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May 13, 2009 > Tri-City Students Place in Chess Championships

Tri-City Students Place in Chess Championships

By Michelle Motoyoshi

CalChess sponsored its 34th Annual State Scholastics Chess Championships on May 1-3 in San Jose earlier this month, and several Tri-City students won top honors. Among them was Bunker Elementary second grader Tanuj Vasudeva. Tanuj tied for first place in the 4-5th grade varsity division. The 7 year-old has won four state championships since he began playing chess. He is the number one ranked player in the U.S. in his age group [age 7 and under]. His win at this tournament helped him qualify to participate in the World Youth Chess Championships, which will be held in Antalya, Turkey from November 11 - 23.

Other first place finishers were Abhishek Handigol from Challenger School in Newark in the 1-3rd novice section, James Kwok from Mission San Jose Elementary in the 4-6th varsity division, Alvin Kong from Mission San Jose Elementary in the 1-3rd varsity division, Jeffrey Poon from Mission San Jose High in the 9-12th junior varsity division, and Benjamin Gu Chen from CACC in the 4-6th novice section.

Many of the first place finishers, like Tanuj and Abhishek, were coached by Ted Castro who heads the Newark Chess Club. For the past few years, Mr. Castro has seen at least one of his students go on to win a state championship, and this year was no exception. Additionally, many of his students compete above their grade level. "I'm proud of these kids, even those who didn't win any trophy but tried their best, especially those who keep on playing for the love of the game."

A few local school teams also won top honors. Weibel Elementary School's chess team took the first place team trophy in the 1st-3rd grade junior varsity division. Their team also won the 1st place team trophy in the 1-3rd and 4-6th novice sections. Mission San Jose Elementary won the first place team trophies in the 1-3rd, 4-6th and 4-5th varsity divisions, as well as the 4-6 junior varsity division.

The CalChess State Championships attracts players from all around the country and even some from other countries. Approximately 800 players attended this year's event, their ages ranging from 4 to 18 years. Players are grouped according to a combination of their rating and grade in school. Attendees included National Masters, FIDE Masters, as well as International Masters.

CalChess is the Northern California division of the U.S. Chess Federation. The chief organizer is Salman Azhar, Ph.D. Information about CalChess and their upcoming tournaments can be found at calchessscholastics.org.


Tri-City students who placed in the competition


9-12 Varsity Division
3rd place - Arthur Liou - Mission San Jose High School - Fremont
5th place - Rohan Agarwal - Irvington High School - Fremont

Team - 2nd place - Mission San Jose High School

7-8 Varsity Division
3rd place - Samyukta Bhat - Thornton Jr. High (Fremont)
4th place - Ojas Chinchwadkar - Thornton Jr. High (Fremont)

Team - 2nd place Hopkins Jr. High School (Fremont)

4-6 Varsity Division
1st place - James Kwok - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)
6th place - Michael Meng- Weibel Elementary (Fremont)
7th - Hemang Jangle - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)
8th - Vikram Ganesh - Forest Park (Fremont)

Team Winners: 1st place - Mission San Jose Elementary
2nd - Weibel Elementary
3rd - Forest Park

4-5 Varsity Division
Tied for 1st Place - Tanuj Vasudeva - Bunker Elementary (Newark)*
(played in a higher section (he's only in 2nd grade)
5th place - Armaan Kalyanpur - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)

Team Winners: 1st - Mission San Jose Elementary
2nd - Weibel

1-3 Varsity Division
1st Place - Alvin Kong - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)
3rd place - Pranav Nagarajan - Forest Park (Fremont)
5th - Kevin Moy - Weibel (Fremont)

Team Winners: 1st place - Mission San Jose Elementary
2nd - Forest Park
4th - Weibel

9-12 Junior Varsity
1st place - Jeffrey Poon - Mission San Jose High School (Fremont)
3rd - Kimberly Tom - Mission San Jose High School (Fremont)
4th - Ankita Roy - Irvington High School (Fremont)

Team - 2nd Place - Mission San Jose High School
3rd place - Irvington High School

4-6 Junior Varsity
2nd place - Evan Wong - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)
6th - Hanson Wang - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)

Team Winners: 1st Place - Mission San Jose Elementary
2nd - Weibel Elementary

1-3 Junior Varsity
4th place - Steven Li - Weibel Elementary (Fremont)
7th - Desiree Ho - Weibel Elementary (Fremont)

Team - 1st Place - Weibel Elementary (Fremont)
3rd - Mission San Jose Elementary

4-6 Novice Section
1st place - Benjamin Guchen - CACC (Fremont)
4th Ishas Kekre - Weibel Elementary (Fremont)

Team - 1st Place - Weibel Elementary (Fremont)

1-3 Novice Section
Tied for 1st Place - Abishek Handigol - Ardenwood Elementary (Fremont)
6th place - Ridd Ranjithkumar - Weibel Elementary (Fremont)
7th place - Serafina Show - Weibel (Fremont)

Team - 1st place - Weibel Elementary
4th - Mission San Jose Elementary

1-3 Rookie Section
3rd place - Malvin Liu - Weibel Elem. (Fremont)
7th - Ojas Arun - Mission San Jose Elementary (Fremont)

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