The exclusive Cosmos Club of Washington honored the top students and teachers of the local Chess-in-the-Schools program, run by the U.S. Chess Center, at an awards ceremony Saturday. This unusual chess day started early, when students with outstanding chess results challenged members of the Cosmos Chess Club on eight boards.
The U.S. Chess Center's director, David Mehler, nominated the following eight students to the All-Star Metropolitan Area team: Yu Zhong Lu, Maryland state scholastic champion, Maryland junior champion and the D.C., scholastics champion; Victoria Steptoe, D.C. closed elementary school champion; Jacky Cheong, winner of $1,000 Nortel Scholarship; Nhat Nguyen, D.C. public junior high school champion; Wendell Hankins, D.C. public high school champion; John Rouleau, first player to reach the Chess Center's 100 "Persistence" Points, UMBC scholarship winner and volunteer at U.S. Chess Center camps; Jack McKay, Fairfax County elementary school champion; Alex Barnett, LEGO Challenge champion, Maryland junior high school champion. The students dominated the Cosmos Club members, winning with a score 6.5 to 1.5.
Some students, selected for the match against the Cosmos Chess Club team, came from recent scholastic championships.
Local Scholastic Champtionships
The D.C. Public School Championships were held May 22-23 at the U.S. Chess Center (1501 M Street, N.W.) The team of Kimball Elementary won the Primary (K-3) and the Elementary (4-6) sections. Deal Junior High won the Junior High section and Wilson High School won the Senior High section. Individual champions were: Ashley McBride of Ludlow Taylor Elementary (Primary); Donte Gray of Kimball won a blitz play-off over Bruce Johnson of Maury Elementary, (both declared Elementary co-champions); Nhat Nguyen of Francis Jr. High (Junior High Champion); Wendell Hankins of Roosevelt High (High School Champion).
For the second year in the row, the team of White Oaks Elementary at Burke won the Fairfax County Elementary School championship, played at the Haycock Elementary in Falls Church June 7. Individual winners were: Joey Regalbuto at Ravensworth Elementary, Burke (Grade 2); Haitao Mao at Haycock Elementary, Falls Church (Grade 3); Tyler Cooke at Louise Archer Elementary, Vienna; Steven Eannarino at White Oaks Elementary, Burke and Alissa Perman of Haycock (co-winners Grade 4); Avik Ganguli and Justin Jordan, both at Churchill Road Elementary, McLean (co-winners Grade 5); Michael Ayers of White Oaks and Jason Liu at Churchill Road (co-winners Grade 6). Jack McKay, a sixth grader at Churchill Road, won the championship section, winning all four games.
The road to victory was not easy for McKay. In the third round he played with the black pieces against Dipu Chiappetta, a third grader from Forest Edge Elementary in Reston. They reached the position in today's diagram (White: Kc1,Qe6,Rd5,Rh1,Nh3,P:a2,c3,c2,f3,g2,g4; Black: Kh8,Qd8,Ra8,Rf8,Bc4,P:a7,b6,c5,f6,g6,h7), where the black bishop just took a pawn on c4, pinning the rook on d5. White could have won beautifully with 1.Ng5!! (Opening the h-file and threatening 2.Rxh7 mate. Chiappetta thought for a while and played 1.Rxd8 Bxe6 2.Rxa8 and after 2...Rxa8 McKay was able to outplay his young opponent later on.)
1.... fxg5 (After 1...h5 2.Nf7+ Rxf7 3.Rxd8+ Rxd8 4.Qxc4 white wins. And 1...Bxd5 allows 2.Rxh7 mate.) 2.Rd7!! (The queen sacrifice creates a double-rook mating net.) 2...Bxe6 (Better, but not sufficient, is 2...Qxd7 3.Qxd7 Rf7 4.Qc6 with a winning material advantage for white.) 3.Rhxh7+ Kg8 4.Rdg7 mate. A marvelous teamwork by rooks on the seventh rank!
D.C. Action Championship
Grandmaster Alek Wojtkiewicz of Poland won the 8th Annual D.C. Action championship, played at the U.S. Chess Center on June 5. Wojtkiewicz scored 5.5 points in 6 games. The Game/30 tournament attracted 49 players, including 4 grandmasters. Local IM Eugene Meyer of Arlington shared the second place with Stanis Kriventsov, both with 5 points. IM Larry Kaufman of Potomac shared places with grandmasters Alexander Stripunsky and Igor Novikov, all scoring 4.5 points. Kaufman convincingly tackled the Meran defense chosen by Floyd Boudreaux.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Be2 (More quiet, yet tricky variation.) 8...Bb7 9.0-0 a6 10.e4 b4 11.e5 bxc3 12.exf6 cxb2 13.fxg7 Bxg7 (Black is shying away from the four queen variation 13...bxa1Q 14.gxh8Q.) 14.Bxb2 0-0 15. Rb1 (White is threatening 16.d5, taking advatage of the unprotected bishop on b7. Black misses it completely.) 15...Qe7? 16.d5! e5 (The point is 16...cxd5? 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Rxb7 winning.) 17.Ba1 Nc5 (After 17...Rfb8 18.Rxb7! Rxb7 19.dxc6 white has a winning advantage.) 18.d6! Qe6 (The queen is overloaded and cannot defend everything.) 19.Qc2 Qxd6 20.Rfc1 (Black loses a piece.) 20...e4 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Ng5 (On 22...Nd3 23.Nxe4 wins.) Black resigned.