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Mission San Jose Dominates at CalChess Scholastic Chess Super State Championships Print E-mail
By Joe Lonsdale   
May 5, 2012
MSJE dominated the tournament by sweeping all four Elementary school sections. Photo Richard Shorman

Students from all over California and around the world competed in the CalChess Scholastic Chess Super State Championships at the Santa Clara Convention Center on April 21 and 22. It was a much stronger tournament than last year with 13 Masters and Experts, up from six Masters and Experts in 2011. This year’s champions deserve extra recognition for winning against stronger competition than ever before. The attendance was down from last year mostly in the K-3 unrated section. It was certainly all about quality, not quantity.

Mission San Jose Elementary School (MSJE) dominated the team competition as they swept all four Elementary School sections. Three players from Berkeley Chess School earned individual State Championships.

Joshua Cao (2050, Moraga Intermediate & Berkeley Chess School) and Sudarshan Seshadri (1835, Los Gatos High) tied for first place in the High School Championship section. Sudarshan Seshadri is the Northern California Denker representative at the tournament of High School champions because Joshua Cao is in Grade 8. Daniel Zheng, Edward Li, Colin Chow, Evan Ye, Hunter Klotz-Burwell, and Vikram Ganesh tied for third place with 4.5 points each.

Mission San Jose High trailed Monta Vista High of Cupertino all weekend in the High School Championship section. However, in the last round Mission San Jose team scored three points to overtake Monta Vista and win by a half point. Vincent Tian's (1755, Mission San Jose) upset win over Kevin Rosenberg (1982, Monta Vista) proved to be the turning point that gave Mission San Jose High a half point victory (16 to 15.5). All seven members of Mission San Jose High’s team are alumni of Mission San Jose Elementary (MSJE). This includes students of the two top chess teachers in Northern California, Richard Shorman and Michael Aigner. Vincent Tian and Hemang Jangle, students of Richard Shorman, and Athur Liou and James Kwok, students of Michael Aigner.

Jasper Deng (997, Ridgeview) won the High School Junior Varsity Championship. Gunn High School won the team competition in the section.

The Junior High Section featured five players rated over 2000 engaging in fierce battles in the last three rounds. Neel Apte (2093 Kennedy), last year’s Barber representative, held Udit Iyengar (Kennedy, 2069), his Kennedy Middle teammate, to a draw to seal the individual competition. While these two kids were battling for the championship, their parents were engaged in friendly talks outside the playing hall, setting a great example of sporting behavior. Iyengar drew with Alexander Feghhi (1775, JL Stanford Middle and Palo Verde Elementary alumnus) for second place after Fegghi won his last four games to rise above three experts with 4.5 points. Vignesh Panchanatham, Allan Beilin, Cameron Wheeler, Naveen Janarthanan, and Sophia Li tied for fourth place with 4.5 points.

Kennedy Middle School fielded a star-studded lineup of a Master and two Experts. This team was composed of some players from Regnart Elementary’s State and National Championship title runs. Kennedy also won the K-9 section of the National Junior High School Championships. They were enough to seal the Junior High team competition before the start of the last round, with an unassailable lead over a strong Hopkins Junior High team that won State Championships when they were at MSJE. Kennedy ended winning with a six-point lead. Lawson, Chaboya, and Horner followed in the next three positions.

Katherine Xia (887, Egan) and Joel Aguilar (638, Maywood) tied for first in Junior High Junior Varsity Championship. Egan Junior High won the team competition in the section as they have for many years.

The junior high school team competition was decided before the last round, but the individual competition, as usual, came down to the last round. However, it is not usual that the battle was between two teammates. Neal Apte (2093) had 5 points. He only needed a draw against Kennedy teammate Udit Iyengar to clinch the championship. Neal drew and won the K-8 individual championship. Neal took second place.
Siddharth Banik, Photo Richard Shorman

In the 4-6 Elementary Championship section, Siddharth Banik of Bowditch Middle School scored a perfect 6-0 to win the State Championship. Sayan Das and Shalin Shah (both of MSJE) tied for second place. Eric Zhu (MSJE), Alvin Kong (MSJE), and Rahul Srinivas (Bay Area Chess) tied for fourth place. MSJE kids made sure that they dominated the team competition. In fact, MSJE team had already sealed and delivered the team championship to their school at the end of the fourth (third last) round. Bowditch, Delmar, and St. Mark’s ended in the top four.

Ben Rood, Photo Richard Shorman
In the 4-5 Elementary Championship Section, Ben Rood (1677, Berkeley Chess School, Grade 2) scored a perfect 6-0 and beat a FIDE master on his way to the State Championship title. Rood won the Primary School Championship last year and represented the USA World Youth Competition in Brazil earlier this year. Dante Peterson came in second place with five points. Charles Lin (Foster City), Amit Sant (MSJE), and Kimberly Liu (Willet) tied for third place.

The 4-5 team competition was again dominated by the MSJE team led by Amit Sant, Drake Lin, and Ian Wong. Once again, MSJE team had already sealed and delivered the team championship to their school at the end of the fourth (third last) round. MSJE finished with 13.5 points. Willet Elementary (Davis, CA) came in second place with 7.5 and Duveneck Elementary (Palo Alto) came in third with 7 points.

Jwalin Shah (871, Star Knights) and Bharat Iyer (854, Vallejo Mill) tied for first in Elementary Junior Varsity Championship. Regnart Elementary won the team competition in the section as they have for many years.

In the Primary Championship Section, John Chan (1384, MSJE) earned his first State Championship. Balaji Dagupatti (1372, Quail Run) and Milind Maiti (1422, Collins) tied for second place. Advait Budaraju, Jason Zhang, Zarek Azam, and Daniel Mendelevitch tied for fourth place.

MSJE had already sealed the Primary Team Championship at the end of the third (fourth last) round and dominated the team competition in the K-3 Championship Division. The MSJE team ended with 13.5 points, more than twice the second place team.

Steven Camacho (776, American) won Primary Junior Varsity Championship. MSJE won the team competition in the section.
Kids liked the specially designed commemorative medal. Photo Richard Shorman 
David Iglesias (560, Vallejo Mill) and Kevin Pan (516, MSJE) shared the State Championship title in the Kindergarten section. Abdulhakim Moghaddam (Encinal), Madhav Brahmandam (Dunham, Maurya Palusa (NCHC), Amar Dhami (Stratford), and Abhay Anubolu tied for third place with 4 points each. Arman Azhar (275, Wilson Preschool) and Derek Fu (unrated) were the two top Pre-K students with 3 points each. Chinguun Bayaraa (1391, Bay Area Chess), the reigning Kindergarten champion, decided to play in the Primary Championship.

IM David Pruess gave free lessons and simuls. Photo Richard Shorman 
MSJE and Vallejo Mill tied for the Kindergarten team championship with 13.5 points each. Regnart came in third place and Harker came in fourth place.

MSJE swept K-6 team championship at the Super States. Earlier, MSJE won six of seven K-6 sections at the State Grade Level Championships in December. It was no surprise that MSJE also dominated the elementary school sections at these championships.

This was a very well run tournament. The rounds started on time and even the trophy presentations went very well. The rulings were always fair and the atmosphere was very congenial. Congratulations to Salman Azhar and his entire team. Thanks for continuing to invest time and money in this wonderful CalChess tradition.