USCF Home Chess Life Online 2008 May Elementary Team Predictions
|Elementary Team Predictions|
|By Elizabeth Vicary|
|May 8, 2008|
In a follow-up to her Nationals Preview article , coach of championship team, I.S. 318 Elizabeth Vicary predicts who will win the Elementary Nationals team competition this coming weekend.
So who’s going to win the team competition at the Elementary Nationals (Pittsburgh, May 9-11)? Of all the Nationals, this is always the largest, the most unpredictable, and usually the most competitive. New York looks likely to dominate this year, as many of strongest teams from Texas are not preregistered. However, for the first time in recent memory, the powerhouse Hunter lacks a superstar first board (previously Thaler, Getz), so many new schools have a shot at a title.
Horace Mann 1584 1528 1478 1470 1444 1294 936 723
Hunter 1633 1417 1371 1341 1292 1190 1117 1107 1002 991 804
PS 124 1631 1352 1319 1314 1291 1144 1073 1011 1007 1002
CES 70 1416 1416 1248 1202 1197 1086 1080 1076
PS 31 1285 1250 1214 1150
Cash Elementary (TX) 1210 1152 1129 1026 974
Hunter and Horace Mann are the clear frontrunners in this section. Hunter is a selective public school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, coached by the renown Sunil Weermantry and a capable staff. Less than a mile away, Horace Mann is a private school whose chess program is run by the Kids’ Chess Network. Instructors include GMs Nick DeFirmian and John Fedorowicz. It’s a very close call, but I think I would give a tiny nod to Horace Mann’s deep consistency (5 14/1500s and a 6th 1200) over Hunter’s high rated 1600 with a 1400 and multiple 11-1300s. Having the highest rated player doesn’t constitute such a large advantage when the player isn’t among the very top in his section: having a perfect scorer makes a team very hard to beat, but someone ranked 16th isn’t a huge edge, since the kid can easily be paired up twice. Additionally, I have to give Horace Mann respect after their convincing victories this year at Grade Nationals and the New York State Scholastics.
Running a close third are the Panda Pawns of PS 124, a public school in New York’s Chinatown coached by WIM Olga Sagalchik and Evgeny Feldman. Somewhat further behind are CES 70 and PS 31, both Chess-in-the-Schools programs in the Bronx and Brooklyn, respectively (124 is also a CIS school). PS 124 gets a hefty percentage over CES 70 because of their much stronger history of performing well at Nationals. Cash Elementary looks like the biggest threat to New York in this section, but they’ll really have to play well.
Horace Mann 38%
PS 124 15%
CES 70 8%
PS 31 2%
Dalton 1769 1574 1526 1284 1243 1020 841
318 1677 1509 1465 1432 1295 1262
Columbia Grammar 1598 1408 1334 1308 1053 1036 581 505
NYC Lab School 1653 1620 1257 1184 822
Hunter 1577 1341 1296 1180 1166
Magellan Day School (WI) 1592 1288 1148 886 736 605
Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country, seems like the team to beat in K-6. They have a two important aces, super-talented coaching staff (David MacEnulty, GM Miron Sher and WGM Alla Grinfeld), and a super-talented first board, James Shao. My school, IS 318, won the section last year, but this doesn’t mean much, since we’re a 6-8 school so every year we bring a completely different set of kids. This year’s sixth graders are much less consistent, but probably deeper and possibly more talented than last year’s. I like their chances. Columbia Grammar, NYC Lab School, and the older half of the Hunter team are closely grouped in third; of these schools, Columbia Grammar gets a slight edge for their extra depth. The top non-NY school I found on the preregistration list was Wisconsin’s Magellan Day School. I give them an outside shot since it’s probably much harder to make a kid 1600 in Wisconsin.
I had percentages here, but my former assistant coach, Greg Shahade, demanded that I removed them for reasons so complicated I only half understood them.
Horace Mann 1649 1326 1257 1243
Americo Paredes (TX) 1302 1219 1194 1059 971 936 768 674
Hunter 1426 1050 1018 1010 940 915 871
PS 116 1575 1183 1076 788
Columbia Grammar 1247 1205 1036 940 896
PS 124 1209 1057 998 863 853 803
I’m lucky that this section is an easy one to call, because predicting the results of teams comprised of eight year old children in a large Swiss is risky business at best. But I’m off the hook, since defending champ Horace Mann looks absolutely dominant in this section. While it’s always slightly risky to have only four players on a team, I can’t imagine a 1200 getting less than 4 points even if a few disasters strike.
Americo Paredes, a consistently strong elementary team from Brownsville, Texas, tied for first in the K-5 section last year. This year their primary team is the school’s best chance at a title. Along with Hunter, PS 116, and Columbia Grammar, they are Horace Mann’ closest competitors. PS 124 has no realistic shot at winning first, but with several good performances they can hope to come in the top five.
Horace Mann 68%
Americo Paredes 10%
Columbia Grammar 7%
Please accept my sincerest apologies if I have left a team or player out.
Keep checking CLO for onsite coverage from the Elementary Nationals by Betsy Dynako and a blog from a parent's perspective, Mark Schein. You can check the updated standings and pairings throughout the event . Also go to Monroi.com to watch the games live.