Monday, January 30, 2012

2011 Elaine Howie Fund - The Big Announcement!

It's finally time to announce the prize order for the Elaine Howie Fund "Top 12" finalists!

This year's prizing was an extremely tough decision. All the players mentioned had a spectacular year, and deserve to be recognized for their achievements. However, there were two players who stood out the most. Both reminded me of all-around values this fund was set up to highlight, but in two very different ways. Therefore, I would like to award two “gold” placements (instead of one “gold” and one “silver star”), each which will receive a cheque for $100. There will still be three “silver” placements, displayed below, leaving three “bronze” awards, one Youth Girls Award, and the three special mentions (that were announced earlier). I want to stress that all placements are incredible achievements. Decisions often came down to very slight differences because everyone in the “Top 12” had a lot of positive aspects that set him/her apart. I believe you will all have bright futures.

Now for the big announcement...

The Gold Award, which consists of a "gold" certificate, 2011 Top 12 pin, and $100 prize money (each), goes to Olivier-Kenta Chiku-Ratte and Nicholas Lee!

Olivier-Kenta Chiku-Ratte (QC) demonstrated outstanding leadership in 2011, progressing with performances seldom seen for juniors his age. He also participated in a broad range of clubs/events, served as a role model for development in Quebec (and the rest of Canada), and set the stage for Canadian Team confidence at the international level. He is definitely one to watch as a forerunner in Canadian chess.

Nicholas Lee (AB) is the kind of player I had dreamed of awarding through this fund process. Others sometimes wonder why I don’t just pick the #1 players in each age category and make them the “Top 12”. Well, here’s my answer: although rating is a significant factor in decisions, it is just one number. It does not necessarily show who made progress during the year, who participated in a variety of events, who demonstrated commitment/consistency/spirit, or even how long a player has been playing (it takes time to build up a rating, so a newer player, or one from a particular region, could have a lot of potential but still not be at the very top of rating lists). I want to make sure players like Nicholas Lee receive recognition too. His performances have grown significantly throughout the year, with consistent progress in ALL fourteen events he participated in! Multiple times, he placed in the top three spots among players much higher in rating. He also seems very committed to chess in his home province of Alberta.

The Silver Award, which consists of a "silver" certificate and 2011 Top 12 pin, goes to Sergey Noritsyn (ON), Zong Yang Yu (QC), and John Doknjas (BC).

The Bronze Award, which consists of a "bronze" certificate and 2011 Top 12 pin, goes to Melissa Giblon (ON), Nicolas Robichaud (NB), and Nikola Isaev (QC).

The Youth Girls Award (Special Mention), which consists of a certificate, 2011 Top 12 pin, $100 prize money, and free entry into the 2012 Ontario Girls' Chess Championship (, entry courtesy of Corinna Wan), goes to Qiyu Zhou (ON).

Special Mention, which consists of a certificate and 2011 Top 12 pin, goes to Yuanchen Zhang (ON), Michael Song (ON), and Richard Wang (AB).

In early February, I will be posting a full set of 2011 highlight achievements for each member of this year’s “Top 12”. Please let me know if you would like to share a positive message for one or more of the recipients with that post!

Note: Award recipients may be eligible for future fund prizes (based on performance each year). However, those receiving $100 will not be eligible for further prize money unless the fund structure is changed to allow for a significant prize difference.

If you have been mentioned in the award lists above and have not contacted me yet, please do so to receive your prize. I would also appreciate if someone would spread the word, especially in French to the players in Quebec.

Good luck to everyone in 2012. Looking forward to seeing more great results from our youth players!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

2011 Elaine Howie Rating Clubs

Juniors are capable of so much progress in chess! In recognition of their efforts, I have assigned players to "clubs". Each club is based on a certain amount of rating increase in both CFC (and/or FQE) and CMA in the year 2011. CFC and FQE ratings are based on regular (slow) games. Those mentioned have also met the criteria of being in the top fifty lists for the CFC/FQE/CMA and have recent participation in a CFC or FQE event (since September). Even the "100 club" is a huge achievement, so keep up the good work!

In bold are the names of players who were in the “Top 12” last year. This year’s progress is a very significant achievement for them since they have made great strides two years in a row. Congrats!

Note: Rating increase is not the only factor considered in the selection & ordering of the “Top 12” finalists. The finalists are named in my previous post, and their award order will be announced soon.

EH 100 club
NameGradeProvinceCFC RatingFQE RatingCMA Rating
Kaixin Wang3AB+ 624N/A+ 105
Kaining Lin3AB+ 382N/A+ 101
Frank Wang3ON+ 658N/A+ 119
Hou Han Zhang4QCN/A+ 162+ 141
Varun Sekar4ON+ 127N/A+ 265
Jiaxin (Dora) Liu5ON+ 184N/A+ 119
Dennis Shamroni5ON+ 215N/A+ 113
Ananda Saha5QCN/A+ 143+ 435
Jingzhi (Edwin) Xu5BC+ 220N/A+ 144
Terrence (Terry) Ju5ON+ 216N/A+ 146
Jason Cao6BC+ 132N/A+ 297
Matthew Zita6AB+ 126N/A+ 740
Olivier-Kenta Chiku-Ratte7QC+ 396+ 101+ 140
Yu Qing Liu7QCN/A+ 117+ 169
Lakes Liang7ON+ 257N/A+ 119
Sheng-Ming Gu8QCN/A+ 113+ 139
Cedric Lepine9QCN/A+ 143+ 286
James Fu9ON+ 161N/A+ 112
Yimang Yang9ON+ 144N/A+ 221
Aquino Inigo11ON+ 121N/A+ 242
David Itkin11ON+ 105N/A+ 259

EH 150 club
NameGradeProvinceCFC RatingFQE RatingCMA Rating
Harmony Zhu1BC+ 156N/A+ 274
Rohan (Shiyam) Talukdar3ON+ 160N/A+ 481
Patrick Angelo Tolentino4AB+ 164N/A+ 194
Matthew Geng4BC+ 196N/A+ 217
Yuanchen Zhang5ON+ 191N/A+ 264
Jeffrey Xu5ON+ 259N/A+ 177
Matthieu Johnson-Constantin5QCN/A+ 170+ 260
Razvan Preotu7ON+ 180N/A+ 570
John Doknjas7BC+ 160N/A+ 272
Melissa Giblon7ON+ 180N/A+ 218
Chang Yun8QC+ 315+ 159+ 174
Qun Tian Xiang9QCN/A+ 165+ 182
Michael Gomes9ON+ 177N/A+ 184

EH 200 club
NameGradeProvinceCFC RatingFQE RatingCMA Rating
David Yao4AB+ 559N/A+ 240
Varshini Paraparan4ON+ 203N/A+ 568
Yue Tong (Davy) Zhao4ON+ 252N/A+ 208
Richard Chen5ON+ 546N/A+ 222
Jackie Peng8ON+ 241N/A+ 412
Dragos (Octavian) Manailoiu8QCN/A+ 372+ 205
Emile Trottier12QC+ 305+ 248+ 389
David Miller12AB+ 205N/A+ 513

EH 250 club
NameGradeProvinceCFC RatingFQE RatingCMA Rating
Sergey Noritsyn3ON+ 252N/A+ 750
Luke Pulfer3BC+ 289N/A+ 337
Kevin Yi-Xiao Yie4ON+ 270N/A+ 259
Dinny Wang5ON+ 424N/A+ 262
Constance Wang5ON+ 264N/A+ 347
Michael Chang7QCN/A+282+ 296
Mathew Herdin8BC+ 256N/A+ 496
Ryan Lo9BC+ 250N/A+ 300
Owen Qian9ON+ 253N/A+ 315
Nicolas Robichaud9NB+ 254N/A+ 300
Krishneel Singh10AB+ 300N/A+ 258

EH 300 club
NameGradeProvinceCFC RatingFQE RatingCMA Rating
Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux2QCN/A+ 311+ 719
Immanuel Huang4ON+ 300N/A+ 325
Qiyu Zhou6ON+ 334N/A+ 422
Nikola Isaev11QCN/A+ 520+ 306

EH 350+ club
NameGradeProvinceCFC RatingFQE RatingCMA Rating
Jia Yu Luo3QCN/A+ 350+ 462
Eric Zechen Wang6ON+ 421N/A+ 371
Zong Yang Yu7QCN/A+ 542+ 463
Nicholas Lee7AB+ 373N/A+ 355

Further Honourable Mentions
Taylor Zhang (ON, Grade 3) and Benjamin Lin (ON, Grade 2) would have been in the “EH 200 Club”

Our 2011 WYCC Team: Luke Pulfer, Frank Wang, Sergey Noritsyn, Rohan (Shiyam) Talukdar, Taylor Zhang, Jeannie Zhang, Yuanchen Zhang, Dinny Wang, Constance Wang, Varshini Paraparan, Lily Zhou, Michael Song, Razvan Preotu, Olivier-Kenta Chiku-Ratte, Qiyu Zhou, Melissa Giblon, Rachel (Long-Xin) Tao, Dorsa Moayyed, Richard Wang, Mark Plotkin, James Fu, Agastya Kalra, Yimang Yang, Bryant Yang, Rebecca Giblon, Joanne Foote, Louisa (Qian Qian) Hou, Konstantin Semianiuk, David Zhang, Nikita Gusev, Mike Ivanov, Simon Gladstone, Myriam Roy, Chang Yun, Regina-Veronicka Kalaydina, Tina Fang, Kimia Moayyed, Loren (Brigham) Laceste, Yelizaveta (Liza) Orlova, Linda Fu

Our 2011 Pan-Am Team: Jackie Peng, Dezheng Kong, Jiaxin (Dora) Liu

Sunday, January 15, 2012

2011 Elaine Howie Fund

Who's excited to find out this year's "Top 12"? Well, you'll be happy to know I've been toiling at it all weekend...and the results are in!

Donations this year: $145 for the main part of the fund + $100 specifically for the Youth Girls Award + a bit more to come for Chinese New Year

So there will be two main awards, $100 each, and one Youth Girls Award, $100. Twelve juniors, including the three receiving monetary prizes, will be announced as the "Top 12". Each will receive an award pin & certificate. Certificates will be marked Gold (x1), Silver (x3 - one which will be "Silver Star"), Bronze (x4), and Special Mention (x4 - one which will be the "Youth Girls Award"). Below, I will announce the twelve selected, but will not announce the full selection of awards until later this month. For now, if you see your name as part of the twelve recipients, please contact me ( as soon as possible with your mailing info so that your package can be ready to go by February.

Selection rules were pretty much the same as last year. In particular, the following process was used:

1. Rating lists were looked up for juniors under the age of eighteen. Those considered were within the top fifty players in their age category for the CMA (, and either the CFC ( or FQE ( Province and gender were not used as major selection criteria (except for the Youth Girls Award), though overall diversity of the fund was considered. Last year's recipients were also considered. However, past students and others I have worked with were not eligible. To further narrow the pool, juniors considered had to have played in at least one CFC or FQE event since September 2011.

2. After the first lists were composed, rating differences from Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 were calculated (2011 ending rating minus 2011 starting rating) for each rating category (CFC, FQE, CMA). Only those with positive rating differences were still eligible.

3. In all rating categories, I looked for this as minimum progress: progress of 150 if initial rating <1000, progress of 100 if initially rated 1000-2000, progress of 50 if initially rated 2000-2200, progress of 25 if initial rating>2200

4. Individual tournaments/performances of those remaining were analyzed, particularly participation & performance in larger Canadian tournaments (CYCC/YCCs, Canadian Open, Quebec Open, “Junior” tournaments, Chess Challenge, etc.)

5. Looked at overall participation & consistency.

6. Other considerations, such as international results, were used to determine the final list.

7. We had such a great team in Brazil this year that I wanted to leave some space in the "Top 12" for juniors who achieved spectacular WYCC results. These juniors will receive a "Special Mention" certificate, but to be fair, will not be eligible for monetary prizes since the award categories (gold, silver, ...) are primarily based on Canadian event performance.

Sooooooo.....drum roll please.....the "Top 12" this year are:

*ordered by grade; monetary prize winners & award categories are still TBA*

Nine still eligible for full awards:
Sergey Noritsyn (ON, Grade 3)
Qiyu Zhou (ON, Grade 6)
Olivier-Kenta Chiku-Ratte (QC, Grade 7)
Zong Yang Yu (QC, Grade 7)
John Doknjas (BC, Grade 7)
Melissa Giblon (ON, Grade 7)
Nicholas Lee (AB, Grade 7)
Nicolas Robichaud (NB, Grade 9)
Nikola Isaev (QC, Grade 11)

Three receiving "Special Mention" awards:
Yuanchen Zhang (ON, Grade 5) - 9th place U10 WYCC
Michael Song (ON, Grade 7) - 3rd place U12 WYCC
Richard Wang (AB, Grade 9) - 10th place U14 WYCC

My heart also goes out to Taylor Zhang (ON, Grade 3) and Benjamin Lin (ON, Grade 2). They both had amazing years, and I've had the pleasure of working with them in the past, but as a result of this affiliation, they were not eligible for fund awards.

An additional note: I found this year's fund list kind of interesting. It ended up quite representative of diversity in Canada, but a coincidence to include so many from grade 7 and a few "Nicks". Grade 7 players made a lot of progress this year, no doubt, but there were so many keen players in various grades that made my decision tough. Canadian juniors are doing very well!

Thanks to organizers, supporters, coaches, parents, and anyone else who has made junior chess possible. On a computer screen, it looks like a bunch of words and numbers, but behind those words and numbers is a lot of work...a lot of potential! There are people spending countless hours putting together events, maintaining all the information (that we often take for granted), providing travel opportunities, encouraging the kids, teaching life skills, and so much more. Kudos goes to those who have been updating the CFC/FQE/CMA websites. This fund would be impossible without you...the new CFC site has some very nice features, the CMA site is a pleasure to surf through as usual (and it didn't block me out for a couple days like it did last year - I think the site got confused when I searched so much info at once haha), and the FQE site has a lot of really cool stuff - the graphs and general organization of the site is great. Fortunately I still remember some high school least enough for these purposes. Lastly, a big shoutout for the wonderful person who inspired this fund - my aunt Elaine Howie. Cancer took her life nearly five years ago, yet her spirit lives on. She would have been extremely proud of all of you.

Questions? Please contact