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It's New York vs. Texas in Houston Print E-mail
By Macauley Peterson   
December 9, 2007
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Karina Vazirova of the Universiy of Texas at Dallas. Photo Betsy Dynako.
"Up and down the grades, one trend stands out: It's New York Vs. Texas at this years championship."

Houston, 12:01 AM, Sunday, December 8

Just past midnight, heading into the final day of the K-12/Collegiate Championship, a veritable posse of coaches (myself included) from New York's Hunter College begins its annual Saturday late-night ritual at the wall charts. The sheriff is Sunil Weeramantry and together we're gathering intelligence.

We have teams in most grades, six of which are among the top five after 5 rounds of play. 9th grade may be our best chance at a First Place as we cling to a half point edge over Arizona's Gilbert High School. 5th grade is going to be a nail biter; Hunter is tied with T.H. Rogers, a local Houston favorite on 10.5 points, with five other teams within one and a half points of the lead. The remaining grades are an outside shot at best.

Up and down the K through 12, however, one trend stands out: It's New York Vs. Texas at this years championship. The "old guard," schools like New York's Horace Mann, Dalton and Hunter have fielded strong teams for decades, and younger programs such as Columbia Grammar and I.S. 318 now join the bi-annual pilgrimage to Nationals around the country. But this year more Texas teams top the charts than those from the Big Apple.

No doubt the home-court advantage (read: easy and affordable travel arrangements) plays a role, but the teams fielded by the likes of Canyon Vista Middle School from Austin, Houston's Village School, and the aforementioned T.H. Rogers are turning in impressive scores. Canyon Vista leads in both 6th and 8th grades with 12.5 points (out of a possible 15). T.H. Rogers is on top in 1st as well as 5th grades on 10.5 points.

Texas and New York are dueling it out as well in, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 8th grades with surprisingly few interlopers bucking the trend. 4th grade, strangely, is all New York, with Ramaz and P.S. 6 joining Hunter, Columbia Grammar, and Horace Mann (with a strong lead) atop the standings.

Dalton is unusually weak here, with several stronger players staying home, according to their coach, David MacEnulty. Columbia Grammar has strength in numbers: Thirty-three kids -- the largest of any squad.

Sunil decides to turn in. A welcome surprise for us -- wrapping up before 1:00 AM is an early night. We'll take our shots in the lone star state tomorrow. Anything can happen on the final day.

Game Highlights


Here are some interesting games from the leaders so far. To see more games, go to Monroi's coverage of the K-12.

In tenth grade Shinsau Uesugi (2007 Japanese Champion!), is leading with 4.5/5.



Igor Schneider and Keaton Kiewra are tied for the lead in the Collegiate section, with 4.5/5 each. They face off in round six.





In the 5th grade section, recent silver medalist in the Girls Under 12 World Youth Sarah Chiang has 4.5/5 (as does Ellen Xiang who also played in the Girls Under 12), but Jarod Pamatmat, who played in the Boys Under 10 section of the World Youth is on top along with Kevin Rosenberg with 5/5. Kevin is from New York, and Jarod is from Texas, so even in the individual standings, the New York-Texas theory holds true.



In the 12th grade section, Denker champion Warren Harper from Texas is leading with 5/5.

Macauley Peterson recently earned his Masters in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He's coaching for Hunter, his alma mater, for the 10th year, has traveled to Nationals as a player or coach for over 20 years, and can be reached at www.MacauleyPeterson.com. Check for more K-12/Collegiate coverage Monday, with tons of photos by Betsy Dynako. Also look for the March issue of Chess Life Magazine for an article on the event by Elizabeth Vicary.  
 
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