Author: Grant Oen, CCCSA Assistant Director
The Charlotte Chess Center would like to wish everyone a happy new year. In this blog, I'd like to recap the highlights of 2017 and preview some of the new things coming in 2018!
This blog is exactly one year old. Our contributors Peter Giannatos, Grant Oen, Dominique Myers, Mark Biernacki, David Blackwelder, Patrick McCartney, Dan Boisvert, Gary Newsom, Aaron Balleisen, Davide Nastasio, and Robin Cunningham have written over 100 blog posts, and we are looking forward to providing even better free content this year.
Congratulations to CCCSA members who achieved the following milestones in 2017:
Peter Giannatos – earned the FIDE Master title in February and was recently featured in a great Charlotte Five article by CCCSA member Randy Wheeless
Daniel Cremisi – Achieved peak USCF rating of 2379 and became the National 12th Grade Champion in December
Tianqi Wang – Achieved peak USCF rating of 2381 and FIDE rating of 2287 and earned first IM norm at CCCSA IM norm invitational in March
Gary Newsom – Became North Carolina Senior Co-champion
Mark Biernacki – Became National Master in September and North Carolina State Champion in November
Alex Tong – Became North Carolina Open Champion in August
Vishnu Vanapalli – Became Expert in November at 10 years old
|Newly crowned expert Vishnu Vanapall vs CCCSA's Dominique Myers|
Pradhyumna Kothapalli – Became Expert and the North Carolina Class A Champion in November at 12 years old
Klaus Pohl - Maintained #1 rating spot (2200) as top CCCSA Senior in 2017
Jeff Prainito – Went from unrated in October to 1641 in December by playing Tuesday Night Action, and became the North Carolina Class D Champion in November
Noah Sari – Became North Carolina Class E Champion in November
Arjun Rawal – Became North Carolina K-3 Champion in March
Debs Pedigo - Became North Carolina Chess Association's Secretary in November
Grant Oen - Became the youngest FIDE Arbiter in the United States in August
Chacha Dejava - developed Chessstream into an even better website, helped us with putting live games and results online for CCCSA's GM/IM Norm Invitationals, Southeastern FIDE Championship, NC Closed Championship, Carolinas Classic, etc. Chacha is also helping us organized the NC K-12 Championship in February.
Joshua Mu, Randy Wheeless, Amelia Wheeless, and Colette Wheeless - returned to chess in 2017!
Congratulations to CCCSA regulars or special guests who achieved the following milestones in 2017:
GM Elshan Moradiabadi – won the Carolinas Classic in June, Southeastern FIDE Championship in December, and 2017 US Chess Grand Prix circuit
|GM Elshan Moradiabadi vs Benjamin Snodgrass, December 2017 Southeastern FIDE|
GM Andrew Tang – earned final GM norm and GM title at CCCSA GM norm invitational in November
IM Raja Panjwani – earned GM norm at CCCSA GM norm invitational in November
FM Gauri Shankar – earned IM norm at CCCSA IM norm invitational in March
John Ludwig – earned IM norm at CCCSA IM norm invitational in March
Benjamin Moon – earned FM rating at CCCSA IM norm invitational in March and won the “End of Summer” Blitz tournament ahead of IM John Bartholomew
Emmanuel Carter – Became North Carolina K-12 Champion in March
Rochelle Wu – former World Cadet Champion, became National Master in November at eleven years old
Sijing Wu – Won the largest Reverse Angle in history (Reverse Angle 68) in January and won clear first in an 80 player field.
Other special guests to the chess center in 2017 included: GM Alex Shabalov, GM Tanguy Ringoir, GM Denes Boros, GM Alex Fishbein, GM Alonso Zapata, GM Eric Hansen, GM Ben Finegold, GM Aman Hambleton, IM Michael Brown, IM Nicolas Checa, IM Daniel Gurevich, IM John Bartholomew, IM Zurab Javakhadze, IM Titas Stremavicius, IM Farai Mandizha, IM David Brodsky, IM Alexander Kalikshteyn, IM Michael Lee, IM Safal Bora, IM Felix Ynojosa, IM Bryce Tiglon, IM David Vigorito, IM Roberto Martin del Campo, IM Michael Kleinman, IM Angelo Young, FM Kevin Wang, FM Andrew Hong, FM Edward Song, WGM Sabina Foisor, FM Yuanchen Zhang, FM Seth Homa, FM Jacob Furfine, FM Sahil Sinha, FM Sanjay Ghatti, FM Akshita Gorti, WIM Ewa Harazinska, FM Nikhil Kumar, FM Eliot Soo-Burrowes, FM Christopher Yoo, FIDE Arbiter Anand Dommalapati, International Arbiter Thad Rogers, International Arbiter Rudy Abate, US Chess President Mike Hoffpauir, and US Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer.
Over 600 unique people played at least one rated CCCSA event in 2017.
Congratulations to the following players who won at least 3 CCCSA tournaments in 2017:
Daniel Cremisi – 14 titles
Dominique Myers – 8 titles
Carson Cook, Donald Johnson – 7 titles
Danny Cropper, Luke Harris, Andrew Chen – 4 titles
Elias Oussedik, Tianqi Wang, Vishnu Vanapalli, Patrick McCartney, David Blackwelder, Sulia Mason – 3 titles
A special thank you to the following players who played at least 15 CCCSA events in 2017:
Aditya Shivapooja – 35
Luke Harris – 34
Vishnu Vanapalli – 32
Adharsh Rajagopal, Aarush Chugh – 31
Dominique Myers, Pradhyumna Kothapalli – 29
David Richards, Akshay Rajagopal – 28
Rithvik Prakki – 27
Donald Johnson, Hassan Hashemloo, Arjun Rawal – 24
Sulia Mason, Ali Shirazad, Andrew Chen, Debs Pedigo – 22
Daniel Cremisi, Richard Trela – 21
Carson Cook, Kiru Mendez, Danny Cropper, Pranav Swarna – 20
Paige Cook, Sanjit Pilli, Rishi Jasti – 19
Patrick McCartney, Mahesh Padhi, Nikhil Kamisetty, Raamcharan Puttagunta – 18
Advait Karthik, Saanchi Sampath, Dan Boisvert – 17
Mark Biernacki, Ian MacNair, Nishanth Gaddam – 16
Xiaodong Jin, Andrew Jiang, David Blackwelder – 15
In March, our good friend and longtime CCCSA member Marnzell Hand passed away. We hold a Marnzell Hand Blitz Tournament each spring to remember Marnzell – the 2017 edition was won by Peter Giannatos and Elias Oussedik.
In 2017, CCCSA hosted players from 22 states (Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington) and 17 countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Iran, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Philippines, Poland, Romania, United States, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe).
CCCSA organized about 60 tournaments in 2017, including 12 Reverse Angle Tournaments, 9 Tuesday Night Action Tournaments, 8 Unrated Scholastics, 6 Rated Scholastics, 5 Blitz Tournaments, 5 G/60 Actions, 5 Championship events – Carolinas Classic, GM/IM/Junior Invitationals, Southeastern FIDE, and a few miscellaneous events – Junior Masters Chess Club, Border Battle, Club matches, etc.
Our GM/IM Norm Invitationals produced 5 norms in 2017 alone, and we will be holding more of these in 2018, including such players as Praggnanandhaa, who can still break the world record for the youngest GM. The 2017 North Carolina Closed Championship organized by CCCSA at the Hilton University Charlotte was the largest state championship in North Carolina history with 125 players and an increased prize fund of $5,000.
What’s new for 2018!
As CCCSA Founder Peter Giannatos mentioned in a blog on our third birthday last March, the Charlotte Chess Center is always expanding. Each year we have more members, higher attendance at tournaments, camps, classes, school programs, and more employees: I joined the team as the Assistant Director in 2016, and Alex Velasquez joined us in 2017.
In 2018, we are welcoming two new staff members who are already familiar faces at the chess center: Mark Biernacki and Dan Boisvert.
Mark is a National Master who is the reigning state chess champion who plays in many of our events. He will now be teaching full-time in schools and classes for CCCSA.
Dr. Daniel Boisvert is a professor at UNC Charlotte and CCCSA member and contributor. Dan will join our team in a part-time administrative role.
Look for bios coming to the website soon – CCCSA is happy to welcome Mark and Dan!
In 2018, in addition to our regular schedule of events, we will be continuing with our First Thursday Blitz events, and add a Third Thursday Rapid (G/25) Tournament. We will also host the 2018 NC K-12 State Championship at the Hilton University Charlotte, and will continue with our large championship events such as the Carolinas Classic, Southeastern FIDE Championship, and five GM/IM Norm Invitationals.
Our first meeting back is the first round of Tuesday Night Action, Round 1, tonight, January 2! Tuesday Night Action is always free to CCCSA members and includes a lecture by Peter Giannatos at 6:45 and a long (G/75, inc/15) rated game at 7:30. We have recently added prizes in all three sections (Top, Under 1700, and Under 1300)! TNA is the best attended weekly meeting in the Southeast, with over 50 players competing in each five week cycle.
We also have a blitz tournament this Thursday and a Rated Scholastic tournament on Saturday. See our calendar for a complete listing.
Here is our weekly schedule:
Monday - closed
Tuesday - tournament tips master lecture 6:45pm, Tuesday Night Action 7:30pm
Wednesdays - closed
Thursday - Blitz Tourney first Thursday 7pm, Rapid Tourney third Thursday, otherwise closed
Fridays - master lecture 7pm, Friday night casual play 6pm-11pm
Saturday - check tournament schedule
Sunday - Kids Classes - open 12:00-6:00pm
Tuesday night and Friday night activities are free for members, who also receive discounts on all of our tournaments, classes, camps, and merchandise. CCCSA membership is a great deal even if you only do some activities, and is an affordable way to support local chess.
Our next GM/IM Norm Invitational, January 11-15, will feature a thirty player field with 6 GMs, 14 IMs, 7 FMs, and 3 masters all rated over 2300. IMs Praggnanadhaa and John Bartholomew are amongst the 21 players who will be seeking their FIDE title norms. This is the first of five such invitationals in 2018, which have produced 8 norms and 3 titles in the first three events alone.
The Charlotte Chess Center wishes everyone a great 2018! We have many great things planned, and with more events, members, and employees each year, we are sure that 2018 will be our best yet!