Nation's Top Chess Kids to Battle in Online Invitational

  • IM dpruess
  • on 5/30/12, 6:23 AM.

16 of the U.S.A.'s top young chess talents will be participating in two new invitational competitions June 8-10: the U.S. under-12 Invitational and the U.S. under-8 Invitational. The matches will be covered via internet streaming video (schedule below), with a child audience in mind, by IM David Pruess, Expert David Petty, and IM Daniel Rensch. The two 8-player sections will each be played in a round robin format-- each player plays each other player one time-- with the pairings known weeks in advance.

There is a boom coming in the quality of young chess players in the U.S., but for the moment there are few or no opportunities for the youngest talents to practice playing in such "closed" tournaments, where you face only strong players, and know all your opponents in advance. Such events are both good for a player's development, and extremely common at professional levels, so it's high time that younger American players have a chance to play in them. The response was extremely positive, as almost all the top eligible players decided to participate. Here are the fields:


Jeffery Xiong 2394

Jonathan Chiang 2216

Tommy He 2202

Cameron Wheeler 2190

Ruifeng Li 2179

Roland Feng 2179

Albert Lu 2154

Udit Iyengar 2075

Some notes on this section:

- FOUR of the players compete at the Dallas Chess Club! This is a sign of the quality of the programs being run there. A question for the tournament: how will their familiarity with each other play into the results?

- Jeffery Xiong has a large rating lead over his age-mates. How good is the 11-year old? Try to judge for yourself from this game he played a few days ago:


Ben Rood 1733

Jason Metpally 1689

Joaquin Perkins 1654

Daniel Levkov 1600

Ethan Tang 1569

Rohan Suryawanshi 1565

Roshan Idnani 1532

Taran Idnani 1531

Some notes on this section:

- The rating spread in this section is pretty tight; furthermore, the ratings of the participants have fluctuated quite a bit just in the last couple months. So it is very hard to predict any favorites.

- We have a pair of twins playing! Will the brothers share their impressions of the other players, thus improving their results?

- In 2013, the under-8 event will probably be replaced by an under-9. How many of the participants will be back next year?


$2000 of Private lessons have been purchased from some of the nation's top chess coaches: GM Gregory Kaidanov, Elizabeth Vicary, GM Gregory Serper, IM Danny Rensch, GM Magesh Panchanathan, GM Josh Friedel, FM Alex Betanelli, IM John Bartholomew, FM Todd Andrews, FM Craig Jones, GM Sam Shankland, GM Babakuli Annakov, WGM Jennifer Shahade, and IM David Pruess. Each participant will get some lesson(s). Also, each participant will get a one year diamond membership on, with access to a vast stock of learning materials (although three young participants have already earned free memberships by earning their Master titles!). Additionally, the winner of the Under-12 will receive an invitation to the US Chess School for a top-notch training session.

Watch Live

The games will be played on, so they can be observed in live chess there. A much better way to watch would be the live commentary here, with the show designed for an audience of children, though others will be able to enjoy it as well. The schedule is (all times Pacific):

June 8: 4 pm

June 9: 9 am, 1 pm, 5pm

June 10: 9 am, 1pm, 5pm

The show will be hosted by's three Content managers: PlayfulSquirrel (aka IM Pruess), PinkHamster (aka Expert Petty), and PoppaBear (aka IM Rensch).


The time control is 90 minutes for the game, plus 5 seconds added each move. In the event of a tie, a player with 4 blacks will be ahead of a player with 4 whites on tie-break; else they will be considered co-champions. There will be no takebacks in the event of mouseslips.


The tournament is sponsored entirely by Chesskid is designed to be a safe place for children to play online, with technology from, like Tactics Trainer and Computer Workout, and with its own content (video, article, etc.) geared towards kids and parents and coaches.

If you are interested in being a sponsor of this event next year, please contact the organizer, David Pruess.

Other Acknowledgements

I would like to extend a big thank you to the following chess clubs and tournament directors who made this event possible by hosting the players: the Dallas Chess Club, Luis Salinas, the Seattle Chess Club, Fred Kleist, Dan Matthew, the Berkeley Chess School, Chess Palace, Alfredo and Anthony Ong, the Chess Club of Fairfield County, Chess Emporium, and Dean Ippolito and his Dean of Chess Academy. They not only make the event much more official, but provide the local chess public with the opportunity of watching these young stars play live. If you live near any of these chess clubs/schools, you can contact them about going to watch.

If you have any other questions about the event, please contact organizer IM David Pruess, via email: dpruess at

8342 reads 35 comments
4 votes


  • 3 years ago


    Exactly, 6 of the 8 players in under12 section are Chinese-American, only Wheeler and Iyengar are not.

  • 4 years ago


    ok just looked at the top game...

    Can someone please explain, I don't understand why a NM would give up an exchange for nothing (move 23) or a knight for two pawns (move 14). I guess there must be something I'm overlooking?

    also how can an online tournament be USCF-rated, I thought only OTB tournaments could be rated.

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    the tournament is underway, and MAN they are so good. i created some event pages:

    you can find results, standings, games, and schedule for further rounds and broadcasts from those two links.

  • 4 years ago


    My last name is German, my wife's is Hungarian, my neighbor's is English. I don't know a single person with an "American" last name. Honestly, I don't know what that would mean.

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    People in the U.S.A. have names that come from all around the world.

  • 4 years ago


    In the U - 12 section, almost everyone's name looks Chinese to me. And there's one Indian - Udit Iyengar, and the bottom 3 in the U - 8 are Indian names, so this doesn't look like American championship. 

  • 4 years ago

    NM flashboy2222


  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess


  • 4 years ago

    FM ImmortalTechnique

    david, any chance i can guest broadcast with you guys for this event?  cameron is my student.

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    it's a combination. these are kids who have many things going for them, probably each one different but: talent, supportive families, good coaches, access to chess information via computers, strong psychology, etc. etc.

  • 4 years ago


    So is it just raw talent or have these kids been coached in the game?  Combination of both?  Computers are probably a big asset as well.  Another reason why Bobby Fischer was so amazing at a young age.  All I know is that Fischer had a large supply of information through books and played constantly at the Brooklyn Chess Club.  I don't think anyone even had a computer back then...

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    expert is 2000-2199 uscf, and 2200+ is "national master"

  • 4 years ago


    It is very humbling to see children three times younger have a rating three times higher!  I view chess very much the same as learning a language however.  I understand that the earlier you are exposed the easier it is to pick it up; especially if you have the right mentors and tools.  I believe these kids are the next generation of the world's elite and it would be nice to see more Americans in that untouchable group.  Does anyone know what is the rating difference between expert and master is?

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    how do they make you angry?

  • 4 years ago


    im 8 im 1300 these are kids that make me angry

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago

    IM Fins0905

    Awesome experience for these young guns - way to go, David.

  • 4 years ago


    I watched Xiong this weekend at the Chicago Open, kid's a beast.

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    Ben Rood is playing in the under 8 section. The players are 7 years old. So no, you can't play in that section as a 9-year old. you can see that you'd need a rating of about 2100 to get invited to the under 12 next year.

  • 4 years ago


    can i be invited?

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