Posts Tagged ‘chess players’

Dear Chess Players, Expect Big News!

October 9, 2014

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Mission San Jose Elementary Takes Chess to a New Level

May 10, 2011

Mission San Jose Elementary School in Fremont, California has, for decades, fielded the most successful chess teams the Golden State has ever produced. Year after year, the relatively small public school’s chess club trains hundreds of students in the art of aggressive chess play. Those who excel at the club are invited to participate in the more exclusive Monday night team meetings. There, as he has done since the 1980’s, Head Coach Joe Lonsdale uses his demo board to show practical examples of masterful chess games played by the great masters of the 19’th century as well as recent gems played by the young Mission San Jose Elementary chess players.  After the lesson, students are paired into a stepladder tournament and compete using clocks while notating their moves. Every week, almost every game played gets analysed by Joe Lonsdale, Richard Shorman, Chris Torres or a graduate of the chess team. Joe’s labor of love has created a chess team that has an unrivaled success rate at major chess tournaments and a team jersey that can barely fit all the state chess titles the school has won.

    Mission San Jose Elementary School has also fares well at the national level despite the fact that the USCF National Elementary Chess Championships are rarely held on the west coast. In 2009, Mission San Jose Elementary School became the first school from California to ever win the National Elementary Chess Champion Title. The following year, the Mission San Jose Elementary School team placed second in the K-1 Championship Section, tied for fourth place in the K-3 Championship Section, finished third in the K-5 Championship Section and placed 9th in the K-6 Championship section.  In 2011, we even did better! Mission San Jose Elementary School placed second in the k-6 Championship Section, fourth in the k-5 Championship Section, fourth in the k-3 Championship Section  and third in the k-1 Championship section. According to a long bearded USCF representative I road back to the airport with, this is the best overall achievement of any school in the history of the USCF National Elementary Chess Championships.

   Of course, as hard as us coaches work, it is the players who deserve the credit and recognition. Sixth grader Arman Kalyanpur was our team leader scoring an impressive 5.5/7. Fifth Grader Alvin Kong achieved a score of 4.5/7. Sixth Grader Erik Wong also scored well with 4/7. Our fourth member of the k-6 Championship Section was Alex Yin who completed the tournament with 3.5/7.

   Our k-5 team was led by fourth grader Amit Sant with a score of 5/7. Fifth graders Steven Li and Shalin Shah who both finished with an impressive 4.5/7. Another fifth grader, Eric Zhu, managed to score 4/7.  Fifth Grader Sayan Das scored 3.5/7.   

   Our k-3 team was led by second grader John Andrew Chan who finished with 5/7. Next came second grader Mihir Bhuptani and third grader Ojas Arun who both scored 4/7.  Second grader Alvin Zhang  had a strong showing with 3.5/7. Second Grader Luke Zhao, who had the flu, finished with 3/7.  Edward Liu, who attended his first Nationals,  finished with 2.5/7.

   The MSJE k-1 team’s top scorer was kindergartener Rishith Susarla with and impressive 5/7. Next came first graders Chenyi Zhao and Soorya Kuppam with a score of 4.5/7. First Grader Jeffrey Liu managed to score 4/7. The quickly improving Kindergartener Amulya Harish finished with 2.5/7.

  And to the MSJE Chess Team…

 It was a real pleasure to watch all of you achieve such great success in the most prestigious tournament of the year. As your chess coach, I am very grateful to have shared so many memorable moments with you during the 2010-2011 school years. Congratulations!

A Tale of Two Cities

July 6, 2010

Gavin Newsom has problems with chess players.

Charles Dickens penned “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” as his opening line in his masterpiece A Tale of Two Cities. I found myself pondering Dickens work and applying the opening line to the plight of the poor chess players in two Bay Area cities.

As many of my reader are aware, San Francisco has recently closed down the traditional street chess games on Market Street near the BART station.  It seems that the city government of San Francisco is playing a gambit against the city’s homeless and the removal of the chess games is yet another move to sacrifice the lowest of pawns. My “Open Letter to Gavin Newsom” remains unanswered and I am getting the feeling that Mr. Newsom has no intention of addressing San Francisco’s attack on one of the most harmless activities that the “street people” amuse themselves with. Perhaps the city has justifiable reasons for its removal of the chess games on Market Street. The fact that I have received no response from the mayor leads me to believe otherwise.

Across the bay there is another city called Oakley. It was here, on July 3, that I was given permission to set up chess tables for the annual cityhood celebration.  Oakleys Mayor, Pat Anderson, made the many chess players feel welcome and took the time to steer us into the right avenues toward finding a regular place to hold a city chess club. Chess is a new addition to the young city but based on the response it received on July third, I imagine it will soon be  another Bay Area chess success story. 

If you are one of the many disenfranchised chess players in San Francisco, please take the time to contact Gavin Newsom and suggest that he should take a lesson from Pat Anderson on how to run a city that is fair to all its citizens… even its chess players.

An Open Letter to Gavin Newsom

June 16, 2010

Mayor Newsom,

San Francisco has lost one of its more charming attractions. It used to be that pedestrians strolling down Market Street near the Powell BART station would be treated to lively blitz games played by eclectic groups of chess enthusiasts. When in the area, I would frequently find myself battling wits with investment bankers, street merchants, tourists, and homeless persons. Unfortunately, this exposition of culture has been shut down by the city.

I launched an informal investigation as to why chess players were being targeted unfairly while street performers, panhandlers, and artists are still allowed to continue their practices in the area. Apparently an order was given by a high-ranking city official to the SFPD to shut down the games on the basis of poor behavior on the part of the chess players. Indeed, I would witness some money changing hands and the occasional intoxicated chess player. But are these behaviors being caused by the chess games or the urban environment? 

I believe in the positive impact the game of chess can have on individuals who are struggling do the fact that their decision-making skills are sub par. With funding for various organizations that help the homeless population being hit hard by the financial meltdown, I feel it is irresponsible if not mean-spirited for the city of  San Francisco to take away one of the few possibilities left for free and legal entertainment.  Furthermore, for a city that entices tourists to come on the basis of its many cultural opportunities,  it does not seem fitting for San Francisco to be shutting down harmless attractions such as chess. 

Sincerely,

Chris Torres


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