Congrats to fpawn’s kids!

by on May 6, 2009

Today I want everyone to click over to Michael “fpawn” Aigner’s blog and read about how incredibly well his students did in the state scholastic championships. It’s especially amazing that Yian Liou, a sixth-grader, won the state high-school championship, defeating Steven Zierk, a 2311 player who is only in tenth grade himself.

Let me say that again. A sixth-grader won the high-school championship. Liou is actually too young to qualify for the national tournament of high-school champions! I think that scholastic chess is starting to become like women’s figure-skating, where some of the best skaters actually aren’t allowed to compete for adult championships until they turn 16! (Apparently the IOC got tired of people like 15-year-old Tara Lipinski winning the Olympic gold medal.)

Quick poll: Which do you think is more likely?

  1. Yian Liou wins seven high-school championships in a row.
  2. He doesn’t win seven in a row because he graduates early.
  3. He doesn’t win seven in a row because Steven Zierk gets revenge next year.
  4. He doesn’t win seven in a row because, by the time he reaches high school, he is already too good to bother with scholastic chess.
  5. He doesn’t win seven in a row because by the time he gets to high-school age, there is some other sixth-grader who is even better than he is!

Also, while you are checking out Michael’s blog, don’t miss his outstanding post on “Advice to Chess Parents.” Many of the psychological traps that he mentions are things that we adult players also have to learn to avoid. But just imagine how much harder it is to resist this kind of pressure when it are coming not from inside you, but from your parents.

On a slightly related note, I am directing an unrated tournament for kids (ages 6 through whatever … 18, I guess, although no one older than 14 has signed up) on Saturday, May 9, at the Aptos Public Library. I organize this tournament once a year, every May. Entry is free, and there will be prizes (certificates for everyone who plays all three games, plus medals for the top three). It’s much more casual than a USCF-rated tournament, but a little bit more serious than our regular weekly chess club. It’s a good chance for a kid who is interested in chess to dip his or her toes in and see if what tournament competition is like. Taking score is optional; the games are played without a clock, except if we need a playoff. (Playoffs are game/5.)

Entries at the site are OK but pre-registration is encouraged. You can sign up by talking with Nancy Call, the Youth Services Librarian at the Aptos branch. Please arrive at the site by 12:30 PM. The rounds are at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 PM, and we award the prizes at 4:00 (or earlier if possible).

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

chesstiger May 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

For the poll: 3


Michael Aigner May 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Aigner 4.5 (either 4 or 5). Shankland 3.5 (either 3 or 4). Yian: “wierd poll”.


Chad Bam May 11, 2009 at 6:21 am

4!? (pun intended)


Ariana Coleman May 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

i love to Figure Skate, and this has been my favorite sport ever since i was a kid.-.,


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