Posts Tagged ‘Rishith Susarla chess’

Fremont’s MSJE Wins its Third National Elementary Chess Championship!

May 11, 2015
MSJE is the 2015 USCF National Elementary Chess Champion

MSJE is the 2015 USCF National Elementary Chess Champion

Mission San Jose Elementary School hasn’t just won a third National USCF K-6 Championship in just seven years. They’ve become a scholastic chess dynasty! And if ever a dynasty needs an icon, Head Coach Joe Lonsdale can fill that role quite capably for the MSJE Chess Team.


Head Coach Joe Lonsdale with his beautiful wife Donna DePietro Woods.

Head Coach Joe Lonsdale with his beautiful wife Donna DePietro Woods.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of Joe Lonsdale yet but he is worthy of being compared with such great coaches as Mike Krzyzewski, Gregg Popovich, or Phil Jackson.  Coach Joe, who originally established the MSJE Chess Team for his sons back in 1990, has done much more than teach chess. He has created a model for running a successful scholastic chess program that is constantly being copied but never quite duplicated. Coach Joe’s approach to teaching chess isn’t rocket science. His coaching staff takes the time to thoroughly analyze every child’s game every Monday night as well as at all major chess events. Many coaches do something similar but lack the consistency and commitment to keep it up all year let alone for twenty-five years.


Every great coach needs more than his/her own skill and dedication to win national championships. It is, of course, the players who actually win the titles through competition. And MSJE had quite the talented bunch of kids playing in the Elementary Championship Section.


Team mates Kavya Sasikumar and Annapoorni Meiyappan.

Teammates Kavya Sasikumar and Annapoorni Meiyappan.

The battle at the chess boards for these kids was difficult and in the end they received top honors by the slimmest of margins over I.S. 318 from New York. Sixth grader David Pan lead the charge by finishing tied for fifth place overall with an impressive 5.5/7. Super talented fourth grader Annapoorni Meiyappan finished only a half point behind David with 5/7. Next was the fourth grader Rishith Susarla with 4.5 and fifth grader Kavya Sasikumar with 4.


For now, it is once again time to celebrate a National Championship in Fremont, California. The victors can revel in their success. Soon after the party finishes, the kids will be coming to the Fremont Summer Chess Camp at, where else except for their own school’s gymnasium to hone their chess skills. Since only one of MSJE’s top scorers is graduating this year, you can bet they will be a strong favorite to repeat next year.


MSJE Coaches Joe Lonsdale and Chris Torres will be teaching at the Fremont Summer Chess Camp in Northern California. For more information on the Torres Chess and Music Academy and to register your child for the summer camp, please visit: 

Coach Joe’s Report on the 2014 USCF National Elementary Chess Championships

May 19, 2014

MSJE Head Coach, Joe Lonsdale, Provides a Brief Summary of  Fremont’s Achievements At the 2014 National Elementary Chess Championships.

The MSJE Chess Team wins another National Championship!

The MSJE Chess Team wins another National Championship!

The 2014 National Elementary School Chess Championships were held the weekend of May 9th to 11th in Dallas, TX.  More than 2,200 students from 107 schools competed in these championships. 17 MSJE (Mission San Jose Elementary School, Fremont, CA) students attended these championships.  MSJE won first place in the K-3 Championship section.  The MSJE Chess team is the 2014 National Primary School Chess Champion.  MSJE tied for fifth place in the K-1 section and tied for fourth place in the K-5 section.

Gomes Elementary School, also of Fremont won the Elementary school (K -6) division.  This is the second time in two years that two of the major elementary school sections were won by schools from Fremont, CA.  Last year Gomes won K-5 and MSJE won K-6.  In K-6 Joanna Liu and Jason Zhang each had five wins and a draw in seven games and tied for six place.  Ganesh Murugappan scored 5 points and William Sartorio scored 4.5 points.  The Gomes Elementary team is now the National Elementary School Chess Champions.

Coach Joe Lonsdale stands with the MSJE k-1 Chess Team.

Coach Joe Lonsdale stands with the MSJE k-1 Chess Team.

In the K-1 section Arnav Lingannagari was the top scorer for the MSJE team with five wins and a draw in seven games (5.5 points).  Arnav tied for 12th place and won a large trophy.  Allyson Wong scored five points, tied for 22nd place and won a large trophy.  Shreyas Jay scored four points and Siddharth Arutla scored 3.5 points.  Ayaan Kassamali and Jolene Liu also competed for our K-1 team.  Shreyas, Siddharth, Ayaan, and Jolene all won trophies.

The Final Standings in the K-3 Section at the 2014 USCF National Elementary Chess Championships.

The Final Standings in the K-3 Section at the 2014 USCF National Elementary Chess Championships.

In the K-3 Section MSJE was the top rated team, but several teams from New York City were close behind.  Rishith Susarla was our top rated player at 1701 and came in with the top score of 5.5 points tying for 7th place and winning a large trophy.  Second grader Kevin Pan (1534) and Annapoorni Meiyappan (1508) each scored 5 points tied for 17th place and won large trophies.  Second grader Stephen He (rated only 925) was paired against a 1337 third grader from a top New York team in the last round.  Stephen won his game to give MSJE a perfect four point round and a clear first place.   We usually do well in the last round and our motto is “MSJE owns the seventh round!”  Atul Thirumalai, Shree Jay, and Amulya Harish each scored 3.5 points in the K-3 Championship section.  The MSJE team is the 2014 Primary School Chess Champion.

MSJE's David Pan tied for second place in the k-5 section.

MSJE’s David Pan tied for second place in the k-5 section.

David Pan (1839) was the top rated player on our K-5 team and scored a fantastic 6 out of seven points.  David tied for second place and won a large trophy.  Kavya Sasikumar and Mihir Bhuptani each scored 4 points and Jeffrey Liu scored 3 points in this very tough section.  Our K-5 team tied for fourth place in the tournament.

Congratulations to the Chess Team for a great result at the National Championships.


*Former MSJE Student, Joseph Wan, took first place in the k-6 Championship division.


Chess students in Fremont get exciting lessons from Chris Torres.

Chess students in Fremont get exciting lessons from Chris Torres.


The best chess experiences of a lifetime occur at the Mission San Jose Elementary School Summer Chess Camp. The camp will take place from June 30 through July 24 at MSJE in Fremont, California. In addition to all the great chess teachers detailed above, the 2014 Summer Chess Camp at MSJE will feature all the other highly accomplished Torres Chess and Music Academy coaches as well as a formidable line up of special guest lecturers. Every child who attends all four weeks will receive a camp T-shirt, a personalized study plan, a follow up private lesson with a Torres Chess and Music Academy instructor, and a diploma presented by Susan Polgar. All school aged chess players are welcomed to sign up but this camp is expected to fill up quickly. Sign up today to avoid missing out on all the chess magic the worlds best chess coaches bring to the Mission San Jose Summer Chess Camp in Fremont, California.

Sign up today at

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.

National K-12 Chess Championship 2011, Day 1

November 19, 2011

The first day of the National K-12 Chess Championship is in the books and more than half the field of players can no longer contend for a National Championship. Two California six-year-olds are still in contention to bring home the ultimate prize. Both Rishith Susarla and Milind Maiti scored a perfect two wins out of two rounds. Tomorrow they will play three games and need three wins to keep their dreams alive. If they can manage to stay undefeated through day two, Milind and Rishith will need to win two more games on Sunday. Based on my experiences with Milind Maiti and Rishith Susarla, I feel it is very likely that one or both of them will remain undefeated through the three grueling days.

National K-12 Chess Championship 2011

November 18, 2011

Dallas, Texas is being bombarded by young chess players with dreams of national championships. Texans should not be alarmed by children armed with weighted chess pieces because November 18 – 20 is the 2011 United States Chess Federation’s National K-12 Chess Championships.
   The USCF National K-12 Chess Championship is the premier grade-level chess tournament in the United States. Chess players in grade 12 or below compete for three days in thirteen sections to determine the best school-aged chess players in America. Chess players in identical grades from the same school will also be competing for team standings.
   This year I have fewer students participating do to the fact that the World Youth Chess Championship in Brazil starts on the same day. Its unfortunate that the USCF and Fide would schedule championship tournaments that conflict with eachother. Even with the double scheduling, California will have several strong players representing the state.
   Two of my favorite six-year-olds will be in attendance. Milind Maiti of Cupertino went undefeated at the 2011 National Elementary Chess Championship and also finished first at the 2011 National Junior Chess Congress. Rishith Susarla of Fremont has worked as hard as any of my chess students for the last sixth months. Underrated at 1454, Rishith seems poised to win his first National Championship. Milind and Rishith are good friends and will likely rise to chess stardom aided by eachother’s successes.

%d bloggers like this: