun Ambalavanan topped the section with 4.5. Kara Chiang (4.0) had two draws and three wins. Toby Kast (4.0) lost to Kara and won his other games. He took the trophy for top fifth grader. Two fourth graders with 3.5 took home trophies for top in grade, Ryan Waters and Mathew Wasson. Ryan’s only loss was to Varun. Mathew had to win a soccer game in the morning and only played three rounds, winning every game.

Four players with one loss each topped the largest section, K-3. Connor Gosselin-Harris beat Ben Barrett, but Ben took first on tie-breaks. Ben also beat the player that handed Connor his only loss as well as beating the player who gave Evelyn Arquette (also 4.0) her sole loss. Per Sande was the fourth with 4.0. Based on the standard Solkoff, Cumulative, Opposition Cumulative tie-breaks, first place went to Ben, second to Connor, and Evelyn and Per each took home their respective grade level trophies.

The youngest section was won by the only player with a perfect 5.0, Cyler Jessup. Second place went to Elizabeth Arquette, who lost only to Cyler.  Aaron Pooler (3.0) won the first grade trophy.

Queen’s Crown (November 14)

by Dr. James Stripes

            Pioneer School prevailed in the strongest team competition Spokane area scholastic tournament have seen in the past few years. The school’s top four accumulated 13.5 points to prevail over Saint George’s School’s 12.5. Close behind were The Oaks Academy (12), Cataldo (12), and host school First Presbyterian (11).

In the K-2 section, three players topped the field of 21 with 4.0 each. Ben Barrett was first overall. Laura Sheikh placed second, and Arnav Wadikar took the trophy for first in grade two. Per Sande (3.5) edged Colby Jessup (3.5) for the second place in second grade medal. Cooper Florence (2.5) won the trophy for first in grade one, while Cyler Jessup (2.5) was second in that grade. Ethan Shan won the upset trophy.

Aditya Bandyopadhyay prevailed over all opponents to score a perfect 5.0 in K-4. Varun Ambalavanan (4.0) was second overall and Aniketh Parlapalli took home the fourth grade trophy. Desmond Paquet was second in fourth grade. Jackson Florence (3.0) was first in grade three and Olivia Hilton (3.0) was second. The upset trophy went to Addison Bowen. There were 22 players in the section.

In the top section, which included 14 players as old as eighth grade, Garrett Casey finished first with 4.5. Logan Faulkner (4.0) was second. In third place, Mythreya Dharani won the upset trophy. The top fisth graders were Cameron Simonds and Annie Alvarez, both with 3.0. Cameron had the better tiebreaks. Joshua Kimball (2.0) was the top sixth grader. Hannah Wach also took home a prize for second in sixth grade. Suhang Liu (3.0) won the seventh grade trophy and Shohom Bandyopadhyay won the eight grade trophy.

    The tournament cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report15-16/QueensCrown.html

 Black Knight’s Joust (October 17)

by Dr. James Stripes

    The Black Knights Joust kicked off the scholastic chess season for the Spokane area. Thirty students in grade 1-8 participated from thirteen schools. The large number of upsets revealed that some young players worked hard on their skills during the off-season.

     The two largest teams were Pioneer and host Saint George’s. SGS edged Pioneer 9.5 to 9.0 for the team trophy. The tournament had two sections: open and under 900. Braxton Casey won top honors in the open section with 4.5. Three players finished on top of the U/900 with 4.0, Troy Sheikh (winning on tie-breaks), Malia Brown, and Simon McMynne.

     Trophies were awarded for first place in each grade 1-7. Amelie Hilton (2.0) was first in grade one. Mythreya Dharani (4.0) was second overall in the open section and won the trophy for top second grader. Rohan Dhillon (2.5) had the best tie-breaks of the four third graders finishing with the same score. The other third graders with 2.5 were Olivia Hilton, Connor Simonds, and Robert Lasko. Each received an award. The fourth grade trophy went to Simon McMynne. Malia Brown was the fifth grade winner. Garrett Casey (3.0) won the sixth grade trophy. Exchange student Andres Diaz (3.5) took home the trophy for top seventh grader.

     Others taking home prizes were Orrin Keener, Per Sande, Maxwell Johnson, Logan Faulkner, and Annie Alvarez. Eleven players qualified for the 2016 Washington State Elementary Chess Championship and earned a keychain in addition to their other prize.

      The tournament cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report15-16/BlackKnights.html


Scholastic Event Reports 2014-2015


GSL Individual Championship (Jan. 16, 2015)

   This year’s GSL High School Individual Championship was a senior dominated affair.  Shadle Park senior Trevor Bowers and Gonzaga Prep senior Mitch Kilayko each scored 4.5 to become co-champions.  Mitch took home the first place trophy after defeating Trevor in a blitz game with the black pieces.  The two had drawn their fourth round game on board one.  Mitch, the top seed, then broke fellow Gonzaga Prep senior Joey Verchotta’s nine game GSL tourney win streak to clinch the tie for first while Trevor had to defeat fellow Shadle senior Max Lund on board two to set up the play-off.

        A total of 34 players took part, with ten from both Shadle and host school Rogers, while Prep sent seven to the event.  Defending champion Verchotta lead a group of four at 4.0 who tied for third overall.  Joining him were Shadle senior Jomell Pajarillo and Prep teammates Daniel Bassler (a junior) and Alexander Carlson (a freshman).  Nathan and Noah Rivers of Northwest Christian finished at 3.5 each to claim seventh overall.  Nearly a third of the 34 player field were first timers.  Bassler was the top scoring newcomer at 4.0, while Abdul Hakkani was Shadle’s top newcomer at 3.0.  A pair of Rogers newcomers, Brandon Stanley and Zacheri Galligan topped their team with 2.0 scores.  All four of the highest scoring newcomers won pins as prizes.  Shadle senior Alex Carpentier took home the biggest upset trophy with a 633 point upset in the first round.

        The cross table link for the event:  http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report14-15/GSLIndiv.html

Black Knight’s Joust (Nov. 22, 2014)

by Dr. James Stripes

The Black Knight’s Joust drew 81 players on 22 November 2014. They came from as far as Pullman to the south and Sandpoint to the north. It was the largest chess tournament in Spokane since the Washington Open in 2009, and the largest scholastic event in the area since the 2009 state championship.

 Seven different schools had at least four players, making the team competition strong in the elementary divisions. Saint George’s School led with 16.5, followed by Pioneer School (14), The Oaks (13), and Northwest Christian (12.5).

 Due to 46 entries in K-3, the section was broken into K-1 and K-3 divisions of 17 and 29 players, respectively. Mythreya Dharani was perfect in the K-1 with 5.0, followed by Per Sande (4.0), Ben Barrett (3.5), and Cole Watkins (3.5). In K-3, five players finished at the top with 4.0–Sam Morris, Varun Ambalavanan, Connor Gosselin-Harris, Ryan Waters, and Josh Lubanski (in order of tie-breaks). Sam beat Varun, but lost to Ryan, and Varun beat Ryan. Connor and Josh did not play others in the top-five, but each had a win and loss against players finishing in the next five places.

 In the K-6 section, Tariq Ravasia was nearly perfect. He won against Ethan Kessler, winner of the last tournament, in round three. Then he beat the top seed, Garrett Casey, in round four. In the last round, however, he drew Suhang Liu and both finished with 4.5. Tariq had the better tie-breaks because Ethan and Garrett both finished with 4.0. The cumulative score tie-break gave third overall to Garrett because he played Tariq one round later.

 Three elementary age players elected to play up in the eleven player K-12 division. Savanna Naccarato finished in first with 4.0 ahead of Alex Popescu (also 4.0). Savanna beat Alex in their encounter, but she lost to Braxton Casey, who finished with 3.0. Also finishing with 3.0 were Alex Herron, Logan Faulkner, Dawson Jury, and David Sposito.

King’s Clash (Nov. 8, 2014)

by Dr. James Stripes:

 Ethan Kessler came into the King’s Clash with a respectable 961 NWSRS rating after three events. His last local event was spring’s Dragonslayer, where he lost his last two games, pushing his rating down below 1000. It fell further after his performance at state. In Saturday’s King’s Clash, Ethan started a string of upsets against the three highest rated players in K-6. He beat Ethan Wu, a 171 point upset in that round. In the next round, he beat Suhang Liu, a 242 point upset. Then he beat Garrett Casey, the tournament’s top rated player and winner of the Queen’s Crown tournament two weeks ago. It is clear that Ethan has been training well.

 Ethan finished with a perfect 5.0. Suhang (4.0) finished in second overall with better tiebreaks than Ethan Naresh (4.0).   Garrett (3.5) and Ethan Wu (3.5) went home with the top prizes in fifth grade. Also winning prizes were Meghna Pream Dutta, Gavin Consiglio, and Noah Brody, all with 3.0. Zack Kapelac (2.0) also took home a medal.

 In K-3, top rated Aditya Badyopadhyay scored a perfect 5.0 to win the younger section. Sam Morris, who gave up a draw in the first round finished in second place with 4.5. Andrew Naresh led a pack of 4.0 scorers to place third overall.  Kara Chiang, Mythreya Dharani, and Tristan Henry, each at 4.0, took home trophies.  At 3.5, Ryan Waters and Sarah Gunn earned medals. Ben Barrett (2.0) won a medal for second place in grade one. Amelie Hilton won the trophy for first place in Kindergarten.

In the team scoring, Saint George’s School won their second team trophy for the year with the top four players scoring 15.5.  Northwest Christian was second with 14.5. Pioneer School, which brought a large number of players, led the way after three rounds and finished third with 13.0.The small middle school/high school section was won by Alex Herron (5.0). Logan Faulkner, who lost only to Alex, placed second with 4.0.  In third place was Shohom Bandyopadhyay (3.0), who lost to Alex and Logan.

Those players scoring 3.0 at the tournament two weeks ago were awarded state championship qualified medals at the King’s Clash. New qualifiers will receive their medals at the next event.  

With 77 participants, the King’s Clash was the largest area scholastic tournament since the 2009 Washington State Elementary Chess Championship and our local events 2008-2009. It is expected that our Saturday tournaments will soon reach the 100-plus numbers that were the norm until 2008.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report14-15/KingsClash.html 


Scholastic Event Reports 2013-2014

Dragonslayer (March 22, 2014)

by Dr. James Stripes

A Day of Upsets
         Savanna Naccarato (5.0) topped the Dragonslayer’s competitive K-12 section at Saint George’s School March 22 to take the $60 top prize. Shawn Lewis (4.0) was second, earning $40. There were five players with 3.0 sharing third place. Christian Monzingo won the prize for biggest upset ($15), while the others–Alex Herron, Alex Anderson, Logan Faulkner, and Suhang Liu–split the prizes for third and fourth place ($10 each).
         As the highest rated player, Savanna might have been expected to win. However, the top rated players in the other sections fared less well as ten players each scored upsets of 200 points or more. There were also several strong upsets in K-12. Christian started the day with a 277 point upset and then scored a 511 point upset in the second round. An even larger upset of 522 was achieved in the K-3 section by John Paul Schlegel. In the K-6 section, both Malachi Hernandez (311 points) and Emmett Davidson (295 points) won prizes for their upsets.
         Individual trophy winners in K-6 included Ethan Naresh (4.5), Grand Champion; Tariq Ravasia (4.0), first in fourth grade; Dawson Jury (4.0), first in fifth grade; Cameron Simonds (4.0); A.J. Stenbeck (3.5); and Evan Craciun (3.5). All those scoring 3.0 won trophies or medals depending on the strength of their tie-breaks.
         Ryan Waters topped the K-3 section with the day’s only other perfect 5.0. Derek Phipps (4.0) was first in third grade, Josh Lubanski (3.5) was first in second grade, Enelyn Arquette (3.0) was first in grade one, and Ethan Shan (2.5) was first in kindergarten. Noah Brody and Kara Chiang each scored 4.0 and won trophies. Those scoring 3.0 won trophies or medals based on tie-breaks.
         The team competition in K-6 earned Northwest Christian its second trophy in March with 14.5 points among the school’s top four. Saint George’s School and Pioneer School placed second with 13.0 each. North Wall School won the trophy for bringing the most new players.        The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/Dragonslayer.html

Rook Madness (March 8, 2014)

by Dr. James StripesThe top six players at the Rook Madness tournament demonstrated that any one of them could defeat any of the others. Upsets abounded in the thirteen player K-12 section that was 1/3 elementary age players.  The top two cash prizes were split ($50 each) between co-champions Ken McGuire (4.0) and Alex Herron (4.0). Shawn Lewis defeated Ken, the top rated player, in the first round. Shawn drew Ethan Wu in round three, but was leading the tournament until he fell to Alex in the last round. Alex defeated the number two seed, Jack Harris, in the fourth round. His only loss was to Suhang Liu in round two. Suhang also defeated Jack, but lost to Ken and Shawn. Shawn and Ethan split the remaining cash ($18 each). Jack was the victor in Ethan’s only loss. Northwest Christian School won the elementary team trophy. Saint George’s was second and Arcadia Elementary finished third.
In K-6, Logan Faulkner defeated all opponents to win the Grand Champion trophy. Naomi Hertz (4.0), who lost only to Logan, was the top fifth grader. The top fourth grader, Ethan Naresh (4.0), lost only to Naomi. John Field (3.0) had the top upset and earned a trophy. Evelyn Arquette topped the K-3 section with a perfect 5.0 to win Grand Champion for that section. Kara Chiang’s 4.5 made her the top third grader. The first place in second grade trophy went to Ryan Waters (4.0), who was third overall. Two kindergartners scored 2.0. Per Sande had better tie-breaks so won the first place in grade trophy, while Elizabeth Arquette took home a smaller trophy. She will be in kindergarten next year. Toby Kast (2.5) earned a medal for notable upset.
 The 62 player event on March 8 at Saint George’s School was Spokane’s second largest of the year and drew nearly 15% new players. Tournament advertising promised a trophy for the team with the most new players. It was taken home by Mead Educational Partnership. Individual awards also went to the top unrated players: Riley Madsen (2.5) won a medal and Nathan Gellatly (3.0) won a trophy. All players scoring 3.0 or better in the elementary sections took home trophies or medals.

The NWSRS cross table link:  http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/RookMadness.html

GSL Team Championship (March 7, 2014)

        Dishman Hills, the alternative high school for the West Valley School District, swept the field to win its first team championship.  Second place went to Shadle Park which edged rival Gonzaga Prep 302 in their final round match up to claim the second place trophy.  The top individual player award went to Prep junior Joey Verchota, the GSL individual champion, who won all four of his games on board 1. Lakeside High School fielded two teams in its initial foray into the team chess event!

        The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/GSLTeam.html

Frosty Pawn (Feb. 8, 2014)

by Dr. James Stripes:Fifty-three players from Spokane and the surrounding communities competed for individual prizes and an elementary team trophy at the Frosty Pawn youth chess tournament. The event was the first held at First Presbyterian School, which parents lauded as an excellent facility.
 Alex Popescu again topped the upper section with a perfect 5.0. He took home $30 for his efforts. Ken McGuire was second with 4.0 and Alex Herron (3.5) finished third.
 In the two elementary divisions, the Bandyopadhyay brothers both had perfect scores and won the Grand Champion trophies in the respective divisions. Behind Aditya in K-3 were a trio with 4.0. Katherine Gunn won the second grade trophy ahead of Sam Morris on tie-breaks. Gabrielle Lee was the top third grader. Conner Gosselin-Harris (2.0) was the top first grader. Each player scoring 3.0 or more in K-3 took home a medal or trophy. Luke Anderson (2.0) also won a medal for biggest upset.
 Maxwell Johnson’s 3.0 matched his father’s score in the parent’s tournament, putting the pair on top to take home a new chess set in the parent/child team competition.
 Behind Shohom Bandyopadhyay in K-6 were Andre Vivier and Alex Anderson with 4.0. Each won first in his respective grade. A.J. Stenbeck (3.0) was the top fifth grader. As in K-3, all those scoring 3.0 or more went home with hardware.
 Saint George’s School won their sixth team trophy in the event. Westgate Christian and Bryant tied for second in the elementary team competition. 

The NWSRS cross table link:  http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/FrostyPawn.html

GSL Individual Championship (January 31, 2014)

        Joey Verchota, a runner-up the previous year, won this year’s Greater Spokane League high school individual championship played at Rogers High School on Friday, January 31.  The Gonzaga Prep junior scored the only perfect (5.0) score to win the 34 player event.  Steve Walton of Dishman Hills took home the second place trophy after winning a blitz play-off among the six players who scored 4-1.  Those who tied Steve for second included Curtis Grubb and Peter Glanzer of Shadle Park, Nathan Raver of Northwest Christian, Jacob Schlomer of Gonzaga Prep, and Nathaniel Miller of the host school, Rogers.  Miller took home the biggest upset prize for downing the top rated player in the third round.

        The link to the NWSRS cross table can be found here when the event is rated: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/GSL.html

Winterfest (January 25, 2014)

by Dr. James Stripes:A strong performance by the their top two players led Arcadia (13.5) to victory over Jefferson of Pullman (12.0) and Saint George’s School (11.5) in the 12th annual Winterfest Scholastic chess tournament. Fourteen schools were represented by 42 players.
Grand Champion trophies went to Aditya Bandyopadhyay (5.0) in K-3 and Shohom Bandyopadhyay (5.0) in K-6. Four players finished one point behind Aditya: Isabella Rigutto, Max Johnson, Andrew Naresh, and Gabrielle Lee. Isabella won first in her grade. Evelyn Arquette (3.0) was first in first grade and Per Sande (2.0) was first in kindergarten. All players scoring 2.5 or higher went home with a medal or trophy. Sarah Gunn (2.5) won a trophy for natable upset.
In the small K-6 section, A.J. Stenbeck (4.0) won first in fifth grade. Tariq Ravasia (3.0) edged out Jack Morris (3.0) on tie-breaks for first in fourth grade. All players with 3.0 or more won trophies. In addition, trophies were taken home by Ethan Naresh (2.0) and Malachai Hernandez (2.0) for upsets greater than 250 rating points.
Three high school juniors battled the strongest elementary school players and four seventh graders in the K-12 section. Alex Popescu (4.5) topped the field, wining a trophy and Visa gift card. Jack Harris (4.0) won a Visa gift card and a medal, while Ken McGuire (3.5), who drew Alex and lost to Jack, took home a medal for third place. Dan Heglin also won a medal for biggest upset.
Correction: During the trophy presentation, it was stated inaccurately that SGS and Jefferson tied. This error was due to a data entry  error that was corrected just prior to the awards presentation. Individual standings were corrected, but haste left the error in the team calculations.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/WinterfestEast.html

January Joust (January 11, 2014)

by Dr. James Stripes:The January Joust had to compete with youth basketball and professional football, yet still drew 48 players from 19 schools. Saint George’s School won the elementary team trophy for the fifth time in as many tournaments. 
Individual trophies in K-3 were won by Aditya Bandyopadhyay (5.0), Grand Champion in K-3; Evelyn Arquette (4.0), first place in grade one; Gabrielle Lee (4.0), first place in grade three; as well as all those scoring 3.0 in the K-3 division.
In K-6, Suhang Liu finished with a perfect 5.0 to win the Grand Champion trophy for the second time in three tournaments. David Sposito (4.0), who beat Suhang in the Black Knight’s Joust in November, placed second. Logan Faulkner (4.0) was behind David on tie-breaks. Tariq Ravasia (3.0) was the top fourth grader. All those scoring 3.0 took home hardware, and Jordan Smith (2.5) won a book for biggest upset. In the HS/MS section, two fourth graders were the early leaders and squared off in round three on the top board. Alex Popescu (4.0) won that game, but lost to Ken McGuire (4.0) in the last round. They each took home $35 for their performance. Trevor Murphy (3.5) beat Ken in the first round and won $15 for his third place finish. His only loss was to fourth grader Ethan Wu.
The circle of victories among the top players reveals the quality of competition: Ethan beat Trevor who beat Ken who beat Alex who beat Ethan.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/JanuaryJoust.html

Winter Solstice (December 7, 2013)

Dr. James Stripes reports:The Winter Solstice revealed continuing growth in scholastic chess in the Spokane area. Our largest local tournament since spring 2009 had 79 players representing 22 schools. Saint George’s School again captured the Elementary team trophy with 15 points earned by the school’s top four players. For the first time in the past few years, there were several viable mini-teams (three player) in MS/HS. Northwest Christian edged out Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy 9 to 8.5 and won the trophy.
 In the K-3 section, Evelyn Arquette won all five games against solid competitors to earn the Grand Champion title. Gabrielle Lee (4.5) won first in third grade. Aditya Bandyopadhyay (4.0) was first in second grade, edging out Katherine Gunn (4.0) on tie-breaks. Kelly Cunningham (3.0) was the top first grader. Per Sande (2.0) was first in kindergarten.
 In K-6, Suhang Liu (5.0) was Grand Champion, followed by Shohom Bandyopadhyay (4.0) as the top sixth grader. Tariq Ravasia (4.0) was first in fourth grade. A.J. Stenbeck took home the trophy for top fifth grader.
 The top players in K-12 earned cash prizes. Ken McGuire was first with 5.0. Alex Popescu (4.5) used his lone king to stalemate Jack Harris (3.5) in a round four battle that drew spectators. Alex placed second, and Jack third.
 The event featured a second parent/child competition won by the Bandyopadhyay family. Dad was second among the parents, and the strong performance of his sons earned their family a nice chess set.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/WinterSolstice.html

Black Knight’s Joust (November 16, 2013)

The NWSRS cross table link:  http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/BlackKnightsJoust.html

King’s Clash  (November 2, 2013)

Dr. James Stripes reports:

Saint George’s Edges Past Westgate Christian in King’s Clash
     Going into the last round, Westgate Christian held a narrow lead over Saint George’s in the elementary team competition 12.5 to 12. However, Saint George’s gained more in round five to prevail 15 to 14 (top four from each school). Individual trophies in K-3 were earned by Sam Morris, grand champion (4.0); Gabrielle Lee (3.5) first, grade three; Josh Lubanski (3.5), first, grade two; Gabe Gustafson (3.5); Evelyn Arquette (3.0) first, grade one; and Per Sande (2.5), first, kindergarten. In K-6, Alex Popescu was grand champion with a perfect 5.0. Others earning trophies were Ethan Wu (4.0), first, grade 4; Meghna Dutta (4.0), first, grade five; Shohom Bandyopadhyay (4.0), first, grade six; Alex Anderson (3.5); David Sposito (3.0); Andre Vivier (3.0); and Naomi Hertz (3.0). In K-12, the top two players took home new chess sets. Kevin Eaton topped the field with 5.0, followed by Ken McGuire with 4.0.
     The 54 players represented sixteen area schools in the two elementary sections, and five schools in the MS/HS section.
The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/KingsClash.html

Queen’s Crown (October 19, 2013)

        The first event of the scholastic chess season was played Saturday, October 19, when the Queen’s Crown tournament was held at Northwest Christian School with 41 players participating.  Jack Harris (K-12) and Noah Brody (K-3) were perfect in winning their sections, while Alex Popescu and Ethan Wu scored 4.5 to tie for first in the K-6 section.

        The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report13-14/QueensCrown.html


Scholastic Event Reports 2012-2013

Dragonslayer (March 23, 2013)

    The last event of the local scholastic season fell victim to low turnout over the Easter weekend with the beginning of spring break; a small group of 20 turned out to play in the two-section tourney.

    The cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report12-13/DragonSlayer.html

GSL Team Championship (March 8, 2013)

Gonzaga Prep (2.5) edged Shadle Park (2.0) and CBE #1 of West Valley (1.5) to win the GSL team championship in a tourney played at Gonzaga Prep on March 8.  Prep edged Shadle 3-2 in their second round encounter, and it proved to be the decisive match of the event.  CBE, which brought two teams to its first appearance in this event, saw its first team draw with Prep in their third round encounter.  Shadle had edged CBE #1 in the first round by a 3-2 margin.  CBE was handiicapped by its top board arriving with only 2:21 left on his clock, in that encounter. He put up a great fight, but eventually fell to Curtis Grubb.  Curtis finished 3-0 and won the trophy for outstanding personal performance in the event.  Shadle took second place by defeating Rogers in its final match.

    The cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report12-13/GSLTeamChamp.html

Gonzaga Prep’s champions: Mitch Kilyako, Matt Pennell, Jacob Schumer, Sean Brown, and Joey Verchotta

Shadle Park: Isaac Grubb, Michael Chernenko, Curtis Grubb, Peter Glanzer, Max Lund

March Madness (March 2, 2013)

by Dr. James Stripes   

    The March Madness scholastic chess tournament finished with an exciting battle on the top board in K-7. Alex Popescu had won all four previous games, and was playing Shawn Lewis who had lost one game in an early round. A crowd gathered as Shawn nursed his initiative in a position with equal material, including opposite colored bishops, and had a bit over two minutes to just over one for Alex. The players maneuvered quickly, looking for tactics, and a few pawns were exchanged. Alex tried to trade queens, while Shawn kept up checks and threats against the remaining pawns. Shawn had five seconds left when Alex reached zero and Shawn claimed victory. That left third-grader Alex in a tie for first with Shawn and Shohom Bandyopadhyay (4.0 each). Alex, by playing up, was not eligible for first place in his grade, but placed second overall in his section. Shawn took home the Grand Champion trophy and Shohom was first place in fifth grade. One-half point behind the leaders were the top seventh grader, Trevor Murphy, and another third-grader, Tariq Ravasia. Ray Johnson, Reo Reyes, Ethan Wu, Merrick Bonar, and top fourth-grader, A.J. Stenbeck finished with 3.0.   

    In the K-3 section, James Gunn won all five games and took home his third Grand Champion trophy for the 2012-2013 school year. Second place went to the top second-grader, Seth Arthurs, with 4.0, losing only to James. Andre Vivier was third with 3.5 and won the trophy for top third-grader. They were followed by Jack Morris, Isabella Rigutto, Ryan Eaton, Gabe Gustafson, and top first-grader, Sam Morris. Isabella won biggest upset, due to her win over a player rated 127 points above her.

    In K-12, four played shared first and split the prizes for first through third, taking home $40 each. They were David Blue, Jacob Gray, Kevin Eaton, and Levi Goris. Tristan Udby won a book for his position in fifth place (3.5). At 3.0, Matt Mackinney and Steven Walton each won $30 for biggest upset and best unrated, respectively.

    Saint George’s School won the team trophy in K-6 with 17 points for the top five players. Medals were awarded to Northwest Christian and Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy for each scoring a 9.5 with teams of three in K-12. This was the first event in several years with three viable mini-teams in the HS/MS section.

    The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report12-13/MarchMadness.html

The Frosty Pawn (January 12, 2013)

WSHCA cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report12-13/FrostyPawn.html

Solstice Sacrifice (Dec. 1, 2012)

by Dr. James Stripes

Saint George’s Wins Again!

A strong turn-out by Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy made the Solstice Sacrifice the largest area scholastic tournament since 2010 with 63 participants. As at the Black Knights’ Joust, seventh graders played in the middle section to facilitate inter-school competition between the crowd from Coeur d’Alene and players from the other twelve schools represented.

Saint George’s School dominated the top places K-3 section, while Arcadia Elementary proved depth in both elementary sections. Saint George’s won the team trophy with 19 points (combined scores of top five players) to 17 for Arcadia.

In K-3, James Gunn was Grand Champion for the second time this year, edging out Ethan Wu on tie-breaks (4.5 each). They drew when they played each other in round 4 and defeated all other opponents. Gunn’s opponents collectively scored one-half more than Wu’s. Gunn took home the Grand Champion trophy, and Wu earned the trophy for top third grader. First place in second grade went to Gabe Gustafson (3.0). The top first grader was Josh Lubanki (2.5). There have been no kindergarten players this year. All players scoring 3.0 or more took home a trophy or medal. Ella Adams earned a chess book for notable upset.

In K-7, Shawn Lewis scored his first ever perfect 5.0 and his first Grand Champion trophy. Second place in the section was the top seventh grader, Levi Goris (4.0). With 3.5 were the number 2 seventh grader, Kevin Eaton; first place in fifth grade, David Sposito; and first place in fourth grade, Nicholas Dawson. Dan Heglin (3.0) won a trophy for top sixth grader because Shawn took home the Grand Champion trophy. As in K-3, all K-7 players scoring 3.0 or above won medals or trophies. In addition, Ryan Paulsberg took home a chess book for notable upset.

In K-12, Savanna Naccarato (5.0) defeated Botao Shan (4.0) to place first and claim the $75 first prize, plus a medal. Botao earned $50 and a medal. Tristan Udby (3.0), a sixth grader playing up, and Matt MacKinney (3.0) each earned cash and a medal for third place and top under 1000/unr, respectively. Also taking home prizes were Jack Harris and Drew Lindh. Sam Schnebly took home a book for his 539 point upset.

The NWSRS ratings report link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report12-13/Solstice.html 

Black Knights Joust (Nov. 3, 2012)

by Dr. James Stripes

Saint George’s School Strong at Black Knights’ Joust

Ten schools were represented by 49 players at the Black Knights’ Joust in Deer Park, November 3. Nearly half of the players were new to tournament chess. The battle for first in K-12 was decided in round four when teammates Xiaoman Chu and Botao Shan debated the relative value of the knight and bishop. Chu’s knight was able to play on both color squares and had an extra pawn for the battle. Chu finished with a perfect 5.0, earning a $50 Visa Gift Card. Shan placed second with 4.0, and took home a $25 gift card. Third place was Stephen Baxter, topping the 3.0 players on the strength of opposition tie-break. His prize was a $15 iTunes card, while the others scoring 3.0 earned small trophies and medals.

The battle in Elementary school repeated last year’s battles between Saint George’s players in K-3 and Northwest Christian players in K-7. SGS won with an astounding team score of 18.0—the combined score of the top five players. First place trophies went to the top player in each grade, 1-7. There were no kindergarten players. The top first grader was Katherine Gunn. Catie Field topped second grade. James Gunn, the top third grader also finished at the top of the K-3 section with a perfect 5.0.

First place in fourth grade went to Naomi Hertz. The top fifth grader was David Sposito. Torrey Casper was the top sixth grader, and finished atop the K-7 section with 4.5. The top seventh grader was Kevin Eaton. Plaques for best unrated went to Joseph Fausti in K-3 and Merrick Bonar in K-7.

The usual K-6 section was changed to K-7 for this event to reduce teammate pairings and even the section sizes. Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy brought thirteen players to the event.

The NWSRS ratings report link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report12-13/BlackKnightsJoust.html


Scholastic Event Reports 2011-2012

Northwest Christian Claims Trophy at Nationals!!

        Congratulations to Northwest Christian, the first local school to take a team to Nationals in several years.  The team claimed a trophy in the K-8 Under 1000 category on the strength of four finishers.  Torrey Casper scored 4.5 (from 7) to lead the team, which was hampered by two of their stronger player having to play in higher sections.  The results for Torrey and some of the others should send their USCF ratings climbing nicely.  Our congratulations also to coaches John Dill and Kelly King, as well as the supportive parents of this group, for their efforts to put Spokane back on the national chess scene.  Way to go, everyone!!  This year’s national tourney was held in San Diego on April 28-29.

Dragonslayer (March 31)

by Dr. James Stripes

        There were eight teams represented by 47 players in the elementary divisions of the Dragonslayer held at St. Georges on March 31.  This event was the only one of the school year with five full teams of five or more players.

        Northwest Christian won its fourth team trophy in six events this year.  Their top five players scored a total of 19.5.  The battle for second was close with Arcadia edging St. George’s 16.5 to 16; Jefferson had 15.5.

        In K-3, first grader Seth Arthurs proved that age does not determine playing strength.  He won all five games, as he had done at Arcadia’s Black Knights’ Quest three weeks earlier.  Seth also won a copy of John Nunn, Understanding Chess Move by Move as the only participant to correctly solve all five difficult tactics problems in the “St. George and the Dragon” contest.  Third grader Dana Mogensen, who won the Grand Champion on tiebreaks over Seth at the Groundhog in February, won her grade and second overall with 4.5.  Three players finished  with 3.5, including the top kindergarten player, Aditya Bandyopadhyay, playing in only his second event.  Jack Morris was the top second grader with 3.0.  On account of Seth getting the Grand Champion trophy, the top grade level trophy went to the next first grader on the list, Gabe Gustafson.  Wyatt Gedicke won a trophy for biggest upset, beating a player more than 300 ELO higher.

       The battle in K-6 led to an unusual number of draws on the top boards.  Fourth grader Kenny King won the Grand Champion with 4.5.  Three fifth graders tied for second with 4.0, with Nick Seleski having the strongest tiebreaks and winning first place in grade.  Those with 3.0 included David Sposito, the top fourth grader below Kenny, and Trevor Murphy, first place in sixth grade.  Nik Moran beat a player more than 300 higher to take the trophy for biggest upset.

        In the MS/HS section, David Joslin defeated the highest rated player to finish with 4.5 and first place.  Mitch Kilayko placed second with 4.0, his only loss being the game with David.

The link to the NWSRS cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/Dragonslayer.html

Black Knights Quest (March 10)

The link to the NWSRS cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/BlackKnightsQuest.html

GSL Individual Championship (March 2)

Alex Chow, a senior from Lewis & Clark and co-champion of this event last year, won the 2012 GSL Individual Championship with a perfect 4.0 score. Gonzaga Prep freshman Mitch Kilayko finished second with 3.5.  The event, rescheduled from January 16 when bad roads closed down the local schools, drew 22 players to Rogers High School on March 2. 

    Chow fought off a strong attack by North Central’s David Blue in round 3.  Down time, and with both players low on the clock, Alex accurately defended against David’s assault and prevailed after the attack was blunted.  Alex then quickly defeated Ferris junior Hallie Ervin in round four to complete his perfect afternoon.  Kilayko defeated Rogers senior James Eckart in a tight contest on board two for the second place trophy.  Third place (3.0) featured five players: Blue, Ervin, Shadle Park sophomore Curtis Grubb, and freshmen David Joslin (Prep) and Jomell Parajillo (Shadle).  Joslin won the trophy for biggest upset when he defeated a player rated over 700 points higher in the final round.

    The event was heavy on underclass players, with only a small group of seniors able to play due to conflicts with sports and debate.  The exciting chess played by the youngsters ensure several more years of spirited competition in the high school ranks!

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/GSLIndividual.html

GSL Team Championship (Feb. 3)

    Lewis and Clark made it two in a row, easily topping the field in a five-school team tournament held February 3 at Gonzaga Prep.  LC, behind perfect records from its top four boards, swept all three matches by comfortable tallies to win the first place trophy for the second year in a row.  Gonzaga Prep (augmented by NC’s top board, David Blue) and Shadle Park tied for second with 2-1 scores.  Prep won the blitz play-off by taking four of the five g/5 games to claim the second place trophy.

    The outcome was something of a heartbreaker for Rogers, which lost a tough match (and a chance for clear second) 3-2 to Shadle Park in the second round, and then had to face the LC buzz saw in the final match.  The field was rounded out by Ferris, a several time champion school returning to the event after a one year absence.

    The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/GSLTeam.html 

First round GSL Team action between Shadle Park (L, Curtis Grubb in foreground) and Lewis & Clark (Zach Countryman in fore with Alex Chow, Stan Dombrowski, Will Dittman, and Massoud Saleki):


by Dr. James Stripes

Saint George’s School Prevails

    When you are on top, everyone else takes aim. In Saturday’s Groundhog Gambit, players from Deer Park, Pullman, and Saint George’s School won key victories that deprived Northwest Christian of the perfection they achieved two weeks ago at Deer Park’s Winterfest. Two second graders playing up in the K-6 section each scored a key win against an older NWC player. A player from Jefferson Elementary in Pullman beat two NWC players, and the top scoring student from Arcadia in Deer Park defeated one. As a consequence, Saint George’s School won the team trophy with 17.5 points, Arcadia placed second with 16, and Northwest Christian’s top five players scored 14.5.

    Having everyone else aiming at you can make you tougher. The Northwest Christian team is reminscent of a Saint George’s team from ten years ago that did well at nationals. Expect to see the strength of these NWC players revealed at this Saturday’s Eastern Washington Championship, at the Washington State Elementary Chess Championship in April, and at the K-9 Nationals in San Diego in April. In their training, they will score points against some adult players from around the region at the 20th Dave Collyer Memorial later this month.

    Tie-breaks determined the winners as no one finished with a perfect 5.0 in the Elementary divisions. In K-3, Dana Mogensen and Seth Arthurs topped the list with 4.0 each. Dana won the Grand Champion trophy as the total score of her opponents was higher than that of Seth’s. Seth was the top first grader. Close behind these two were third graders Zachary Robertson, Holden Adams, and John Field with 3.5 each. David Thew was the top second grader with 3.0. Sam Morris, also with 3.0, was the top kindergarten player. Others finishing with 3.0 were Alexandria Gustafson, A.J. Stenbeck, and Stella Brown.

    In K-6, four players finished with 4.0. The strength of opposition tie-break separated Ray Johnson and Ethan Wu from the others, and the second tie-break lifted Ray to the top. Ethan’s only loss was in round three, and Ray’s was in round five. Thus, Ray’s cumulative score was higher. Kenny King and Daniel Arthurs also scored 4.0. Kenny was the top fourth grader. Daniel took home the trophy for first place in fifth grade. Trevor Murphy was first place in sixth grade with 3.0. Also scoring 3.0 and taking home awards were Torrey Casper, Tariq Ravasia, Nick Seleski, Shawn Lewis, and Nathan Longhurst.

    The MS/HS section attracted a new player, and one returning from a long absence from chess competition, but remained small as it has been all year. The five players played a four-round round-robin. Dane Lindh won all four of his games, while Joseph Verchota lost only to Dane.

The Groundhog Gambit K-6 champions:

Winterfest (January 21, 2012)

by Dr. James Stripes

Eight schools were represented by forty-four players at Saturday’s Winterfest Scholastic chess tournament, the tenth time that this annual tournament has been held. Aside from a single player who made the trip north from Pullman, all the others were from north Spokane. Friday’s freezing rain deterred others who had planned to attend.

Northwest Christian playes were unbeatable until they were forced to play one another. They easily captured the team trophy. Nick Seleski won the Grand Champion trophy in K-6 on tiebreaks, as he dispatched two of the players scoring 4.0. The next five places all received trophies: Nathan Sacpopo was first in grade 5, Jacob Gray was second in grade 5, Ray Johnson was third in the same, Torrey Casper was fourth in grade 5, and Kenny King was first in grade 4. The top 3.0 player was Tristan Udby, winner of an in-house tournament at his school last spring. First place in grade 6 went to Zeph Johnson, who edged out the other sixth grader with 2.0 on tiebreaks.

Competition between Saint George’s School and Arcadia was strong in the K-3 section that had well over half of the entries from SGS. The top SGS second grader elected to play in the K-6 section where he earned valuable lessons from the Northwest Christian players before earning two wins against Arcadia players, helping secure second place in the team competition for his school.

James Gunn won the Grand Champion trophy in K-3 with slightly stronger tiebreaks than Zac Johnson. The two drew each other in the second round. Zac won first place in grade 3. He was followed by Dana Mogensen was second in grade 3, and Holden Adams was third in the same. My admonition to the third graders at a previous tournament that age does not always prevail and that the second graders were the hard ones to beat in that section appears to have spurred a few to improve. Jack Morris and Tariq Ravasia won first and second in grade 2 behind their classmate, the Grand Champion. Sam Morris, also with 3.0, was first place in kindergarten. Gabe Gustafson was first in grade 1 with 2.5.

The MS/HS section was small. Peter Schumaker easily won all six games in the double round robin. Dane Lindh won all his other games, taking the second place prize.

The cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/DeerParkWinterfest.html 

The K-6 team champions:

Some K-6 action:

Solstice Sacrifice (December 10, 2011)

by Dr. James Stripes

Fifty-five players from nine schools competed in the Solstice Sacrifice chess tournament at Saint George’s School on December 10. The team competition was a repeat of last month’s Black Knight’s Joust, pitting Northwest Christian fifth graders against Saint George’s School second graders. However, this time Northwest Christian prevailed 19-18. Arcadia again took third.

In the K-3 section, second grader Tariq Ravasia was grand champion with a perfect 5-0. First grader Seth Arthurs and third grader Holden Adams were next at 4.0. Arthurs’ only loss was to Ravasia, and Adams lost only to Arthurs. James Gunn, Zach Robertson, Jack Morris, and A.J. Stenbeck each had 3.5. Katherine Gunn was the top kindergartner with a very impressive 3.0. All players scoring 3.0 or higher qualify for the Washington State Elementary Chess Championship in Pasco, April 21. In addition, kindergartners Sam Morris and Josh Lubanski (2.5 each) qualified for state.

In K-6, Jacob Gray defeated his teammate Nathan Sacpopo in the final round to earn grand champion. The top five fifth graders were the top five in the section and all won trophies. Sacpopo, Daniel Arthurs, and Nick Seleski each scored 4.0. Shawn Lewis had the strongest tie-breaks of the seven players with 3.0 in the upper elementary section, which included four more fifth graders and sixth graders Katie Thew and Connor Cremers. First place in fourth grade went to Kenny King, who scored 2.0.

The high school/middle school section had one more player than last month’s tournament in Deer Park with seven players. Lincoln School teammates won the top two prizes. Nathan Arthurs beat Peter Schumaker in their individual encounter to capture first. Brothers Drew and Dane Lindh tied for third.

Notably, there were only two draws in the fifty-five games played in the K-6 section. In contrast, several draws in the K-3 section revealed players not yet able to deliver checkmate with a queen and king against a lone king. Beginning players are advised to have a look at http://chessskill.blogspot.com/2011/11/lesson-of-week_08.html, which offers a useful technique for learning this elementary skill.

SGS Alum Michael Cambareri, and his father John Cambareri ran the pairings for this event, the first SGS tournament directed by SGS Lower School coach James Stripes.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/Solstice.html

Black Knights Joust  (November 5)

 by Dr. James Stripes  

  The Black Knights’ Joust was slightly larger than any of last year’s Spokane area scholastic tournaments, although the MS/HS section was the smallest in memory. Forty-eight players from a handful of schools competed.

    Players from Idaho comprised half of the six-player MS/HS section. Savanna Naccarato beat all the others, easily capturing first place. Post Falls senior Michael Fellegy finished second

    In the elementary sections, four Northwest Christian fifth graders dominated K-6, while five Saint George’s second graders finished in the top eight in K-3. Only two players in K-3 were from schools other than Saint George’s School and Arcadia. One of these two was a late entry who had another activity to attend in the morning. Her participation in the last two rounds as Northwest Christian’s fifth player produced the points needed to lift NWC into second in the team competition, one point ahead of Arcadia. Saint George’s captured first.

    Individual champions Torrey Casper (K-6) and Ethan Wu (K-3) took home nice trophies. Both had perfect 5.0 scores. All players in the elementary sections who scored three or more took home a trophy or a medal. An unusual number of teammates who had to play each other due to the small number of schools represented, and in the final round the Naess sisters were paired. That game ended in a hard-fought draw, which benefited Casper, the only other K-6 player with 4.0 going into the final round.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report11-12/BlackKnightsJoust.html



The Last Hurrah (April 16)

        The last Chris Copeland-produced tournament at St. Georges was held April 16, 2011.  Chris is moving to Portland this summer after more than a dozen years of leading scholastic chess in Spokane.

        There were 37 players in this event.  Zach Countryman (4.5) topped the K-12 section.  Shawn Lewis and Drew Lindh each scored 4.0 to tie for first in K-6.  Ethan Wu was a perfect 5.0 in winning the K-3 section.

    The NWRS cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report10-11/LastHurrah.html

Black Knights Quest (March 5)

Girls Top Black Knights’ Quest

by James Stripes

     Chess is a sport in which girls and boys compete as equals. Two girls contested this notion at the Black Knights’ Quest in Deer Park by beating all the boys. In the K-12 section, Savanna Naccarato won her first round game, as expected, and then went on to beat four boys with higher ratings. She took out the top seed, Nikolay Bulakh in round two, then dispatched a trio of boys from Pullman. For her success, Savanna won a  $50 gift card. Another girl in the top section, fourth grader Sara Naess playing up for tougher competition, finished in a four-way tie for third, but fourth on tie-breaks. From Norway, Sara and her sister from Norway brought an international dimension to an event that had players from across Washington state—Whatcom and Whitman counties, as well as Spokane and Grant. Savanna lives in Idaho and did well in the Idaho Scholastic Girls Championship last Saturday in Boise.

    Maria Naess swept the K-3 section with a perfect 5.0, winning the grand champion trophy. Behind her was Koh Micek, who lost to her alone. The four-way tie for third in K-3 was topped by Sarah Wu on the basis of slightly stronger competition. The other players with 3.5 each were top in their grade: Joey Aho in second grade, Tariq Ravasia in first grade, and Seth Arthurs in kindergarten.

    In K-6, Alexandra Elkins won her first three games, including beating the top rated player in the section in round three. Alas, she lost to a determined Daniel Arthurs in round four, and then in round five played Reo Reyes, who had beat Daniel in round three. Reo finished with 4.0 and tied with top seed Cyril Berndt who recovered from his loss to Alexandra to win the rest of his games. Cyril’s victory over Reo in round two and stronger opponents gave him the grand champion trophy for K-6. Reo was the top fifth grader, Daniel the top fourth grader, and Alexandra won a trophy for biggest upset.

     The team competition in elementary was a repeat of Winterfest with host school Arcadia outscoring Saint George’s School in K-6 and Saint George’s triumphing in K-3. The competition combined the sections with the top five scores for each school counting. It came down to the fifth player, and Saint George’s won  by one-half point.

GSL Team Championship (Feb. 4)

        Powered by the GSL co-champions on the top two boards, Lewis & Clark won its first GSL team championship with a perfect match score of 3.0.  In board order, their team was Zach Countryman, Alex Chow, Elliot Chow, Andrew Kovash, and Will Dittman.  Alex Chow was perfect on board two and claimed the trophy for the outstanding individual performance.  Gonzaga Prep and a combined Mead-North Central team tied for second with 2-1 scores (both falling to LC), with Mead-NC edging Prep in tiebreak 10-9 to win the second place trophy.  A total of six teams representing six schools competed in the event held at G-Prep on February 4.

The cross table: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report10-11/GSLteam.html

Winterfest (Jan. 22)  James Stripes reports:

Nikolay Bulakh prevailed in the Winterfest Scholastic. Five seventh graders and one third grader not only comprised just under half of the entries, but also made up just under half of the group scoring three or more. Behind senior Bulakh was seventh grader Peter Schmaker in second place. Places three through seven were shared by high schoolers David Blue, Titus Berndt, and Dane Lindh, as well as seventh grader Nathan Arthurs and third grader Braxton Casey. Blue had the strongest tiebreaks and was one of two in that group rated under 1200, so he won the best under 1200 prize. Lindh had the biggest upset. Casey beat Blue who beat Arthurs who beat Casey, and Casey and Arthurs had almost identical tiebreaks. Because of their individual encounter, Arthurs took home the third place prize (best under 1200 was more gilt) and young Casey went home only with additional experience and knowledge gained competing with the older players. The elementary divisions featured the usual battle between Arcadia and Saint George’s for the team trophies. Arcadia prevailed in 4-6, while Saint George’s dominated K-3 so strongly that the combined team score between the two elementary sections gave Saint George’s clear first. Although seven other schools had players, none had enough to be competitive in team scoring. Certainly there must be other school chess clubs in the Spokane area that could be part of the competitive scene. In the K-3 section, Ethan and Sarah Wu tied for the top prize with Ethan winning the Grand Champion trophy on tie-breaks and his older sister taking first place in grade three. Their teammates Tariq Ravasi and James Gunn were the top first and second graders. Seth Arthurs was the only kindergarten player, but his three points demonstrated that he certainly earned the trophy for top in his grade. In 4-6, or K-6 as we call it because younger players sometimes play up, Connor Cremers was the sole five-point-zero and won the grand champion trophy. Cyril Berndt was second overall and the top sixth grader. In third, Nikhil Chaudhry won first in fourth grade. First place in fifth grade (because fifth grader Connor won a taller trophy) went to Alexandra Elkins who was part of the pack sharing fourth though seventh. All elementary players scoring three or more went home with a trophy.

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report10-11/Winterfest.html

GSL Individual Championship (Jan. 21)

              LC juniors Alex Chow and Zach Countryman won the GSL Individual Championship held at Rogers on  January 21.  The two each scored a perfect 4.0 to claim first place.  Using their own unique tie-breakers, Alex took home the first place trophy and Zach the second place.  Mead senior David Burke won the biggest upset trophy. A field of 22 took part. 

The NWSRS cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report10-11/SpokaneLeague.html

Solstice Sacrifice (Dec. 18)

        The re-scheduled Solstice Sacrifice, postponed from its original December 11 scheduled date, drew only 31 players to St. Georges on the opening weekend of Christmas break. 

The NWSRC cross table link: http://chess.ratingsnw.com/report10-11/SolsticeSacrafice.html

Black Knights Joust (October 15)

    Your editor lost the story of this Deer Park event that kicked off the season.  The site will be updated when it is retrieved!

        This was another fine scholastic season, with a record number of local tourneys.

Scholastic Event Reports 2009-2010


        The state elementary championships drew 1200 players to the Tacoma Convention Center on April 24.  Dr. James Stripes filed the following report on local participants:

Spokane Area Players and Teams Win State Trophies

Garrett Casey is the kindergarten co-champion and took first on tie-breaks over the other two with perfect scores. Tariq Ravasia placed sixteenth with the strongest tie-breaks of all the 3.0 scores; his teammate James Gunn also had 3.0. All competitors with 3.0 or more earned trophies.

In first grade, Dawson Jury finished without a loss, and had stronger tie-breaks than the player he drew in the final round, placing him third.

Second grader Braxton Casey had a disappointing loss against last year’s third place finisher in their grade, Max Wu (whose rating has improved 500 points over the past year), but bounced back to win his last round game and finish with 4.0. In second grade, 4.0 was good for places 7-26, and Braxton’s tie-breaks put him at sixteenth.

Wenatchee’s Gregory Berndt, a regular at Spokane area tournaments, scored 3.0 at placed 106 in third grade, and Pullman’s Daniel Arthurs, also with 3.0, finished at 111.

With 3.0 (places 44-105) and eighty-fifth on tie-breaks, Alexandra Elkins was the top placing fourth grader from the Spokane area. Reo Reyes was five places down from her.

Brandon Hill’s twenty-fourth place finish in fifth grade with 4.0 put him at the top of the Spokane contingent in that section. His teammate Jacob Gifford had 3.5 and placed thirty-eighth. Drew Lindh’s 3.0 placed him in seventy-sixth place, and earned a trophy.

In sixth grade, Pullman teammates Nathan Arthurs (eighth) and Peter Schumaker (nineteenth) both finished with 4.0, as did Shay Hutyler (twenty-first) and Collin Cremers (twenty-third).

Lake Spokane Elementary won twelfth place in the team competition in 4-6. Saint George’s strong kindergarten contingent led them to twenty-first in K-3 team scoring.

Eagle Quest (April 10, 2010)

    This Eagle Scout service project by Ryan Ackerman served as a last chance opportunity to qualify for the state elementary championships.  There were 47 in attendance, with 19 taking part in the K-12 section.  Jack Martin (4.5) edged Nikil Chaudhry (4.0) to win the 15 player K-3 section.  Braxton Casey (5.0) swept the 13 player K-6 section by two points!  Alex Chow was perfect in the K-12 and defeated both runners up — Nickolay Bulakh and Richard Schumacher.

Dragonslayer (March 20, 2010)

        There were 73 players in attendance at the annual Dragonslayer at St. Georges on March 20. Third grader Gregory Berndt turned in the only perfect score of the tourney in winning the K-3 section.  Five tied for first (4.0) in winning the K-6 section (listed in tiebreak order): Cyril Berndt, Garrett Casey, Jacob Cifford, Jesse Aves-Foss, and Ryan Walker.  Alex Chow (4.5) won the K-12 section.

Black Knights Joust (March 6, 2010)

by Dr. James Stripes

        The Black Knights’ Quest ended with an exciting sudden-death blitz game between two of the area’s top players. After drawing their round four game, and both winning their other four games, Alex Chow and Ryan Ackerman finished atop the 7-12 section with 4.5 each. All three of the tie-breaks failed to resolve the equality. They drew for colors, and Ackerman got White. Thus Ackerman started with five minutes and Chow with four, but Ackerman had to win. A draw would be a victory for Chow. The tough battle for advantage ended in a race to move faster; Ackerman had six seconds left when Chow’s clock expired. Ryan Ackerman succeeded in winning his third event in three days!

 Ryan won a $50 gift card, while Alex took home $25 for second. Third place in 7-12 went to Nikolay Bulakh with 4.0. Two Idaho players and one from Pullman finished next with 3.5. Kairav Joshi and Peter Schumaker took home medals for their performance, while Savanna Naccarato won a $25 gift card for best player under 1300. Second place under 1300 was David Burke, who earned a $15 gift card. Trevor Joireman scored the biggest upset and took home the last of the gift cards.

The twenty-one player 7-12 section included two sixth graders, a second grader, and one kindergarten player. These young players averaged nearly three points each against the older kids.

Mead was the top high school, and Lincoln of Pullman the top middle school.

In the K-6 section, Lake Spokane prevailed over Arcadia. The top two schools finished with 15.5 each, but Lake Spokane had stronger tie-breaks so took home the first place trophy. Saint George’s settled for third for the first time this year (they usually win first). 

Cyril Berndt was the only perfect 5.0 in the entire tournament, and was the Grand Champion for 4-6. One point behind him were Shay Hutyler, Jacob Gifford, and Drew Lindh, all winning trophies. Leading the pack of 3.0 finishers was the top fourth grader, Katie Thew. Also with 3.0 were Ali Hartley, Zeph Johnson, Jehan Ravasia, and Alexandra Elkins. Matt Nelson showed that he is becoming a stronger player by scoring the biggest upset. The 4-6 section had only a single draw among the forty-five games played.

In K-3, first grader Dawson Jury was the Grand Champion with 4.5. Close behind were Alex Herron and Nikhil Chaudhry with 4.0, taking the top two trophies for third grade. Shawn Lewis was the next in third grade with 3.5, and scored the biggest upset. Also finishing with 3.5 was Koh Micek. Sixth place overall with 3.0 in order of tie-breaks were Joshua Joireman, Augustus Beeler, and Daniel Arthurs. The top kindergarten player was Tariq Ravasia. There were quite a few draws in this section, many due to the young players not yet skilled in delivering checkmate

GSL Team Championship (March 5, 2010)


        Ferris (2.5) edged Lewis & Clark (2.0) to win the GSL team championship on March 5.  The south hill schools ended Mead’s (1.5) hopes of a repeat championship.  Six schools competed in the event hosted by Gonzaga Prep.  Rogers, North Central, and Prep finished tied for fourth with 1.0 scores.  The Ferris team consisted of seniors Khoi Thai, Daniel Parkison, and Khai Le, junior Daniel Berg, and sophomore Montana Killpack.

    Mead senior Ryan Ackerman was perfect (3.0) on board one to claim the trophy for the outstanding individual performance.  LC’s Alex Chow (board 2) and Will Dittman (board 4) were the perfect scores on their boards.  Khai Le of Ferris was perfect on board 3, and Rogers senior Klint Minnameier was perfect on board five.

Groundhog Gambit (St. Georges, Feb. 6, 2010)

Groundhog Gambit has International Flavor

        The annual Groundhog Gambit drew 96 players to St. Georges on February 6.  The event had an international flavor when Azerbaijani ten-year-old Ayshan Aliyeva made her second local scholastic event a success with a perfect 5.0 score and first place in the K-6 section.  Alysahn is staying in Pullman for a month while her mother completes work on a Fulbright Fellowship.  Her previous foray into local play was a successful tie for first at Winterfest.  Her success there made its way on to an Azerbaijani news website: http://www.news.az/articles/7665

        Regional players also did well!  The 23-player K-3 section title was shared by three who scored 4.0 (listed in tie-break order): Koh Micek, Nathan Arthurs, and Joshua Joierman.  Koh goes to school at Moran Prairie, while Nathan and Joshua are teammates at Pullman’s Jefferson school.

        North Central senior Ben Blue followed his victory at Winterfest with another perfect 5.0 score to win the K-12 section.  The section featured 43 players, which is the largest for the K-12 section at any local open scholastic tourney in your editor’s recent memory (the 53 player GSL individual championship at Mt. Spokane in 2001 may be the largest).

Winterfest (Deer Park, Jan. 23, 2010)

by Dr. James Stripes

Arcadia Elementary School’s eighth Winterfest Scholastic attracted eighty-seven players from more than twenty schools. Competitors included an unrated player that has competed in her hometown of Baku, Azerbaijan, but is new to scholastic chess in the United States. Those that travelled far played well, as did some of the younger players.

 In the twenty-three player 7-12 section, the three elementary age competitors all scored at least three points. Sixth grader Nathan Arthurs placed second behind North Central senior Ben Blue. Gonzaga Prep junior Nikolay Bulakh tied Arthurs, but had weaker tie-breaks. In fourth place Sandpoint seventh grader Savanna Naccarato won the prize for best under 1300. Second grader Braxton Casey—likely the youngest competitor ever in the 7-12 section of Spokane area tournaments—placed second in under 1300 as one of seven players tied for fifth through eleventh place. Deer Park sophomore Dane Lindh, also in that group, won the prize for biggest upset.

Teams in high school/middle school were small, and the top middle school teams benefitted from the participation of elementary students playing up. Three teams finished with the same score. North Central took home the trophy for top high school. Northwood triumphed on tie-breaks over Lincoln of Pullman for the middle school trophy.

In the Elementary team competition, the top three teams finished in the order that has become a pattern through recent tournaments. Saint George’s won first with players averaging four points each. Lake Spokane was second, and Arcadia placed third.

Individual trophies in elementary went to grand champions Ayshan Aliyeva in 4-6 and Nikhil Chaudhry in K-3. Shay Hutyler was the top sixth grader. Cyril Berndt finished without a loss, drawing Aliyeva in the final round to win top fifth grader (Aliyeva had better tie-breaks as all of her opponents scored at least three points). Zeph Johnson earned the trophy for top fourth grader (the only other player in his grade that scored three or more was the grand champion). Due to the strength of the fifth graders at the top, trophies went to Brandon Hill, second in fifth grade; Jacob Gifford, third; and Ryan Walker, fourth. Kindergartner Garrett Casey won a trophy for fifth place overall in the 4-6 section. Robert Bolton won biggest upset in 4-6.

Bolton’s teammate Lucas Keller won biggest upset in K-3. Those scoring four points in K-3 each won first in grade: Jack Martin, third grade; Jacob Keyes, second grade; and Dawson Jury, first grade. The top kindergartner in K-3 was Ethan Wu, playing in his first tournament. Trophies also went to second graders Connor Lester, second place; Sarah Wu, third; and Marshall Starbuck, second place in third grade. All players scoring three or more that did not win trophies took home medals, as did kindergartners scoring two or more.

GSL Individual Championship (Ferris H.S., Jan. 22)  

Mead Junior Taylor Coles captured the title with a perfect 4.0 score to best the field of 19.  Second place resulted in a five-way tie among Ryan Ackerman, Nikolay Bulakh, George Joslin, Richard Schumacher, and Khoi Thai.  A single elimination blitz play-off ensued, with Ackerman and Joslin meeting in the end.  It took three games before Ryan broke through in a sudden death game (Ryan, with white, had an extra minute on the clock, while George had draw-odds).  That left Mead with the two top trophies! The biggest upset trophy went to Ferris’s Dan Berg, who claimed a 781 point upset victory.

Solstice Sacrifice (St. Georges, Dec. 12)

by Chris Copeland

Seventy six scholastic players found refuge from a very cold December day pushing wood at Saint George’s School. 

 In both the K-3 and 4-6 divisions, the champions repeated their perfect performance at the Black Knight’s Joust in Deer Park.  Kindergartener Garrett Casey continues to be unflappable, defeating the number two and number three players in the last two rounds.  Garrett is now over 300 points higher rated than the next best players in the K-3!

Knocking at his door though were Saint George’s team mates, Nikhil Chaudry and Jack Martin, both third graders.  Although Jack was on board one for the final round and both players only lost to Garrett,  he took second in 3rd grade behind Nikhil based on tiebreaks! Better root on your opponents after you beat them.  By coming into the tournament with a higher rating than Jack, Nikhil got to play slightly more challenging opponents.

The big news in both the K-3 and the 4-6 was the huge turnout from Lake Spokane Elementary : 20 players out of the field of  51!   This caused team restrictions to be turned off as early as round 2 and several Lake Spokane kids found themselves playing their teammates.  Over a third of the K-3 were playing in their first tournament and one, Koh Micek from the newly formed Moran Prairie club took 2nd in 2nd grade.   We are told we’ll see a lot more tough competition coming out of  Moran Prairie.

In a move made possible by the new supply of chess clocks from last year’s State Championship, the entire 4-6 section was required to play their games on clocks. Inevitably many kids played more quickly than they should have just because the clock made them think they had to hurry, but by the third game the pace of play had returned to normal.  We hope this tournament practice better prepares our area kids for State.  By the time they get there they should be quite comfortable with the clock ticking away beside them and we won’t see people throw their brains out the window just because they are being timed!  It was notable that most of the losers used considerably less time than their opponents.  4 point winner Braxton Casey playing in the 4-6 as a 2nd grader(!) consistently used more of his 30 minutes than any other player in the section …Hmmm.

The chess Club from Grace Lutheran in Wenatchee also brought a strong contingent with all the Berndt’s (Gregory – 3rd grade, 4th place; Cyril, 5th grade 4thplace; and Titus, 2nd place Middle School).  For the first time in many years we saw the Desmarais brothers (also Grace Lutheran) show up at a scholastic tournament.  Not surprisingly, they were paired in the final round and …DREW in an opposite colored bishop ending.  Peter Schumaker, playing up in the 7-12 went undefeated, drawing two games and coming in third overall and number 1 for Middle school.  Notably absent this week were Ryan Ackerman of Mead who broke his shoulder the day before snowboarding and Richard Schumaker who was at a swim meet.  A notable break through tournament was had by SGS Junior John Gunn, winning 4 points to take 3rd in HS and scoring the largest upset (312 points).  Even more spectacular, fifth grader Andrew Akins from Evergreen Elementary popped off a 466 point upset in the first round followed by two others over 200 points for a cumulative of  923 upset points in a single tournament.  I guess his rating is going up!

North Idaho Fall Chess Tournament (Coeur d’Alene, Nov. 21))

        Turnout was small, but big things are expected in the near future as scholastic organizers are already planning a second event.  There were 15 players, spread across five divisions, in the inaugural event.  The winners are:Subject: North Idaho Fall Chess Tournament Results

Adult Division:                          Score

1st James Stripes                         5

2nd Eric Edmonds                        4

9 – 12 Grades Division               Score

1st Kairav Joshi                           4

2nd Johah Gookin                        3

3rd Matt Geddes                          2

4th Jacob Dolan                          1.5

5th Lauren Speirs                         1

K – 8th  Grade Division             Score

1st Savanna Naccarato                  3

2nd Jack Lyon                              2

3rd Ben Geddes                           0.5

* Each player played 5 games even though there weren’t that many people in all divisions. Players played out of division but the best scorer in each division decided who won.

Black Knights Joust (Deer Park, Nov.7)

by Dr. James Stripes 

Seventy-nine players from fourteen schools participated in the Black Knights’ Joust in Deer Park on Saturday, November 7. The turnout was a little better than expected due to competition from alternatives that kept some of the area’s top players away: the Whitworth Writing Rally, swine flu vaccinations, karate, and debate. Rogers High School made its first appearance in chess competition is several years, and their top performer Riqi Silva scored a respectable three points.

 In the team competition, North Central edged Ferris by one-half a point to capture the high school trophy. Lincoln Middle School from Pullman, strengthened by two sixth graders playing up, prevailed over Saint George’s on tiebreaks for the middle school trophy. In elementary, team trophies went to the top three teams. Saint George’s won first place easily, while Lake Spokane took second by one-half point over third place Arcadia.

 The top seeds had a rough day in the individual competition. In 7-12, Ryan Ackerman drew second seed Richard Schumaker in their last round encounter, and Schumaker won first on tiebreaks—his opponents collectively scoring one-half point more than Ackerman’s.

 The top rated player in K-3 was kindergartner Garrett Casey. Casey beat the Grand Champion, Connor Lester from Wenatchee, in the final round but lost to third-grader Daniel Arthurs, and drew third-grader Jack Martin (first place, grade three). Casey placed third overall and won the first place kindergarten trophy. Lester’s fourth round victory over Jacob Keyes assured him of the Grand Champion trophy before his battle with Casey; Keyes placed second overall thanks to his victory over Nikhil Chaudhry in round five, and took home the trophy for first place in second grade. Ten of the sixteen players in K-3 were third graders, but Martin’s fourth place overall was the top finish for the oldest students in that section.

 In the 4-6 division, the top seed was second-grader Braxton Casey who opted to play up for the challenge. He lost to Collin Cremers, Grand Champion, in round three, then drew second seed Michael Thew (first place, sixth grade) in the final round. Thus, two sixth graders from Saint George’s finished at the top, and led their very strong team to victory. Two Lake Spokane fifth graders, Jacob Gifford and Andy Ames, placed third and fourth overall and took home trophies for best in their grade. Nine sixth graders and five fifth graders were added to the list of state qualifiers by scoring three or more. The top fourth grader, Connor Cremers, scored 2.5 in a strong field.


Scholastic Event Reports 2008-2009

Easter Eve (April 11)

    A late season addition to the schedule, the Easter Eve drew 55 players to St. Georges on April 11.  There were perfect 5.0 scores in each section.  Braxton Casey, a first grader, won the K-3, while sixth grader Savannah Naccaroto won the K-6 section.  St. Georges senior Michael Cambareri completed a distinguished scholastic career that included four national titles with a sweep of the K-12 section. 

Black Knights Quest (March 28)

    A total of 64 players turned out March 28 for the Black Knights Quest in Deer Park.  Section winners were Garrett Casey, Hunter Moses, and Tyson Lim scored 4.0 to win the K-3 section, Michael Thew (5.0) was perfect in winning the K-6, and Ryan Ackerman (4.5) topped the K-12 section.

Dragonslayer (March 7, 2009)

    A total of 74 players competed in the Dragonslayer on March 7 at St. Georges school.  Ryan Ackerman (4.5) topped the K-12 section, Timothy McAleer was a perfect 5-0 in winning the largest (34 player) section, the K-6, and Connor Cremers (4.5) won the K-3 section.

GSL Team Championship (March 6, 2009)

        For the third time in four years, Mead won the GSL championship held at Gonzaga Prep on March 6.  Five teams competed in a round robin event, with Mead facing the other undefeated team, Ferris, in the final round. The Panthers blitzed the Saxons 5-0 to easily claim the first place trophy.  Ferris finished second, and Prep edged the undermanned Lewis & Clark team (only 3 players) for third place.  Mead first board Ryan Ackerman was a perfect 4-0 and won the trophy for the outstanding individual performance.

        North Central fielded a team for the first time in several years and all are hopeful that they have returned one of the city’s biggest chess programs to active status.  There were only a few seniors scattered among the five teams, so every team will return at least four players next year.  Defending champion St. Georges was unable to field a team when most of their players went to a robotics competition in Portland.

Champion Mead (Vanessa Henzler, Ryan Ackerman, Bryce McCandless, Taylor Coles, and Jimmy Derocher) (photo by coach James Stripes).

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (February 14, 2009)

        There were 87 in attendance February 14 at St. Georges for the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, the event scheduled as a make-up for the snow-cancelled Solstice Sacrifice (trophies for the Solstice were handed out for this event).   Sectional winners were first grader Braxton Casey in K-3 with a 4.5 score, sixth grader Ben Reich with a perfect 5-0 in the 44 player K-6 section, and freshman Richard Schumaker in K-12 with another 4.5 score.  The cross tables are posted below.

GSL Individual Championship (February 13, 2009)

   St. Georges senior Michael Cambareri won the GSL Individual Championship held at Ferris High School on February 13 with a perfect 5-0 score.  He edged defending champion Ryan Ackerman in a tight fourth round contest before topping Ben Blue in round five.  Ferris juniors Khoi Thai and Khai Le, who are cousins, tied for second with 4-1 scores.  Khoi edged Khai in a blitz play-off game to decide the second and third place trophies.

Winterfest (January 17, 2009)  

Winterfest was the largest Spokane area scholastic tournament so far this year with 109 competitors from twenty-two schools. More than a dozen volunteers helped set-up, sold food, assisted with judging, and performed many other tasks large and small. The children were well behaved models of good sportsmanship. Whether winning, drawing, or losing, they all had fun, and learned too. We expect the size of this event will seem small in comparison to the Groundhog Gambit in February, and the Washington State Elementary just three months away should be more than ten times as large. Saint George’s School prevailed over the two largest teams–Lake Spokane Elementary and Arcadia–to win first in the team competition for K-6. Arcadia was second, and Lake Spokane, third. The middle school team trophy also went to Saint George’s, who edged Deer Park Home Link for the honor. Mead beat Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City High School to capture the high school team trophy. All K-6 players scoring three or more, and every kindergarten player took home a medal or trophy. Trophies went to: Grand Champion K-3 Nikhil Chaudhry Biggest Upset K-3 Robert Bolton Kindergarten Garrett Casey 1st place Hana Hill 2nd place First grade Braxton Casey 1st place Treffry Owen 2nd place Second grade Daniel Arthurs 1st place Grant Starkey 2nd place Third grade Connor Cremers 1st place Luther Shinew 2nd place Grand Champion 4-6 Daniel Gimbel Biggest Upset 4-6 Andy Ames Fourth grade Shea Bryan 1st place Brandon Hill 2nd place Fifth grade Ricky Sato 1st place Shelby Keller 2nd place Sixth grade Joseph Verchota 1st place Savanna Naccarato 2nd place In the MS/HS division the players competed for gift cards instead of trophies. Ryan Ackerman, the grand champion, won a $50 card. Kashif Ravasia won a $25 card for 2nd, and Bryant Baird took home a $10 Borders card for 3rd place. In the under 1100 category, 1st went to John Chilberg ($25 gift card) and Garrison Colvin was 2nd ($10 card). Kevin Cao had the biggest upset and received a $10 Borders card.

Black Knights Joust  (October 18, 2008)

Prize Winners and Cross table:

Awards list: K-3Grand Champion: Nikhil ChaudhryFirst Place Kindergarten: Nicholas DawsonFirst Place First Grade: Connor LesterFirst Place Second Grade: Daniel ArthursFirst Place Third Grade: Katie ThewBest Unrated: Tyson LimBiggest Upset: Branson Garske 4-6Grand Champion: Titus BerndtFirst Place Fourth Grade: Cyril BerndtFirst Place Fifth Grade: Michael ThewFirst Place Sixth Grade: Jaxon LindauerBest Unrated: Savanna NaccaratoBiggest Upset: Michael Thayer-Webb 7-12Grand Champion: Ryan AckermanFirst Place Seventh Grade: Kashif RavasiaFirst Place Eighth Grade: Kevin CaoFirst Place Ninth Grade: Richard SchumakerFirst Place Tenth Grade: Taylor ColesFirst Place Eleventh Grade: Ben BlueFirst Place Twelfth Grade: Michael CambareriBest Unrated: Bryant BairdBiggest Upset: John Gunn All other players scoring 3.0 or more in all sections received medals, as did Chiara Ravasia who tied for first in First grade, but did not get the trophy due to tiebreaks.