16th Annual MLK Tournament

By Laura Doman

 Nearly 400 scholastic players took advantage of their day off from school to play in the 16th Annual MLK Tournament at Whitefield Academy on January 16, 2017.   Kindergarteners through High School players squared off in eight sections and five rounds (four for K-1) to determine individual and school team champions.  As in previous years, the tournament also hosted charity projects for the kids to engage in between rounds.  Backpacks and hygiene kits were assembled and prepared for donation to newly arrived refugee families, and young artists created hand-made valentine cards, each of which will delivered with a hot meal by Meals on Wheels to a senior citizen in the Atlanta community.


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A big thank you goes to our corporate sponsor LexisNexis for donating funds to purchase the backpacks, school supplies, hygienic items, and arts and crafts supplies.  New American Pathways, our partner in distributing the backpacks and hygienic kits, tweeted: “#ThankYouThursday to @GeorgiaChess who kept tradition of donating 100 backpacks w/supplies for #MLKDay! Such wonderful students & parents.”  LexisNexis also generously contributed to our player prizes, which included individual stipends of $100 to each of the section winners to attend the 2017 Supernationals in Nashville later this spring.




Besides the stipends, trophies were awarded to the top individual finishers in each section, as well as to each section’s top scoring school teams.  Players who scored three or more points out of a possible five were awarded “plus score” trophies for winning more than half their games. New tournament players often start their chess trophy collections with these plus score prizes, so there were many happy faces delighted to bring home their very first chess awards.

In many cases, multiple players finished with the same number of points.  To determine their final rankings, the WinTD computer system employs an intricate series of tiebreaks to evaluate the strength that each player demonstrated, based on game results and the USCF ratings strength of his/her opponents, as well as how successful those opponents fared against THEIR opponents in the other rounds.  It’s a complicated system, but it works.   Here are the results by section:

K-1:  There were 38 kindergarteners and first graders competing in the K-1 section, which played in its own tournament hall within the Skittles area:

  1. Shunji Hashimoto
  2. Dariush Afshar
  3. Nate Resnick
  4. Sophia Resnick
  5. Isabella Sullivan
  6. Samuel Drucker
  7. Dhruv Polsani
  8. Krishik Busa
  9. Kyle Cameron
  10. Jason Blake

The top three K-1 school teams, in a field of eight schools, were:

  1. Trinity School
  2. Westminster
  3. Woodward Academy

K-3 Under 400:  Half of all K-3 players chose to play in this section for players with USCF ratings under 400.  Out of 57 competitors, the top two players each finished with a perfect score of five points, with their finishing position determined by tie-breaks:

  1. Sidney Silhan
  2. Aidan Park
  3. David Katz
  4. Joseramon Herrera-Sanchez
  5. Siddhartha Jitta
  6. William Liang
  7. Dunan Zanjani
  8. Seyoum Gebrehiwot
  9. Devesh Venkateswaran
  10. Finn Keough

The top three school teams out of eight competing in the K-3 U400 section were:

  1. Fernbank Elementary
  2. Daves Creek Elementary
  3. Whitefield Academy

K-3:  The other 57 K-3 players produced a clear winner (five point score) and nine others with four point scores tied for second place.  The top finishers were:

  1. Aarush Konda
  2. Andrew Jiang
  3. Tanishraj Udhyakumar
  4. Brandon Shin
  5. Kayden Choi
  6. Gabriella Slezinger
  7. Christopher Gao
  8. Evan Laney
  9. Samanyu Ganesh
  10. William Berny

Out of ten K-3 school teams, the top scoring teams were:

  1. Parsons Elementary
  2. Westminster
  3. Woodward Academy

K-5 Under 600:  Sixty-three players competed in the K-5 Under 600 section, with the top two each scoring a perfect five points.  Again, tiebreaks determined the final ranking for awards.

  1. Sai Chandra Kisho Palireddy
  2. Nathan Deluryea
  3. Kaya Keski
  4. Abhay Shetty
  5. Dhruva Chayapathy
  6. Carter Hickson
  7. Cole Belinfante
  8. Nikhil Palakshappa
  9. Dylan Hirokawa
  10. Michael Fu

Eleven teams competed in the K-5 U600 section, but the top three were:

  1. Pace Academy
  2. Montgomery Elementary
  3. Fernbank

K-5:  The K-5 section was our largest, with 79 players:

  1. Eli Swafford
  2. Bhavin Shah
  3. Nate Jones
  4. Tanish Potula
  5. Wolfe Hudepohl
  6. Cloud Jackson
  7. Anish Madireddy
  8. Ashwin Raj
  9. Jacob Wood
  10. Joseph Vattakkunnel

The K-5 section fielded 17 teams led by:

  1. Trinity School
  2. Daves Creek Elementary
  3. Whitefield Academy

Middle School (grades 6-8): With 51 players, Middle School was our most popular section:

  1. Alex Lilly
  2. Kai Diez
  3. Monish Jampala
  4. Daniel Wood
  5. Maaher Gandhi
  6. Ethan Borst
  7. Everett Markwalter
  8. Sriharsha Kocherla
  9. Ocean Liu
  10. Sofia Khemani

The top two grades 6-8  teams, out of nine Middle School teams, were:

  1. Fulton Science Academy
  2. Sutton Middle School

The 6-12 Under 1000/Unrated section and the High School section, due to their smaller numbers, recognized five individuals and one championship team each.  The top five players out of fifteen in the combined Middle/High School Under 1000/Unrated section were:

  1. William Rodemsky
  2. Samuel Willie
  3. Anson Lee
  4. John Li
  5. Amartya Kallingal

The top school team in 6-12 U1000/Unrated was Griffin Middle School.

The 9-12 High School section had 24 players and five trophy winners:

  1. Anish Kumar
  2. Suraj Peramanu
  3. Jordan Williams
  4. Arish Virani
  5. Srikar Doddi

Northview High School took first place in the High School division.

Congratulations to our trophy winners and thank you to all who played in the tournament and participated in the charity projects. Thank you again, LexisNexis, for supporting the charity event and player prizes!  The younger kids especially seemed to enjoy the combination of serious chess competition and the hands-on service projects.  A special thank you goes to the adult and student volunteers who staffed this big event and ensured that it ran smoothly.  The GCA particularly wants to gratefully acknowledge Whitefield Academy for once again for hosting the MLK tournament.  Many of their students set up the tables and chairs during the holiday weekend, which was a tremendous job.  We very much appreciate all that you did to support this successful tournament!

We hope that everyone enjoyed the tournament, and we look forward to seeing our Elementary and Middle School players back again at the Metro Atlanta K-8 Team State Qualifier 2017 on Saturday, February 4 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.



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