Posts Tagged ‘Ben Rood’

On the Eve of Greatness: Part Three

April 5, 2013

It has now been several years since I first reported on the three California chess prodigies that I had the pleasure of coaching during the 2010 school year. My first article, “On The Eve of Greatness: Three California Chess Prodiogies Competing in their First National Chess Championship” shined the national spotlight onto Milind Maiti, Chenyi Zhao and Ben Rood. Since then,  the United States has been honored to have all three players selected to represent their country at World Youth Chess Championship Tournaments. “On The Eve of Greatness: Part Two,” followed the adventures of Ben Rood and Milind Maiti in Slovenia at the World Youth Chess Championship in 2012. This weekend, all three are entered to play in k-3 Championship division of

Chenyi's chess future is as bright as her beautiful smile.

Chenyi’s chess future is as bright as her beautiful smile.

the USCF Supernationals in Nashville, Tennessee.

Milind Maiti, is a first rate chess talent who, sadly for this coach, no longer attends Collins Elementary School. However, any student I have ever coached, I remain a fan of for life. Besides, Milind’s natural chess abilities and pleasant personality make it virtually impossible not to be a fan of his chess.

I still play chess with Chenyi Zhao every Thursday at Achiever Institute in Fremont, California. Even after all these years, I still am constantly impressed with her chess prowess and work ethic. After I play a game with Chenyi, she usually volunteers to help my four year old daughter improve her chess game as well. I have no doubt that Chenyi’s chess future is as bright as her beautiful smile.

Ben Rood is scary good at chess. He has already won a couple National Championships but after barely missing a medal in Slovenia, Ben definitely has something to prove. When he has his “A” game going there is no one his age that can match his ability at chess. I predict another top finish for Ben in Nashville and a medal run at the next World Youth Chess Championships in Dubai.

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Eight Year Old Wins Big in Las Vegas

December 31, 2012
Torres Chess & Music Academy, Inc. 16691 Colonial TrailLathrop, CAPhone (661) 699-8348

Chesslessons@aol.com

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 31, 2012

Eight Year Old Wins Big in Las Vegas

(Las Vegas, Nevada, December 26-30, 2012)When Ben Rood walks through a casino in Las Vegas it isn’t to win money on the Craps Tables but instead at the chess board.  Ben Rood is still too young at age eight to play the games the casino offers but not too young , as it turns out, to win $2000 playing chess in the North American Open at Bally’s.

Ben Rood and Kevin Chor, Round 4

Ben Rood faces off against his friend Kevin Chor in round 4.

The 22nd Annual North American Open was held at Bally’s Casino Resort, Las Vegas. Competition was fierce with nearly 100 people in the under 1700 section. Of those were several recognizable names including former Scholastic National Championship tournament director Richard Peterson, professional chess coach Nephtali Diaz and seven year-old Kevin Chor. Kevin, who was the only player younger than Ben in the section, ended up finishing in eleventh place which, oddly enough, was the same place he finished at the World Youth Chess Championships a month earlier. In round 4, it was Ben Rood and Kevin Chor who sat on the top board ahead of all the other adult challengers. In a hard fought battle, Ben Rood was able to conduct a winning assault on Kevin’s king and thus vanquished his impressive rival. Later in the tournament, Nephtali Diaz and Richard Peterson were just able to hang on to a draw against the impressively aggressive Ben Rood. The tournament finished with Ben Rood scoring 6/7 and tying for first with Richard Peterson and Edgardo Miranda.

Ben Rood’s chess coach Chris Torres was impressed but not surprised by Ben’s performance:

“I figured Ben was going to win this tournament. He is a once in a lifetime talent and has wonderful support from his mothers Robin Hultgren and Lisa Rood. When you see first hand his talent level, passion and work ethic it is hard to be surprised when he wins. Having said this, I am very impressed by his effort and I believe he is the youngest player ever to win the under 1700 section at the North American Open. “

As with most things in his life, Ben Rood already had a plan for what he would buy when he won. Using a small portion of his winnings, Ben  purchased a large radio-control helicopter which will be making its maiden flight in Ben’s home town of Walnut Creek, California within days.

Richard Peterson, Ben Rood and Edgardo Miranda tied for first place.

Richard Peterson, Ben Rood and Edgardo Miranda tied for first place.

Bay Area Kids Dominate at the World Youth Chess Championship

November 19, 2012

Cameron Wheeler vs Samuel Sevian from Round 10 (photo by Rob Wheeler)

Young chess players from the San Francisco Bay Area took Maribor, Slovenia by storm this November. Their dominating performance at the World Youth Chess Championships once again proved that the best scholastic chess in the country takes place in Northern, California.

Cameron Wheeler’s silver medal performance at the 2012 World Youth Chess Championship is the top chess achievement for the remarkable Cupertino twelve year old. Chris Torres, Scholastic Director for Calchess, could not be prouder of Cameron’s performance:

“What Cameron was able to accomplish at the 2012 World Youth Chess Championship was simply remarkable. For several, years fans of Northern California chess have watched Cameron blossom into the incredible chess player he is. Now there is no doubt that his name belongs listed with the greatest chess players California has ever produced.”

Cameron was the sole leader at the 2012 World Youth Chess Championships for many rounds and was only eclipsed late in the tournament by fellow Northern California chess prodigy Samuel Sevian.

Samuel Sevian was a favorite among chess analysts to win gold at the 2012 World Youth Chess Championship for the twelve and under group. Sam, a Santa Clara resident, became the youngest U.S. player ever to achieve the title of chess master when he was just nine years old. Now at age 12, he proved himself to be the best chess player in world by defeating his friend, Cameron Wheeler, in a hard fought round 10. According to Chris Torres, “The amazing thing about Sam is he never seems to be nearing his peak in chess. If he continues along this path, the soon to be International Master has a chance to accomplish achievements in chess not seen from an American since Bobby Fischer.”

The Bay Area was also very strong in the under eight section. Ben Rood, a Walnut Creek native, only missed earning a medal by a hair in his second attempt at winning the World Youth Chess Championships .  His 8/11 score was good enough to tie for fourth and place ninth over-all. His coach Chris Torres says of Ben’s performance:

“I know the kid really wanted to win this event so falling a little short was difficult for him. I am incredibly proud of his top ten performance which included defeating several FIDE titled players as well the European Gold Medalist in the final round. Had the pairings been a little kinder, I am sure he would be wearing a medal.”

Cameron, Samuel, and Ben are proudly carrying on a fine tradition of top level youth chess in the San Francisco Bay Area. If your child is interested in chess, Chris Torres recommends visiting his webpage www.ChessAndMusic.com as well as the main page for Calchess  which is http://www.Calchess.org.

World Youth Chess Championships 2012: Half Time for Team USA

November 13, 2012

Ben Rood likes his chances.

Today was the break day for the young chess players competing at the World Youth Chess Championships in Maribor, Slovenia. Team USA is particularly dominant in the U12 Open where American chess masters Samuel Sevian and Jeffrey Xiong are tied for first and will be playing on board 1 in round 7. Only a half point behind and tied for second place are fellow countrymen Cameron Wheeler and Bryce Tiglon. In the U10 Open, Aravind Kumar and Trung Nguyen are tied for third with 5/6.  Americans Annie Wang and Emily Nguyen will be playing each other on board 4 in the U10 Girls section. In the U8 Girls section,  Aasa Dommalapati has played extremely well and is tied for second with 5/6. Finally, in the U8 Open, Tan Nguyen, Balaji Daggupati and super-star Ben Rood are still hunting for Gold. With so many players from the United States having won 75% of the games or more through 6 rounds, it seems very likely that several members of the American delegation will be awarded medals on the podium after round 11.

World Youth Chess Championships 2012: Round 3 Preview

November 10, 2012

California’s top young chess stars are once again proving that the kids in the Golden State play world-class chess. Several remain undefeated and nearly all remain in contention for the gold after the first two rounds of the World Youth Chess Championships. Round 3 has some interesting match-ups. Here are the games to keep an eye on:

U8 Open

Board 18   Milind Maiti(California) vs  Mohan Kushagra

Board 34   Joaquin Perkins(California) vs Alexander Akhmetshin

Board 35   Andrea Becchi vs Ben Rood(California)

U12 Open

Board 1   Samuel Sevian(California) vs Timur Trubchaninov

Board 23  Martin Bergsjo  Ostby vs Kevin Moy(California)

Teaching Chess Improves Chess Creativity

October 18, 2012

Last night after a long day teaching chess which culminated with a private lesson for chess prodigy Ben Rood, I came home and decided to relax by playing a couple blitz games on FICS. As usual, I won a couple and lost a couple. In the past I have noticed that I have more creative ways of handling routine positions after I teach Ben. Last night was no exception. As proof, I offer a fun new approach for black in the Nimzowitsch Attack of Petroff’s Defense.

 

[Event “3 Minute Blitz Game”]

[Site “FICS”]

[Date “2012.10.17”]

[Round “?”]

[White “istvanka”]

[Black “chessmusings”]

[Result “0-1”]

[ECO “C42”]

[Opening “Russian Game”]

[Time “22:11”]

[Variation “Nimzowitsch Attack”]

[TimeControl “3 and 0”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 {This is Petroff’s Defense which can also be called the Russian game. As an opening, it is fairly easy to learn and a very solid choice against 1 e4.} 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 {The Nimzowitsch Attack is one of white’s more aggressive choices in the Petroff. After the exchange of knights white is left with plenty of open lines with which to attack black.} Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Bd3 Nd7 8. Be3 Nf6 {If white’s bishop was on f4 I might have tried Nc5. In our current position, 0-0 for black is quite sensible.} 9. Qd2 Be6 10. O-O-O {At this point, white’s pieces are more organized for attack than black’s. It’s a little surprising how quickly I change that.} Bxa2!? {This looks like a mistake but I have a unique plan involving the loss of my Bishop. My move is an invention for this position. Previously, black has tried Qd7 with mixed results.} 11. b3 a5! {The little “a” pawn needs to be taken very seriously.} 12. Kb2 a4 13. Kxa2? {Rda1 would have taken some of the sting out of my attack. White’s choice plays right into my hands.} axb3+ 14. Kb2? {14 Kxc3 needed to be played. Kb2 looks safe but Black has a surprise.} Ra2+ 15. Kxb3 Qa8 {This threatens mate with Qa4.} 16. Bb5+ c6 17. Kc4 {My opponent found the only way of extending the life of his king.} cxb5+ 18. Kd3 Qa6?! {Apparently, Qa4 was the much better choice because it threatens Qc4#.} 19. Ke2 b4+ 20. Ke1 b3 {18…Qa6 seems to be working out as well. Had white played 20 Kd3 I was ready with Rxc2+!} 21. Rc1? {When a player is under pressure they are more likely to make mistakes like this.} b2 22. Rb1 Ra1 23. Qd1 Ne4 {I am threatening Nxc3 which would be devastating.} 24. Bd4 Bf6 {and white resigned.} 0-1

Help Send Ben Rood to Slovenia

October 17, 2012

To the Supporters of Northern California Chess,

On November 2, 2012 California chess super-star Ben Rood will leave for Maribor, Slovenia in order to compete in the FIDE World Youth Chess Championships. Ben Rood asked his family to attend for support as he battles the best eight-year-olds from around the globe. A family trip to Slovenia is an expensive undertaking and I am asking California chess players to help him out. Please come and participate in the Send Ben Rood to Slovenia  scholastic chess tournament or give a small donation to the cause. The Torres Chess and Music Academy is donating all the awards for the tournament  and all money raised will go directly to Ben Rood’s family to offset costs associated with Ben participating in the 2012 World Youth Chess Championships.  Together we can make chess in Northern California better for everyone.

Sincerely,

Chris Torres

Calchess Scholastic Coordinator

President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy

Chess Coach for Ben Rood

 

Torres Chess and Music Academy, Inc. Presents:

SEND BEN ROOD TO SLOVENIA!

At the Contra Costa Jewish Day School – 955 Risa Rd., Lafayette,  94549

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

This November local super star Ben Rood will be representing the United States in the World Youth Chess Championship to be held in Maribor, Slovenia. Eight year old Ben would like to have his family there to support him as he battles the best eight year olds in the world for the title. All proceeds from this tournament will go directly to help send the Roods to Slovenia. Remember to bring cash as there will be a raffle for exciting chess prizes after the tournament.

Where: The Contra Costa Jewish Day School in Lafayette

When: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

What: Scholastic (K-12) 3 Round Quad – G/30

Cost: $25 to help send Ben to Slovenia. Raffle tickets are $5 each for the first 4 or 5 for $20

Trophies are awarded to top player(s) in each quad. All other players will receive medals.

USCF Rated Quad Format: All players must be USCF members, and understand USCF tournament rules.

To register for USCF pay an additional $17 for age 12 & under; $19 for age 15 and under; $25 for 16 to 24.

3 round Quad Format – Everyone plays 3 games against players in their quad. Quads are formed by making groups of four by rating. All sections will be Game in 30 min (each player). Sets and boards provided. Clocks will be provided, but players are encouraged to bring their own.

Round Times: Check In begins at 1:45 PM. There will be no late registration.

R 1 @ 2:30pm * R 2 @ 3:30pm * R 3 @ 4:30 pm *

Trophies and medals awarded at the conclusion of each quad

Entry Fees: $25  Make check payable to: TCAMA or APPLY ONLINE at http://www.chessandmusic.com

Information: Contact Chris Torres at Chesslessons@aol.com.

Website: http://chessandmusic.com/applications/view?id=5

 

 

2012 USCF National Elementary (K-6) Chess Championship : Day 1

May 12, 2012

Day one of the 2012 USCF National Elementary (K-6) Chess Championship is in the books. Several of California’s top chess players still remain undefeated.

In the K-1 Section Stephen He and Rishith Susarla scored 2/2.

In the K-3 Section Mihir Bhuptani, Tommy Koh, and Ben Rood also have perfect scores.

In the K-5 Section Amit Sant is victorious.

Finally in the K-6 section Alvin Kong is undefeated with 1.5/2.

Mission San Jose Elementary School ranks in the top 10 in 4 sections and is currently ranking second in the K-3 section.

This summer there is open enrollment to any children who would like to train with the Mission San Jose Elementary School players and coaches. The MSJE Summer Chess Camp will take place from June 25th through July 19th, 2012 in Fremont CA. For more information please visit www.chessandmusic.com. You can also contact Chris Torres by emailing chesslessons@aol.com

                        Mission San Jose Elementary School Chess Camp

Home of the 2009 NATIONAL ELEMENTARY CHESS CHAMPIONS!

 This camp will feature chess instruction by:

  • Joe Lonsdale (Head Coach of Mission San Jose Elementary School)
  • Francisco Anchondo (Team Coach)
  • Tans Hylkema (Team Coach for Collins Elementary School)
  • Chris Torres (President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy)

Our coaches will use their decades of chess teaching experience to create a summer camp that is fun, competitive and educational.  Attendees will receive the best training available and take part in USCF rated tournaments with awards given at the end of each week.

This class will meet from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Mondays through Thursdays,

June 25 to July 19 at Mission San Jose ES, 43545 Bryant St. Fremont, CA 94539. 

Name of child: _______________________________________   Grade:  ____  

Parents (Guardian) name(s):  _____________________________________

Address:  ____________________________________________________

City: ________________________________   California Zip:  __________

Telephone:  (___) _________   E-mail:  _____________________________

USCF ID: ______________   Rating:  _______ Date of Birth: ___/___/______              

CHESS SKILL LEVEL—PLEASE CHECK APPROPRIATE BOX

1 Absolute Beginner-doesn’t even know the pieces                    

1 Beginner-knows the names of the pieces and that is about all

1 Intermediate Beg-knows how to play and how to castle           

1 Advanced Beginner-knows how to play & even knows en passant

1 Experienced-has taken chess lessons                                       

1 Tournament-has played more than 25 games in US Chess Federation tournaments

I AM PAYING

WEEK/S ATTENDING

MULTI WEEK DISCOUNT

SUBTRACT AMOUNT BELOW FROM THE

FOR ONE WEEK  $185

JUNE 25 – JUNE 28

TOTAL WEEKS

FOR TWO WEEKS  $139

JULY 2,3, & 5

 -$20

FOR TWO WEEKS

FOR THREE WEEKS  $185

JULY 9 – JULY 12

 -$40

FOR THREE WEEKS

FOR FOUR WEEKS  $185

JULY 16 – JULY 19

 -$80

FOR FOUR WEEKS

$16 FOR A USCF MEMBERSHIP $

SUBTOTAL

$

                 TOTAL PAID

 

To apply online, or for more information on the TCAMA, please visit CHESSANDMUSIC.COM, or contact Chris Torres at chesslessons@aol.com.

The checks should be made payable to The TCAMA Inc. The fees for the chess program are nonrefundable after the class has begun. No refunds will be given for unscheduled student absences.

Please make the checks out to TCAMA Inc. and Mail them to:

The Torres Chess and Music Academy, 16691 Colonial Trail, Lathrop, CA 95330

2012 U.S.C.F. National Elementary (K-6) Chess Championship

May 11, 2012

Beginning May 11, Nashville Tennessee will host the 2012 U.S.C.F National Elementary Chess Championship. This is the paramount annual chess event for children ages 4-12. Below is a highly biased preview for this year’s event. The competitors listed in this article are all kids I have the pleasure of playing chess with on a weekly basis. What can I say . . . my job rocks!

Kids to Watch in the K-1

Collins Elementary first grader Milind Maiti possesses natural tactical abilities that are beyond anything one would expect from a player in high school! He is truly a chess prodigy of the highest level and will be a contender at the 2012 National Elementary Chess Championship.

MSJE kindergartener Kevin Pan is a rookie at this year’s Nation Elementary Chess Championship. Fresh from a State Championship win in California, Kevin is poised to make a big statement in Nashville.

MSJE student Rishith Susarla was nearly perfect at the USCF National k-12 Championship in 2011. If you talk with Rishith one of the first things you will notice is how quickly he speaks. When sitting across the chessboard from him, I often feel that he calculates much faster than the computer Deep Blue.

I first got to know Edwin Thomas (MSJE) at last year’s chess camp I ran at Mission San Jose Elementary School. Edwin progressed from a rookie to a trophy winner in just a few short weeks.

Amulya Harish (MSJE) and his father always seek me out at the local tournaments for extra instruction. I have no doubt that with his dedication he will quickly excel.

Rounding out the field for the fabulous MSJE K-1 chess team is Annapoorni Meiyappan, Aarti Abhijit Sant, and Stephen He.

Kids to Watch in the K-3

Luke Zhao is a third grader at MSJE and the only child from that school to be an official member of the Torres Chess and Music Academy All Star Team for the school year 2011-2012. Luke has played an important role in several successful championship runs for the MSJE team. Now he seems ready to play for his first individual championship.

Watch out for John Chan (MSJE) who recently claimed the title of K-3 champion at last month’s CalChess Scholastic Chess Championships.

Second grader Soorya Kuppam (MSJE) is my favorite opponent on Monday nights. It’s hard to believe that he has already been competing in chess for three years.

Don’t let Mihir Bhuptani’s (MSJE) quiet personality fool you. His crushing tactics are comparable to a rock concert.

Tommy Koh has played in integral roll in several MSJE championship victories.

The final touch to the MSJE powerhouse this year is Jeffrey Liu.

Ben Rood was also a part of the Torres Chess and Music Academy All Star Team for the school year 2011-2012. Ben has already won several National and State Championships and is playing the best chess I have ever seen from a second grader. Fresh off his k-5 State Champion win in California, this second grader is ready to win at the national level again. If Magnus Carlsen is the Motzart of Chess then Ben Rood is definitely the Beethoven.

Kids to Watch in the K-5

Sadly, MSJE was unable to bring a full team to the K-5 section this year. Despite being a player down, I am sure that the kids who were able to attend will give a phenomenal effort.

The first member of the K-5 MSJE Team is Amit Sant, of whom I am a huge fan. Drake Lin has grown from a nominal player out of dozens to a key player at MSJE over the last several years. Finally, we have Anjan Das who is attending despite his extremely busy schedule of other extracurricular achievements.

Kids to Watch in the K-6

We can only say that while we only have four competitors for our MSJE K-6 Team, these are the four kids I am most glad to see attending.

Eric Zhu is the first kids at MSJE to ever defeat me in a chess game. Alvin Kong is so eager to play chess he often arrives to chess class before any of the coaches and always gives Coach Joe Lonsdale the most trouble in their weekly skirmishes.  Sayan Das, Anjan’s elder brother, is similar to his brother in his prolific talents in all areas, especially on the MSJE Team. Finally, Shalin Shah is not only one of my favorite opponents, but one of my good friends. I look ahead with regret at the loss to MSJE as he and the other K-6 competitor’s graduate onto the seventh grade and greater challenges. I would like to add that we will be losing one other key asset to the MSJE Team as our sixth graders move ahead. Nimish Shah, Salin’s father, was a fantastic and devoted volunteer every Monday at MSJE. I have great respect for his dedication to his son and the MSJE chess Team.

It is a distinct pleasure to have played a role in all of these wonderful children’s chess development. Unfortunately, I will not be at this year’s tournament as I must stay home to help my pregnant wife. Yet I know that Coach Joe Lonsdale will successfully lead our Northern California Chess Competitors to victory. Check back daily for more updates on the exciting events from the 2012 National Elementary Championship.

Eight Year Old Wins Grade 4-5 Chess Championship in California

April 23, 2012

Chess history was made on April 22, 2012. Ben Rood, while still only eight years old, won first place in the grade 4-5 section at the Calchess Scholastic State Chess Championship.
   California has been home to many youthful chess prodigies since I started attending the Calchess Scholastic State Chess Championship. A few that come to mind are Hikaru Nakamura, Samuel Shankland, Jordy Mont-Reynaud, Vinay Bhat, Daniel Naroditsky, Nicholas Nip and Samuel Sevian. Ben Rood’s performance at the 2012 Calchess State Scholastic Chess Championship is the best I have ever witnessed by a California chess prodigy under the age of ten.
   Ben’s victory this weekend was simply immense. Not only did he place first in the strongest 4-5 section in California history; he went through the tournament undefeated. Along the way, Ben Rood defeated talented up and coming players as well as one F.I.D.E. Master.
   As fantastic as his performance was, it was not unexpected. During the past two years, Ben has won many state and national titles. In fact, he is the first player in Calchess history to win the Kindergarten Championship, Grade 1-3 Championship and Grade 4-5 Championship in three consecutive years.
   Ben Rood’s success is truly a combination of talent and hard work. In fact, by the age of eight he has learned more about chess than many old veterans of the game. He began chess study with his mother at age three. When he entered school, Ben started attending chess classes run by the Berkeley Chess School. For one so young, Ben’s desire to improve was insatiable. His parents began signing him up for tournaments very regularly and taking him to the Friday Night Chess program run by the Berkeley Chess School. In spite of winning first place in the Kindergarten section at the 2010 Calchess Scholastic State Championships, Ben had reached the point of needing personal attention to draw out his natural talent. During the summer of 2010 Ben met his current chess coach Chris Torres, president of the Torres Chess & Music Academy, at a chess tournament. Currently, Ben enjoys spending upwards of ten hours a week focusing on chess.


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