Elementary School Nationals

Nearly 2000 chess players converged on Dallas, Texas to compete in the National Elementary School Championships in Dallas, Texas, May 6-8. Fifteen Oregonians were among the masses of players, and, as we’ve come to expect from these kids, they performed extremely well.

In the K-5 Open section, Oregon Elementary school co-champion Maxwell Sun scored 5/7 and tied for 20th out of 276 players. He finished tied or ahead of 21 higher-rated players, and only one lower-rated player placed higher than Max. Also playing in the K-5 open section were Liam Booth, Seth Talyansky, and John Ornes. They all scored a number of huge upsets and harvested a bunch of ratings points. For example, John went to Texas with a USCF rating of 777. He faced such strong competition that the Elo ratings model predicts he’d only score a total of 0.23 in seven games. In theory, the Elo rating model would predict that he would not even draw a single game. John obviously doesn’t care what the statistical models say — he ended up winning four! Three of John’s wins were against players rated over 500 points higher than him. His fourth win was against someone “only” 251 points higher rated. As a result, he increased his USCF rating by 303 points. Similarly, Liam picked up over 100 points, and Seth picked up over 200 points. Great work, guys!

The strong performances didn’t end there. In the K-3 Open section, Leo Sun scored 3/7, but the lineup of players was so strong that he still raised his rating by 59 points. Oregon primary school co-champion and last year’s primary school National Champion Praveer Sharan and Ankur Moolky both scored an impressive 5/7 in the K-1 Open section to tie with several others for 24th place (out of 294). Great job!

For the second straight year, Oregon has a section winner. This year it is Preston Fenimore, winning clear first in the unrated K-6 section with 6.5/7. He debuts on the USCF rating list at 1315. He also made his debut appearance on the Oregon All-Stars list this spring. Keep it up, Preston! Also playing in the unrated K-6 section were Sophia Dossin (4/7) from Eugene and Preston’s classmates from Astor Elementary: Grayson Robbins (4.5/7), Henry Hochstatter (4.5/7), and Harry Blanton (3.5/7). Thanks for representing the state so well, Sophia, Grayson, Henry, and Harry!

Marshal Xu (4.5/7) and Everett Carstens (4/7) both performed admirably and finished in the top 30% of players in the U1000 K-6 section. Finally, Neal Ornes scored a fantastic 5/7 in the U800 K-3 section, despite starting with a rating of only 400. It’s hard to fathom how good of a performance that was. All 20 players who scored higher than Neal were higher rated, as were all 31 of the players who tied with him, all 20 of the players who were half-point behind him, and 51 of the 54 who were one point behind! He finished tied for 20th, but most others with similar ratings finished around 200th place. Fantastic work, Neal, Marshal, and Everett!

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