QuickStart Pic

QuickStart! 2014 Results

By Laura Doman

And they’re off! Over 160 kids in grades K-12 came out on a beautiful fall afternoon to jump start their chess skills at the 2014 QuickStart! tournament. Held on Sunday, October 5, the kids and their parents crowded the Marriott Atlanta Perimeter Center hotel and came away with trophies, participation ribbons, and prizes of GCA car magnets and a free USCF memberships to the top performing non-members in the tournament.

Led by a team of tried and true volunteers (and a few assorted chess moms!), the tournament ran efficiently and on schedule. Tournament Coordinator Tricia Hill didn’t even let her birthday get in the way of overseeing operations, though Lead Tournament Director (TD) Susan Justice managed to surprise her by engaging the entire tournament hall in singing a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday,” capped off by delivery of a giant flaming cupcake from her husband Brian.

Susan noted that the QuickStart! attracted a nice group of kids. “For the most part, there was very good sportsmanship and good competition. I like to emphasize to parents that the children are learning larger life lessons through chess. There was one instance where a player was making noise and annoying his opponent. The opponent raised his hand for the TD to issue a complaint and the player was given a verbal warning. The poor behavior continued, however, and the opponent went on to lose the game without summoning a TD a second time. This scenario gave the opponent’s father and me a good opportunity to talk to the child about asserting his rights and being persistent. It also gave me the opportunity to pull the player who had annoying behavior aside before the next round and let him know that his behavior was affecting other people. I told him that if he did not conduct himself properly in that round, he would be forfeited. Not surprisingly, he was then very quiet during play. Valuable lessons were learned on both sides!”

The tournament had four sections of play, based on grade level:  K-1, K-3, K-5, and a combined  6-12 grade section. It can be challenging for a young middle school player to be pitted against seasoned high school competitors, but chess is one activity where skill can outweigh age. Susan observed that “one of the younger players in the 6-12 section was very excited to win a plus-score trophy. Finishing with 2.5 and in 7th place, he was not expecting to also receive one of the free USCF memberships. Upon finding out that he not only got a trophy, but also a membership, he expressed his excitement to me and said what a great feeling it was! I thanked him for coming to play, and he said, “Oh, I wouldn’t have missed this for the world! Not for two worlds!”  Comments like that can make a tournament volunteer’s day.

The youngest children are often the most enthusiastic, especially after a big win. Or even an unexpected win due to an opponent not showing up to play. During the second round, one of the K-1 players had to wait at her board for 15 minutes for an opponent who did not show. Meanwhile, there was a player from the K-5 section who had a “please wait” bye and was waiting for a game. As Lead TD, Susan explained to the young girl that she would get a point because her opponent forfeited, but offered her the opportunity to play an extra game against the older player. The little girl wavered, saying that she wasn’t sure about that, so Susan asked if she wanted to go talk to her mom about it. The little girl shook her head and said, “No, my mom is not here. My dad is here.” Susan laughed, “I love how children are so literal! I assumed that she was hesitant to play because her would-be opponent was much older. We went to find her dad, and I explained the situation to him. He told her it was fine to go play the game and that it would just be for practice. She just smiled, jumped up, and shouted, “Yeah!”  She confidently went to the board and faced her opponent. Although she went on to lose the extra game, she took notation while the older player did not and thereby had an excellent opportunity to review her game and learn from the experience. I loved seeing her enthusiasm and joy!”

Indeed, the QuickStart! has a more informal feel to it than most other scholastic tournaments.  First, it was primarily an afternoon tournament, rather than one that ran for an entire day.  Second, it was unrated, which encouraged many new players to experience chess in a tournament format for the very first time. It also gave experienced players opportunities to try out new openings, strategies, and tactics in a less stressful atmosphere. Third, there were more seasoned kids who were able to try out the flip side of a tournament and volunteer in important capacities.

Samhitha Dasari is a freshman in high school and an experienced player.  She was also one of the TDs, joining a strong team who worked well together: Ben Johnson, Elena Gratskaya, Chris Ferrante, Ed Paguaga, Jayashree Sekar, and Susan Justice. This was Samhitha’s second tournament as a TD, and she excelled as the section chief for the K-1 players and as an extra set of eyes on slow-moving games that required the introduction of a clock to speed them along.  Talk about the opportunity that chess afford to students! Playing is one thing; helping to direct large student tournaments is quite another – excellent experience for the student, valuable help for the tournament and parent volunteers.

Samhitha was not the only student who helped with QuickStart! Third graders Katie Hill and Drew Justice worked together to set up all the 80+ boards.  Drew also set the clocks, while Katie helped with the clean up afterwards. Fifth grader Zoe Justice was instrumental as a TD assistant and in running simul games in the tournament hallway with Coach Carlos Perdomo and 9th grader Sanjay Ghatti. All four students enjoyed contributing to make this first tournament of the school year special. Most of us know that parent/child involvement is one of the best ways to introduce our kids to meaningful community service. Chess is one more avenue by which we parents can role model these values, especially when our kids can join in to make the experience that much better for other children.

With large sections and only four rounds of play, there were quite a few ties and many kids vied for trophies with the same point scores in hand. One of the challenges was to explain to the less experienced players how two seemingly identical scores could result in different place trophy positions. This is where tie-breaks come in. The tie-break system is based on the strength or performance of one’s opponents — strength of schedule, to put it in college football terms.  Those who have tougher matches because they have stronger opponents (by virtue of their opponents’ USCF ratings and their performances in this same tournament), have their scores weighted more heavily than those playing in less challenging situations. Tie-breaks are used almost universally, though they occur less often when a tournament has more rounds or when fewer players are competing with a section.

That being said, many players were awarded with plus-score trophies for scoring more than half of all their possibly available points.  With a maximum of four points, scores of 2.5 were deemed worthy of plus-score trophies. Those placing in the top five spots of their sections were awarded with trophies. See the end of the article for complete results.

The winners of the K-1 section included:

1. Mickey Pancih

2. Rehan Simpson

3. Ayush Pawar

4. Dheemant Parashar

5. Pranav Paruchuri

QuickStart K1 Winners


The winners in the K-3 section were:

1. Efetobo Aror

2. Katie Hill

3. Jackson Cloud

4. Walker Paxton

5. Olivia Resnick

QuickStart K3 Winners


The K-5 top place winners were:

1. Kavin Jayavel Kumaresan

2. Drew Justice

3. Caleb Ouanounou

4. Matthew Njaa

5. Laolu Oguneye

QuickStart K5 Winners


The combined middle school/high school 6-12 section recognized these top scorers:

1. Asaru Jordan

2. Brett Morrison

3. Anish Kumar

4. Prabhanjan Nayak

5. Chance Phillips

QuickStart 612 Winners

Congratulations to all of our trophy recipients! We appreciate you and your parents coming out to play some chess on such a lovely early fall afternoon.  Please check your calendars and register for next month’s Grade Level Championship on Sunday, November 9, which will be held at the same venue.  Kids only play other kids in their own grades!  It’s fun and exciting, and we look forward to seeing you there.

To view pictures, please go to


K-1 Full Results

No. Name       Rate       Points Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4
1 Pancih, Mickey 4 W8 W10 W4 W3
2 Simpson, Rehan 3.5 D6 W13 W14 W11
3 Pawar, Ayush 3 W20 W17 W6 L1
4 Parashar, Dheemant 3 W16 W12 L1 W8
5 Paruchuri, Pranav 3 L12 W16 W17 W9
6 Slezinger, Gabriella 2.5 D2 W7 L3 W13
7 Marwaha, Ishaan 2.5 D13 L6 W16 W14
8 Resnick, Alexandra 122 2 L1 -X- W15 L4
9 Halsey, David 2 D19 D15 W10 L5
10 Madichetty, Arjun 2 W18 L1 L9 W17
11 Ganesh, Samanyu Kr 414 2 -N- W18 W12 L2
12 Wang, Chloe 1.5 W5 L4 L11 D15
13 Krishna, Vihaan 1.5 D7 L2 W19 L6
14 Kamin, Andrew 1.5 D15 W19 L2 L7
15 Doyle, Sheena 1.5 D14 D9 L8 D12
16 Makanjuola, Akinola 293 1 L4 L5 L7 W18
17 Thomas, Rohan 1 -B- L3 L5 L10
18 Thomas, Shaan Jose 101 1 L10 L11 -B- L16
19 Syme, Henry 0.5 D9 L14 L13 -N-
20 Muthyala, Atharv 0 L3 -F- -U- -U-


K-3 Full Results

No. Name         Rate       Points Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4
1 Aror, Efetobo 556 4 W32 W12 W8 W5
2 Hill, Katie Kay 820 4 W35 W37 W11 W7
3 Cloud, Jackson Hol 514 4 W60 W29 W9 W6
4 Paxton, Walker 473 4 W38 W57 W23 W20
5 Resnick, Olivia 480 3 W34 W14 W13 L1
6 Rajmohan, Vikram 3 W58 W17 W10 L3
7 Ganesh, Saanjali K 475 3 W39 W18 W24 L2
8 Fang, Andrew David 410 3 W47 W15 L1 W31
9 Rupp, Alexander Wo 368 3 W46 W22 L3 W36
10 Kantor, Trey Dougl 417 3 W48 W27 L6 W21
11 Firstman, William 375 3 W55 W40 L2 W33
12 Kanaan, Nayla 3 W53 L1 W47 W27
13 McBride, John Arch 308 3 W25 W33 L5 W32
14 Jones, Nathan 3 W28 L5 W25 W30
15 Gilmore, Aiden 3 W49 L8 W28 W24
16 Wu, Justin Hongyua 116 3 D26 W56 D20 W29
17 Mane, Arica 241 3 W62 L6 W57 W22
18 Stevens, Hank 3 W66 L7 W53 W23
19 Chayapathy, Dhruva 112 3 L22 W34 W64 W45
20 Madison, Lucas 101 2.5 W31 W59 D16 L4
21 Polk, William Eart 2.5 D44 W45 W26 L10
22 Sacca, Will 2 W19 L9 W41 L17
23 Busa, Rithvik 251 2 W51 W30 L4 L18
24 Huang, Zhikai 277 2 W42 W36 L7 L15
25 Ruhl, Hayden 2 L13 W38 L14 W58
26 May, Griffin 2 D16 W44 L21 D35
27 Otuonye, Chidozie 2 W52 L10 W54 L12
28 Wiggins, Christian 537 2 L14 W46 L15 W53
29 Hemanth, Arya 2 W65 L3 W59 L16
30 Allen, Luke 2 W61 L23 W37 L14
31 Brown, Noah 2 L20 W48 W40 L8
32 Naini, Anshul 2 L1 W66 W55 L13
33 Madireddy, Anish 2 W67 L13 W58 L11
34 Yemme, Abhiram 2 L5 L19 W68 W56
35 Mosley, Afton 2 L2 W50 D43 D26
36 O’Neil, Logan 2 W43 L24 W49 L9
37 Michaelsen, Luke 101 2 W54 L2 L30 W64
38 Buel, Tyler 2 L4 L25 W60 W54
39 Kankipati, Saanvi 2 L7 D61 D44 W59
40 Rana, Akul 2 W64 L11 L31 -X-
41 Robinson, Ross Lon 434 2 -N- W65 L22 W43
42 Black, Jude 2 L24 L54 W66 W55
43 Morgan, Anthony 135 1.5 L36 W52 D35 L41
44 Allen, Matthew 1.5 D21 L26 D39 D48
45 Sanchez, Diego 1.5 D56 L21 W51 L19
46 Jitta, Siddhu 1.5 L9 L28 W63 D49
47 Thalluru, Tarun 1.5 L8 W68 L12 D50
48 Stewart, Miles 1.5 L10 L31 W62 D44
49 Kolli, Anish 1.5 L15 W67 L36 D46
50 Sharma, Pareen 1.5 L57 L35 W67 D47
51 Naik, Nilesh 1.5 L23 D64 L45 W65
52 Schwartz, Logan 1.5 L27 L43 D65 W66
53 Christman, Waylon 1 L12 W63 L18 L28
54 Mithani, Krissh 1 L37 W42 L27 L38
55 Bigamudra, Charu 1 L11 W62 L32 L42
56 Higgins, Porter 1 D45 L16 D61 L34
57 Steiner, Will 1 W50 L4 L17 -N-
58 Hood, Preston Grah 110 1 L6 W60 L33 L25
59 Williams, Wright 1 W68 L20 L29 L39
60 Liashenko, Tamara 1 L3 L58 L38 -B-
61 Leslie, Benjamin 1 L30 D39 D56 -F-
62 Quirk, Julian 1 L17 L55 L48 W68
63 Rogers, Luke 1 -N- L53 L46 W67
64 Medarametla, Samhitha 201 0.5 L40 D51 L19 L37
65 Shumway, Nathan 0.5 L29 L41 D52 L51
66 Vyas, Moksh 0 L18 L32 L42 L52
67 Light, T. Henry 0 L33 L49 L50 L63
68 Kraemer, Karl 0 L59 L47 L34 L62
69 Jayaram, Karthik 0 -F- -U- -U- -U-
70 Killam, William 0 -F- -U- -U- -U-


K-5 Full Results

No. Name          Rate        Points Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4
1 Jayavel Kumaresan, Kavin 1612 4 -X- W13 W8 W5
2 Justice, Drew 1610 4 W33 W19 W7 W6
3 Ouanounou, Caleb 611 3.5 W38 W12 D4 W15
4 Njaa, Matthew 3 W11 W16 D3 D18
5 Oguneye, Laolu 1075 3 W20 W10 W14 L1
6 Doman, Rachel 1105 3 W28 W23 W9 L2
7 Muthukumar, Alisha 557 3 W26 W39 L2 W23
8 Markwalter, Everett 562 3 W21 W41 L1 W19
9 Njaa, Nathaniel Da 497 3 W29 W24 L6 W22
10 Kapasi, Sara 182 3 W35 L5 W25 W30
11 Jayasankar, Hari 556 3 L4 W37 W34 W20
12 Higgins, Macsen 2.5 W22 L3 W41 D14
13 Xia, Howard 336 2.5 W31 L1 W24 D16
14 Gill, Yuvraj 371 2.5 W40 W25 L5 D12
15 Bahl, Nishka 401 2.5 D43 W36 W17 L3
16 Chen, Andrew 781 2.5 W37 L4 W30 D13
17 Velecky, Alex 2.5 D30 W32 L15 W31
18 Mirajkar, Eeshan 639 2.5 -N- W35 W21 D4
19 Will, Heather Mich 309 2 W27 L2 W39 L8
20 Polavarapu, Srinandan 2 L5 W26 W38 L11
21 Gaonkar, Saahil 2 L8 W27 L18 W38
22 Kamat, Tanvi 2 L12 W28 W29 L9
23 Hallas, Kylie 107 2 W45 L6 W33 L7
24 Shah, Aryan 2 W34 L9 L13 W40
25 Vargo, Andrew 2 W44 L14 L10 W34
26 Garner, William Ch 2 L7 L20 W37 W36
27 Malepati, Vikas 2 L19 L21 W44 W33
28 Singh, Rohan 2 L6 L22 W45 W39
29 Sarkar, Rishit 2 L9 W44 L22 -X-
30 Shaaya, Matthew Al 1.5 D17 W43 L16 L10
31 Denson, Frederick 1.5 L13 -B- D36 L17
32 Philip, Paul 1.5 D36 L17 W35 -N-
33 Isakson, Jack 1 L2 W42 L23 L27
34 Tong, Nathan 1 L24 W40 L11 L25
35 Xu, Justin Nolan 205 1 L10 L18 L32 -B-
36 Newberry, Joshua C 1 D32 L15 D31 L26
37 Hernandez, Leonardo 1 L16 L11 L26 W44
38 Rogers, Jack 1 L3 W45 L20 L21
39 Hedges, Caleb 1 -X- L7 L19 L28
40 Rappoport, Simon 1 L14 L34 W42 L24
41 Naik, Ishwar 1 W42 L8 L12 -F-
42 Otuonye, Nneka 1 L41 L33 L40 W45
43 Kim, William 0.5 D15 L30 -U- -N-
44 Joshi, Maya 0 L25 L29 L27 L37
45 Lo Monaco, Jean Marco 0 L23 L38 L28 L42
46 Gandhi, Maaher 1043 0 -F- -U- -U- -U-
47 Clark, Parrish 0 -F- -U- -U- -U-
48 Khalil, Alyssa 0 -F- -U- -U- -N-
49 Shivdat, Darran 0 -F- -U- -U- -U-


Grades 6-12 Full Results

No. Name          Rate        Points Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4
1 Jordan, Asaru 957 3.5 W4 W18 W3 D2
2 Morrison, Brett Da 1225 3.5 -X- W7 W5 D1
3 Kumar, Anish 1324 3 W6 W14 L1 W11
4 Nayak, Prabhanjan 3 L1 W9 W18 W8
5 Phillips, Chance 2.5 W9 W8 L2 D6
6 Morozov, Mikhail 2.5 L3 W19 W16 D5
7 Miller, Aquila 2.5 W17 L2 W15 D10
8 Hallas, Sydney 648 2 W15 L5 W10 L4
9 Jordan, Amun ra 2 L5 L4 W19 W13
10 Petrulis, Quinn 2 D16 W13 L8 D7
11 Vanderlaan, Jaron 2 L14 W17 W12 L3
12 Bennett, Lukas 2 D13 D16 L11 W17
13 Scott, Nehemiah 255 1.5 D12 L10 W14 L9
14 Jakobsen, Bennett 127 1.5 W11 L3 L13 D15
15 Vaughan, Alex 1.5 L8 -B- L7 D14
16 Lichtenwalner, Mary 1 D10 D12 L6 -N-
17 Murray, Paul 1 L7 L11 -B- L12
18 Reid, Blake 1 W19 L1 L4 -U-
19 Ellis, D’Andre 109 1 L18 L6 L9 -B-
20 Shivdat, Shawn Shi 0 -F- -U- -U- -U-


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