It occurred to me to write a blog post like this one that salutes the amazing rise of young, Master-strength players in the state of Michigan.
Long gone are the days of yesteryear when it was basically just me and NM Aaron Kahn (since moved to Maryland, it seems) fighting for Michigan's top spot on the young guns list.
I'm hoping there are no omissions below. I've also attached some player's recent accomplishments.
FM Atulya Shetty - USCF 2432, FIDE 2346. Age 18. USCF rating 4 years ago - just 2198. Recent accomplishments: First IM-norm scored in 2014 World Open. 2013 Supernationals K-12 Champion.
NM Edward Song - USCF 2402, FIDE 2281 (19 pts shy of the FM title). Age 15. USCF rating 4 years ago - 1837!! Ed's on a role right now, having won the 2014 US Cadet Championship and placed 2nd in the 2014 Denker Tournament. In 2013, he took bronze in the U16 NAYCC.
NM Safal Bora - USCF 2373, FIDE 2284 (16 pts shy of FM title). Age 16. Rating 4 years ago - 1932. 2013 Denker Champion.
NM Michael Bowersock - USCF 2250, FIDE 2132. Age 19. Rating 4 years ago - 2113.
NM Ben Li - USCF 2247, FIDE 1967. Age 12. Rating 4 years ago - just kidding, he only started playing in tournaments in 2011. Ben is Michigan's newest NM, having crossed the magical barrier in the recently concluded Potomac Open where he nicked a draw off of GM Kekelidze!
WCM and NM Apurva Virkud - USCF 2230, FIDE 2024. Age 16. Rating 4 years ago - 1828. She took silver in the 2013 U16 NAYCC and recently tied for first in the US Junior Girls Invitational.
NM Jalen Wang - USCF 2226, FIDE 2050. Age 16. Rating 4 years ago - 1669. Not joking.
NM Michael Chen - USCF 2199, FIDE 2041. Age 15. Rating 4 years ago - 2015.
The state of Michigan would also like to claim partial credit for NM Prashantha Amarasinghe (2181, 20 yo) and Epiphany Peters (2083, 17 yo) as they spent a number of their formative chess years in Michigan. We miss you guys!
Please join me in applauding these player's hard work and effort in reaching these chess heights! Not to be forgotten are the parent's efforts behind the scenes. Many of these players travel out of state on a regular basis to hone their chess skills. I have to play all these guys on a regular basis and they keep me on my toes!
The 2014 Michigan Open will take place August 29-September 1 in Dearborn. It clearly has the potential to be one of the strongest Michigan Opens of all time. I hope to retain my title but it won't be easy! And that's the way it should be. :-)