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Elementary Team Predictions Print E-mail
By Elizabeth Vicary   
May 8, 2008
P.S. 124 from New York, with coach Olga Sagalchik in the back.

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%
Hunter 35%
PS 124     15%
CES 70  8%
PS 31  2%
Cash 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%
Hunter 9%
116 7%
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.


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