Nation's Top Chess Kids to Battle in Online Invitational
By IM David Pruess   
May 31, 2012
Jeffrey-Xiong.jpg
Jeffrey Xiong, from the 2011 US Chess School in Saint Louis

16 of the U.S.A.'s top young chess talents will be participating in two new invitational competitions June 8-10: the Chesskid.com U.S. under-12 Invitational and the Chesskid.com U.S. under-8 Invitational. The matches will be covered via internet streaming video (schedule below), with a child audience in mind, by IM David Pruess, Expert David Petty, and IM Daniel Rensch. The two 8-player sections will each be played in a round robin format-- each player plays each other player one time-- with the pairings known weeks in advance.

There is a boom coming in the quality of young chess players in the U.S., but for the moment there are few or no opportunities for the youngest talents to practice playing in such "closed" tournaments, where you face only strong players, and know all your opponents in advance. Such events are both good for a player's development, and extremely common at professional levels, so it's high time that younger American players have a chance to play in them. The response was extremely positive, as almost all the top eligible players decided to participate. Here are the fields:

Under-12

Jeffery Xiong 2394
Jonathan Chiang 2216
Tommy He 2202
Cameron Wheeler 2190
Ruifeng Li 2179
Roland Feng 2179
Albert Lu 2154
Udit Iyengar 2075

Some notes on this section:

- FOUR of the players compete at the Dallas Chess Club! This is a sign of the quality of the programs being run there. A question for the tournament: how will their familiarity with each other play into the results?

- Jeffery Xiong has a large rating lead over his age-mates. How good is the 11-year old? Try to judge for yourself from this game he played a few days ago:
 


Under-8

Ben Rood 1733
Jason Metpally 1689
Joaquin Perkins 1654
Daniel Levkov 1600
Ethan Tang 1569
Rohan Suryawanshi 1565
Roshan Idnani 1532
Taran Idnani 1531

Some notes on this section:
- The rating spread in this section is pretty tight; furthermore, the ratings of the participants have fluctuated quite a bit just in the last couple months. So it is very hard to predict any favorites.
- We have a pair of twins playing! Will the brothers share their impressions of the other players, thus improving their results?
- In 2013, the under-8 event will probably be replaced by an under-9. How many of the participants will be back next year?

Prizes

$2000 of Private lessons have been purchased from some of the nation's top chess coaches: GM Gregory Kaidanov, Elizabeth Vicary, GM Gregory Serper, IM Danny Rensch, GM Magesh Panchanathan, GM Josh Friedel, FM Alex Betanelli, IM John Bartholomew, FM Todd Andrews, FM Craig Jones, GM Sam Shankland, GM Babakuli Annakov, and IM David Pruess. Each participant will get some lesson(s). Also, each participant will get a one year diamond membership on chess.com, with access to a vast stock of learning materials (although three young participants have already earned free memberships by earning their Master titles!).

Watch Live

The games will be played on chess.com, so they can be observed in live chess there. A much better way to watch would be the live commentary here, with the show designed for an audience of children, though others will be able to enjoy it as well. The schedule is (all times Pacific):

June 8: 4 pm
June 9: 9 am, 1 pm, 5pm
June 10: 9 am, 1pm, 5pm

The show will be hosted by chesskid.com's three Content managers: PlayfulSquirrel (aka IM Pruess), PinkHamster (aka Expert Petty), and PoppaBear (aka IM Rensch).

Rules

The time control is 90 minutes for the game, plus 5 seconds added each move. In the event of a tie, a player with 4 blacks will be ahead of a player with 4 whites on tie-break; else they will be considered co-champions. There will be no takebacks in the event of mouseslips.
Sponsor

The tournament is sponsored entirely by Chesskid.com. Chesskid is designed to be a safe place for children to play online, with technology from Chess.com, like Tactics Trainer and Computer Workout, and with its own content (video, article, etc.) geared towards kids and parents and coaches.
If you are interested in being a sponsor of this event next year, please contact the organizer, David Pruess.

Other Acknowledgements

I would like to extend a big thank you to the following chess clubs and tournament directors who made this event possible by hosting the players: the Dallas Chess Club, Luis Salinas, the Seattle Chess Club, Fred Kleist, Dan Matthew, the Berkeley Chess School, Chess Palace, Alfredo and Anthony Ong, the Chess Club of Fairfield County, Chess Emporium, and Dean Ippolito and his Dean of Chess Academy. They not only make the event much more official, but provide the local chess public with the opportunity of watching these young stars play live. If you live near any of these chess clubs/schools, you can contact them about going to watch.

If you have any other questions about the event, please contact organizer IM David Pruess, via email: dpruess at chess.com.