Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 Elaine Howie Rating Clubs

Juniors are capable of so much progress in chess! In recognition of their efforts, I have assigned outstanding players to "clubs". Each club is based on a certain amount of rating increase in both CFC and CMA in the year 2010. Even the "100 club" is a huge achievement, so keep up the good work!

Note: Clubs are not necessarily related to the EH Fund Award - see my previous post for the 12 finalists.

EH 100 club
NameIncrease in CFC RatingIncrease in CMA Rating
Jeremy Hui+ 101+ 517
Declan Paul Boushy+ 106+ 151
Zi Yi (Joey) Qin+ 112+ 149
Dan Liu+ 125+ 442
Michael Kleinman+ 126+ 282
Richard Chen+ 133+ 304
Janet Peng+ 137+ 291
Ross Cunningham+ 140+ 223
Jayson Huang+ 232+ 142
Constance Wang+ 154+ 207
Jackie Peng+ 209+ 158
Kevin Wan+ 161+ 217
Kajan Thanabalachandran+ 164+ 218
Theo Wolchock+ 268+ 165
Konstantin Semianiuk+ 169+ 2168 (new)
Zhiyuan Zhang+ 173+ 252
David Miller+ 206+ 176
Jiaxin Liu+ 177+ 192
Jeff Zhang+ 247+ 178
Terrence (Terry) Ju+ 185+ 208
David Itkin+ 191+ 416
Juliaan Posaratnanathan+ 192+ 232
Yue Tong (Davy) Zhao+ 195+ 228
Patrick Angelo Tolentino+ 238+ 195

EH 200 club
NameIncrease in CFC RatingIncrease in CMA Rating
Varshini Paraparan+ 200+ 376
Leslie Tang+ 205+ 295
Jamil F. Kassam+ 301+ 212
Dennis Tismenko+ 241+ 752
Shaumik Baki+ 245+ 365
Hong Rui Zhu+ 257+ 331
Ryan Yang+ 266+ 606
Yuanchen Zhang+ 270+ 270
Luke Pulfer+ 295+ 543

EH 300 club
NameIncrease in CFC RatingIncrease in CMA Rating
Joshua Doknjas+ 309+ 495
Michael Su+ 316+ 1230 (new)
Nicole Birarov+ 368+ 464
Lin (Xin) Song+ 376+ 422

EH 400 club
NameIncrease in CFC RatingIncrease in CMA Rating
Razvan Preotu+ 589+ 440
Mathanhe Kaneshalingam+ 628+ 441

EH 600 club
NameIncrease in CFC RatingIncrease in CMA Rating
Jason Cao+ 689+ 602

Elaine Howie Fund Top 12

Very difficult to narrow down, but here are the 12 finalists - congratulations, ONE of you will win the 2010 EH Fund award!

Yue Tong (Davy) Zhao
Luke Pulfer
Nicole Birarov
Patrick Angelo Tolentino
Varshini Paraparan
Jamil F. Kassam
Daniel Zotkin
Derick Aghamalian
Jeff Zhang
Razvan Preotu
Juliaan Posaratnanathan
Yuekai Wang

If your name is above, send me an email ( for information on receiving a Top 12 certificate and prize.

If you know any of these juniors, please inform them of this achievement!

Main criteria used to judge:

- Must be a junior, under the age of 18
- Must be a member of both the CFC and CMA
- Must appear in the Top 50 list for their grade/age group in 2010
- Displays commitment through participation in a variety of tournaments in 2010; active tournaments count for participation; at-home matches do not count
- Substantial rating growth in both CFC (regular rating) and CMA in 2010
- General consistency - for instance, performance ratings generally higher than ratings entering tournaments
- Preference is given to those who achieved a score of 50% or more in a few large events (provincial, national, continental), particularly the CYCC
- Significant achievements/performances/training/teamwork are considered
- Rating progress for new players is judged based on their first rating, where available, rather than zero
- Factors such as province, gender, school, chess club, etc. are considered irrelevant in the selection process


- Anyone affiliated with me or my blog, such as past students, co-instructors, and library volunteers, is excluded from receiving the monetary prize
- Anyone known to be receiving funding from another source (like CMA) is also excluded
- In future years, the fund cannot be claimed by the same recipient unless the fund structure changes significantly

More information to come...

Elaine Howie Fund Update

Hello Readers,

I found some time this weekend to sort through the numbers related to the 2010 fund. More details in the morning...

To give you an idea of juniors who have done exceptionally well in 2010 according to the criteria I have set out (I'll explain in the morning; the order below is simply by age category):

Theo Wolchock
Joshua Doknjas
Yue Tong (Davy) Zhao
Kevin Yi-Xiao Yie
Luke Pulfer
Nicole Birarov
Declan Paul Boushy
Patrick Angelo Tolentino
Varshini Paraparan
Joseph Bellissimo
Yuanchen Zhang
Jamil F. Kassam
Kevin Wan
Daniel Zotkin
Derick Aghamalian
Jeff Zhang
Jiaxin Liu
Mark Nie
Richard Chen
Janet Peng
Constance Wang
Razvan Preotu
Mark Plotkin
Jackie Peng
Ryan Yang
Bryant Yang
Diwen Shi
Zhanna Sametova
Shaumik Baki
Dennis Tismenko
Zi Yi (Joey) Qin
David Itkin
Juliaan Posaratnanathan
Yuekai Wang
Lin (Xin) Song
Leslie Tang
Jayson Huang

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Schedule Correction

I'll update content the weekend of Jan 29/30 instead of Jan. 22/23. This year is very busy! Hope you're all doing well. Since I can't see you in person right now, I'll give you a big smile instead ~


(that's the largest size I can make at the moment - next time it'll be even bigger)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Countdown Answers

Wow, I didn't expect to be so busy these past few weeks! I have a break now, so I'll start by posting answers to the remaining countdown questions. More posts to come this weekend...including fund recipient!

Countdown #17 - 23 - Would You Rather x 7

- Up to 7 points available

1. Would you rather play in a chess tournament on Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve?

Probably Christmas Eve! I usually like to stay at home on New Year's Eve to watch the countdown under a warm blanket. On the other hand, if I stay at home on Christmas Eve, you can guess by now what I'd be doing - wrapping last minute gifts. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

2. Would you rather receive a wool sweater with a huge graphic of a chess king that says "Check me!" or an antenna hat with giant light-up pawns?

I'm not much of a sweater person. Plus, there's something compelling about things that bounce around, light up, and make you look like a bumble bee. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

3. Would you rather make a (chess-related) holiday logo for Apple or Microsoft?

Oooh tough one...I'd buy the software from Microsoft, and create the logo for Apple. As you'll find out below, I love apples in general, and the company Apple seems to have a more colour-oriented logo in general. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

4. Would you rather have a completely black and white holiday tree or a standard tree with all black and white ornaments?

Every now and then I like think up something fresh and unique. A black and white tree would certainly suit my style! (1 point for any appropriate answer)

5. Would you rather eat burnt holiday brownies or burnt holiday pie?

These options seem rather ridiculous, considering I'm not a big fan of sweets in the first place (I like to bake, and I'll have sweets here and there, but I don't enjoy them nearly as much as when I was younger). I prefer pie to brownies, especially if the pie has cinnamon in it, but burnt pie tastes awful. So brownies win by default. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

6. Would you rather go shopping on December 24 (Christmas Eve) or December 26 (Boxing Day)?

Easy choice - Christmas Eve. Before Christmas, I'm able to rationalize shopping for gifts (and delay wrapping them haha), even if it means finding my way through crowds. But after Christmas, I just want to relax and get back to other things that need to be done. True, there are some great deals on Boxing Day, but I've learned more than once that it's not worth lining up early in the morning for whatever scraps that didn't make it into Santa's bag. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

7. Would you rather spend Christmas day (substitute with another holiday if you don't celebrate Christmas) at home or with relatives/friends?

I love all my relatives and friends, but there is no better day than Christmas to spend time with my family. (1 point for any appropriate answer)

Countdown #24 - Knight Path (modified)

- Up to 5 points available

I haven't found a solution yet - have you? Here are my attempts (2 points for filling at least half the board):

Nh1 - g3 - f1 - h2 - f3 - g1 - h3 - f2 - g4 - e3 - g2 - e1 - d3 - b2 - d1 - c3 - e2 - c1 - a2 - b4 - c2 - a1 - b3 - d2 - b1 - a3 - c4 - d6 - f7 - h8 - g6 - h4 - f5 - h6 - g8 - f6 - e8 - g7 - h5 - f4 - e6 - g5 - h7 - f8 - d7 -b8 - a6 - c5 - a4 - b6 - c8 - e7 - c6 - d8 - b7 - a5 ouch so close

Nh1 - g3 - f1 - h2 - f3 - g1 - h3 - f2 - d1 - e3 - g2 - e1 - d3 - c1 - e2 - c3 - a2 - b4 - c2 - a1 - b3 - d2 - b1 - a3 - c4 - b2 - a4 - c5 - d7 - f6 - g4 - h6 - g8 - e7 - f5 - h4 - g6 - h8 - f7 - g5 - h7 - f8 - e6 - f4 - h5 - g7 - e8 - d6 (I can already see I've made a misstep somewhere) - b5 - a7 - c6 - e8 - b7 - a5

(third attempt = trying to work from the front and back)

Nh1 - g3 - f1 - h2 - f3 - g1 - h3 - f2 - g4 - e3 - d1 - b2 - d3 - c1 - e2 - c3 - a2 - b4 - a6 - c5 - a4 - b6 - c4 - a3 - b1 - d2 - b3 - a1 - c2 - e1 -g2 - h4 - g6 - h8 - f7 - d8 - e6 - f8 - h7 - g5

Na8 - c7 - e8 - f6 - d7 - b8 - c6 - a5 - b7 - d6 - b5 - a7 - c8 - e7 - g8 - h6 - f5 - g7 - h5 - f4

(unfortunately the two knights cannot connect)

The biggest problem is keeping moves flexible without boxing off certain squares, especially edges and corners. Even if you don't find a solution, this is a great exercise for students, since it involves thinking many moves in advance!

Countdown #25 - Joke IV

- Up to 5 points available

Why does Santa give chess sets without the queens and rooks?

Answer: On the busy night before Christmas, he wants to avoid major problems! (5 points for correct guess, 2 points for any creative guess)

Countdown #26 - River-crossing

- 2 points available

1. Rook and knight cross
2. Rook returns
3. Rook and one 'male' pawn cross
4. Rook and knight return
5. King and other 'male' pawn cross
6. King returns
7. King and queen cross
8. Queen returns
9. Rook and knight cross
10. King returns
11. King and queen cross
12. Queen returns
13. Queen and one 'female' pawn cross
14. Rook and knight return
15. Rook and other 'female' pawn cross
16. Rook returns
17. Rook and knight cross

(2 points for finding the entire solution)

Countdown #27 - Camel Story

- Up to 4 points available

Question 1 -What are the names of the camels and how were these names chosen?

Gamalo and Gamala. 'Gamal' means camel in Arabic. (1 point)

Question 2 - What did the camels say the chess king looked like?

A pharaoh. (1 point)

Question 3 - How did chess lose its status as a 'royal game'?

'Sandbagging'. For further information, see (1 point)

Question 4 - What is the name of the tournament Oscar will play in?

Ma'at. (1 point)

Countdown #28 - Brain Teaser

- 2 points available

In a single move, Johnny moved his king two squares, but did not castle. How is this possible?

Johnny is playing checkers. He moved his king two squares by jumping over one of his opponent's pieces (how nice - kings can jump in checkers but not in chess!), and hopefully winning the game. (2 points)

Countdown #29 - Top Ten II

- Up to 7 points available

Top 10 ways to signal you want to resign a chess game:

1. Say "I resign".
2. Shake (1 point) hands
3. Tip down your king (1 point)
4. Stop the clock (1 point)
5. Write "you win" on your scorepad and show it to your opponent
6. Stare at your opponent angrily, then storm/stomp/run/etc. (1 point) out of the room (not a good idea!!!)
7. Sweep all the pieces (1 point) off the board ( (not a good idea!!!)
8. Offer to play (1 point) again
9. Spell it out using toothpicks?
10. Disconnect your computer (1 point) (not very nice, even if your opponent usually can't see you!!!)

Countdown #30 - How well do you know your blog writer?

- Up to 4 points available

Question 1 - What are my favourite colours?

I love all sorts of colours, but my favourites...
(c) Blue and purple...they're so 'cool'! (1 point)

Question 2 - What do I like to drink when I need an energy boost?

Coke Zero is okay, but a bit too bubbly to have regularly. Plain water is a bit too...plain. I never have energy drinks, so take a point off if you chose that.
(b) Vanilla cappuccino (1 point)

Question 3 - What is my favourite thing to do over the holidays?

If you took a look at one of my other countdowns, wrapping gifts is out of question.'s not so bad afterall...just not my favourite. Shops are too hectic. Visiting friends is nice, but in the end, I just want to catch up on some zzzzzzz.
(b) Sleep (1 point)

Question 4 - I was once asked what food I could live off of for the rest of my life. What was my answer?

This question was asked a long time ago, but I think my answer made sense. I love apples!
(b) Apples (1 point)

Countdown #31 - New Year

- Up to 5 points available

Five of my resolutions (1 point for each of your resolutions):

1. Aim for a healthier lifestyle - I won't list all the specific details here, but it includes drinking more water, eating daily vitamins, choosing whole grains/fruits/veggies when possible, and getting at least 6 - 8 hours of sleep most nights.

2. With first semester over, time to reorganize! Throughout January (since this post is late, I have already accomplished much of this 'reorganization'), reclean my room, get all my new course materials, sort my computer files, contact friends, ...

3. This semester, go to all my classes (unless there is a legitimate reason like illness), but leave time for other activities (at least 1 volunteer initiative and at least 1 school club).

4. Find a summer job to support my education.

5. As for my blog, throughout the next year, give out the 2010 Elaine Howie Fund, collect at least $200 for the 2011 fund, finish the camel story, think of at least five fresh new ideas for regular features on the blog, update tournament information monthly, and of course, continue to entertain my readers!

Congratulations for finishing the countdown! Hope everyone is having a great month!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Final Countdown (answers coming soon)

Hope everyone is enjoying 2011!!!

The last countdown question should be an easy one:

What are five resolutions you have for the new year?

(1 point per resolution)

~ I'll post five of mine with the answers to the other countdown questions soon ~