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