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Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Scholasic champions

The national high school chess champions and other scholastic chess champions have been pretty successful in life. The educational benefits of chess are well known and some of the best scholastic chess players have had good careers in chess or other endeavors. The Supernationals scholastic tournaments are also the largest rated tournaments in the USA. The 2013 Supernationals, held in Nashville, Tennessee, drew 5,335 players. Here is a sampling of the accomplishments of past scholastic winners in chess. Very impressive.

Craig Barnes, 1972 K-12 chess champion, has a BA in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a professional software and computer chess developer.

John Bartholomew, 2002 K-12 champion, has a BS in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Dallas. He is an International Master (2007) and a professional chess player.

Samson Benen, 2001 K-12 co-champion, attended Princeton and was its best chess player.

Joel Benjamin, 1976 National Elementary champion, 1978 Junior High Champion, and 1980 and 1981 K-12 champion, graduated from Yale in 1985. He was awarded the GM title in 1986. He won the US championship in 1987, 1997, and 2000. In 2008, he was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Salvijus Bercys, 2005 K-12 co-champion, is an International Master (2007). He graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management and is a risk consultant at Crowe Horwath LLP.

Vinay Bhat, 1995 National Elementary School champion and 1996 National Junior High co-champion, was awarded the GM title in 2008. At 10 years and 176 days, Bhat became the youngest national master, breaking the record of his friend, Jordy Mont-Reynaud. Both players were members of the Palo Alto Chess Club in the 1990s, when I was its president. Bhat’s record has been broke three times by other players (Hikaru Nakamura, Nicholas Nip, and Samuel Sevian). Bhat received a B.S. in Statistics and Political Economy fro the University of California, Berkeley in 2006. He is currently the Senior Data Scientist at Vinyl Interactive.

Larry Christiansen won the 1971 (as a junior high school student) and 1973 national high school championships. In 1977, he was awarded the Grandmaster title. He was US chess champion in 1980, 1983, and 2002.

Jacob Chudnovsky, 1993 K-9 champion, is a Ph.D. biologist. He does cancer research at MIT.

Daniel Edelman, 1984 junior high school champion, 1985 K-12 champion, and 1986 K-12 co-champion, is now head of risk management at a major hedge fund company. He was awarded the IM title in 1993.

Lewis Eisen, 1992 K12 champion, completed his undergraduate work at Johns Hopkins University and graduated from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is fluent in 8 languages (English, Chinese, Mandarin, French, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, and Spanish).

John Fedorowiz, 1975 K-12 champion, was awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1986. He was inducted in the chess hall of fame in 2009. He has played in 20 U.S. chess championships.

Alec Getz is on a full chess scholarship at the University of Texas at Dallas (actually in Richardson, Texas).

David Glueck, 1982 K-12 co-champion, received chemistry degrees in chemistry from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in organometallic chemistry from UC-Berkeley in 1990. He is a professor of chemistry at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Robert Hess, 2009 K-12 champion, is studying at Yale University. He was awarded the GM title in 2009.

Patrick Hummel, 1999 K-12 champion, graduated first (out of 247) in his class at CalTech. He has a B.S. in applied and computational mathematics, a BS in economics, an MS in chemistry, and a Ph.D. (2010) in economics from Stanford. He is now a senior research scientist at Google.

Dean Ippolito, 1996 K-12 co-champion, is an International Master (1999). He is a chess instructor with his own chess academy (Dean of Chess Academy).

Marc Jimenez, 1988 K-12 co-champion, has a BS in finance from Arizona State University. He is the managing director at Watermark Advisor Solutions and Vice President at McLean Asset Management Corporation.

Richard Kaner, 1976 K-12 champion, went to Brown University and got a PhD in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2012, he became a distinguished professor of both chemistry and materials science at UCLA.

Jessie Kraai, 1987 National Junior HS champion and 1988 K-12 co-champion, received a B.A from Shimer College in 1994, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Jena, Germany in 1996, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Heidelberg in 2001. He was awarded the GM title in 2007. In 2013, Kraai published Lisa: A Chess Novel. He is currently pursuing his second doctorate in comparative literature.

Lior Lapid, 1997 K-9 champion, 2000 K-12 co-champion, has been coaching chess in schools for over 15 years. He has won the New Mexico State Championship three times (2008, 2009, 2011).

Aleksandr Lenderman, 2005 U16 (under 16 years old) world champion and 2007 K-12 champion, was awarded the GM title in 2009. He attended Brooklyn college, but left after two years to become a professional chess player. He was a co-champion of the 2009 US Open and won the 2011 US Open. In 2012, he won the National Open.

Marcel Martinez, 1998 K-12 champion, currently holds two IM norms and one GM norm. In 1999, he won the US Junior National Championship. In 2004, he tied for 1st at the US Open, held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is a chess instructor in Florida.

Hikaru Nakamura, 2001 K-12 co-champion, is a 3-time U.S. champion and one of the top 10 chess players in the world. In 2003, he was awarded the GM title at the age of 15 years and 79 days. He is the highest rated (2854) chess player in the United States.

John Litvinchuk, 1982 K-12 co-champion, is a professional chess coach. In 1986, he won the US Junior Chess Championship.

Jordy Mont-Reynaud, 1992 primary (K-3) champion, 1994 National K-8 champion, and 1999 US Cadet (Under 16) champion, became the youngest ever chess master in the United States when he became a master at the age of 10 years, 209 days in 1994 (a record surpassed by Vinay Bhat and Samuel Sevian). He attended Stanford University. In 1993, he took the silver medal in the world Under-10 championship. He is currently the CEO of Dojo.com, a social-persuasive technology web service. I was his chess coach and tutor from 1990 to 1993. He no longer plays chess competitively, and his mother, Dr. Randy Mont-Reynaud, refers to Jordy as “the world’s youngest failure.”

Robert Newbold, 1970 K-12 champion, is a co-owner of a successful project management business.

Nawrose Nur, 1990 world under-10 champion and 1995 K-12 co-champion, earned a BS in psychology and computer science, and an MS in nutrition and dietitics. He is a FIDE master.

Vivek Rao, 1986 K-12 co-champion and 1987 K-12 champion, attended Harvard and helped them win three Pan-American intercollegiate championships (1988, 1989, 1990) and helped the University of Illinois win the 1991 Pan-Am. He was awarded the IM title in 1993. He has a Ph.D. in physics (condensed matter theory) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Daniel (Danny) Rensch, 1998 Elementary National champion, 2000 Junior High National Champion, and 2004 K-12 co-champion, is the co-owner of chess.com and chesskid.com. He is an International Master (2008).

James Rizzitano, 1976 junior high school champion and 1979 K-12 champion, has been a successful software developer, database administrator and manager. He was awarded the International Master title in 1985 and has written 5 chess books.

Michael Rohde, winner of the first National Junior High School championship in 1973 and 1974 K-12 champion, earned the International Master title in 1976 and a GM title in 1988. He later attended law school.

Eric Rosen, 2011 K-12 champion, is now studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Gregory Shahade, 1993 Junior High School co-champion, 1996 K-12 co-champion, and 1996 US Junior Open champion, is an International Master. He is a former poker player and now full time chess professional.

Alex Sherzer, 1989 K-12 champion, won the 1991 US Junior championship. He awarded the GM title in 1993. He completed a medical degree in Hungary in 2002. He is a medical doctor specializing in internal medicine.

James Schuyler, 1988 K-12 co-champion, won the Nevada State championship in 2007 and became a FIDE master is 2008. He has been teaching chess for over 25 years.

Greg Shahade, 1996 K-12 champion, is the founder of the U.S. Chess League.

Reed Sorensen, 2002 K-9 champion, is currently working as an epidemiologist and data analyst with the Washington State Department of Health. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in environmental health science.

Oliver Tai, 1984 National Primary Champion, 1987 National Junior HS champion, and 1988 K-12 co-champion (at age 11), went to MIT and earned a Ph.D. at the age of 20. He went to medical school at Duke University and earned his M.D. in 2000.

Joshua Waitzkin, 1991 K-12 champion, won the 1993 and 1994 US Junior chess championship. He is the only person to have won the National Primary (1986), Elementary (1989), Junior High School (1988 and 1990), High School (1991), U.S. Cadet, and U.S. Junior Closed chess championships in his career. He has been a spokesman for Chessmaster, the largest computer chess program in the world. He is a former world champion martial artist. He is a two-time World Tai Chi Push Hands champion. He is a black belt and co-owner of a jui-jitsu studio in New York.

John Watson, the first national high school champion in 1969 (held in New York), has a degree in engineering from University of California, San-Diego. He was awarded the International Master title in 1982. He has written over 30 chess books.

Joseph Waxman, 1984 K-12 champion, is a writing and editing professional. He is also an analyst for Aptis Partners for the medical profession. He has a B.S in math and physics from Yale University.

Elvin Wilson, 1988 K-12 co-champion, enlisted in the Air Force and served from 1990 to 2000. He was the Air Force’s top-rated chess player after Emory Tate. I have one win and one draw against him in Air Force championship. He won the 1992 Texas Armed Forces championship (I took 2nd), the 1992 US Air Force championship, and the 1993 and 1998 Armed Forces championship. He is currently a Computer Information Science major at Temple University.

Patrick Wolff, 1983 K-12 champion, won the US chess championship in 1992 and 1995. In 1987, he won the US Junior Championship. In 1988, he was awarded the GM title. He graduated from Harvard in 1996. He was previously the managing director at Clarium, a hedge fund company. He later launched Grandmaster Capital Management, a hedge fund company.

Dan Yeager, 2008 K-12 champion, also won the Denker High School Tournament of Champions. He attended college on a full chess scholarship.

Simon Yelsky, 1982 K-12 co-champion, earned a degree in electrical engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from New York University. He is vice-president of RightAnswers, a knowledge services company.

National High School K-12 champions:
1969 John Watson
1970 Robert Newbold
1971 Larry Christiansen
1972 Craig Barnes
1973 Larry Christiansen
1974 Michael Rohde
1975 John Fedorowicz
1976 Richard Kaner
1977 Jim Thibault
1978 Gregg Small
1979 James Rizzitano
1980 Joel Benjamin
1981 Joel Benjamin
1982 Sandeep Joshi, David Glueck, John Litvinchuk, Simon Yelsky
1983 Patrick Wolff
1984 Joseph Waxman
1985 Danny Edelman
1986 Vivek Rao, Danny Edelman
1987 Vivek Rao
1988 Andy Fisher, Elvin Wilson, Oliver Tai, Henry Yu, Jessie Kraai, Kyle Miller, James Schuyler, Marc Jimenez, Harold Yazzie
1989 Alex Sherzer
1990 Alex Feldman
1991 Joshua Waitzkin
1992 Lewis Eisen
1993 Aleksandr Sidelnikov
1994 Alex Kalikshteyn (scored a perfect 7-0)
1995 David Arnett, Nawrose Nur
1996 Dean Ippolito, Gregory Shahade, Charles Gelman
1997 Harutyan Akopyan
1998 Marcel Martinez
1999 Patrick Hummel
2000 Rodelay Medina, Lior Lapid
2001 Hikaru Nakamura, Noah Siegel, Samson Benen
2002 John Bartholomew
2003 Morgan Griffiths
2004 Daniel Rensch, David Justice
2005 Xiao Cheng, Ruixin Yang, Salvijus Bercys
2006 Landon Brownell (1989-2009), Bradley Sawyer
2007 Alex Lenderman on tiebreak over Alexander Barnett and Michael Xhong
2008 Daniel Yeager
2009 Robert Hess
2010 Kristopher Meekins, Eigen Wang, Christian Tanaka, Shinsaku Uesugi, Scott Low, Michael Vilenchuk, William Ong, Prashanth Amarasinghe, Alec Getz, and Kevin Mo
2011 Eric Rosen
2012 Ben Gershenov
2013 Atulya Shetty

– Bill Wall (board 1 in High School, 1969)


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