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MD Sweet 16

The 2010-2011 MCA Scholastic season is underway, and one of the featured competitions is the Rally section qualification to the 2011 Sweet 16, where 16 of the top Maryland scholastic players compete at the UMBC Open in their own section where the winner receives a UMBC Chess scholarship.

The 2011 Maryland Sweet 16 will be held Feb 26-27 at UMBC. All participants in the 2011 Sweet 16 are required to play all 4 rounds over the weekend.

The final standings after 5 events are at the end of this article (click on Read more).

After the final event this evening (MCA Liberty Christian Scholastic), here is the tentative list of the 2011 Maryland Sweet 16 qualifiers [Tanner McNamara and Alex Nguyen have already declined or are not able to participate]:

Top 6 (USCF rating): Charles Yang, Ramanuja Sreenivasan, Jeffrey Chang, Dobrinya Konoplev, Jonathan Chen, Ronald Best

Next 10 (Rally Points): Saketh Papaihgari, Madeline Kim, Bendeguz Offertaler, Jason Zou, Jerry Wu, Jordan Best, Alex Li, Zachary Jablow, Devon Campbell, David Snyder

Alternates (next 3): Jake Koenig, Cyrus Cordero, Shane Mazuk

There were a total of 5 scheduled MCA Scholastic tournaments that served as qualifiers for the Sweet 16. All five of these have already been held (Oct 2 at Windy ill MS (Calvert County); Nov 13 at NorthEast HS (Cecil County); Dec 18 at Boonsboro MS (Washington County); Feb 12 at Chestertown MS - now Kent County MS (Kent County)); Feb 19 at Liberty Christian (Baltimore County). One had to be cancelled (Mary of Nazareth (Montgomery County)).

By the decision of the Scholastic Directors: because the Mary of Nazareth event had to be cancelled for this chess season, players in the Rally section who had preregistered for that tournament will automatically qualify for Top 6 by rating. However, they will receive no Rally points for the event. Jonathan Chen qualified for the Top 6 of the Sweet 16 in this fashion.

Qualifying rules for the 2011 Sweet 16: Essentially unchanged from 2009 and 2010.

1. All qualifiers have to had played in at least one MCA Rally tournament in Fall 2010-Winter 2010/2011. The exception for this season are those Rally players that had preregistered for the MCA Mary of Nazareth Scholastic tournamnet (Dec 4) will be eligible to qualify for the Top 6 by rating.

2. Top 6 qualifiers by USCF rating (March 2011 rating supplement) plus the next 10 highest Rally point players will comprise the 16 qualifiers. Alternates will be chosen by next highest Rally point totals. March 2011 rating supplement will be used for Ratings qualifier, as this reflects the games played through Fri Feb 4, 2011.

3. All Sweet 16 players are required to play all 4 rounds during Feb 26-27, 2011, unless there is a medical emergency or other extenuating circumstance. Failure to do so will result in barring in participating in future Sweet 16 tournaments. Failure to show affects place as well as tiebreaks for the other players. Therefore, it is much preferable to decline participating if a commitment to all 4 rounds cannot be made, so the MCA can select and notify an alternate in time.

4. The Sweet 16 tournament is a separate section of the UMBC Open with the same time controls and starting times for each round. The tournament is 4 rounds taking place during Rounds 1, 2, 4, and 5. [Round 3 - Sat evening is skipped for this section].

5. Formula for each Rally tournament - each player receives a number of Rally points = (# players) / place in tourney. If there are ties, then all players with same score receive the average of the corresponding places. Players from out of state count for determining Rally points, but do not count in the Rally Point standings.

6. Special for this year (Mary of Nazareth preregistrants): Tanner McNamara (2007) and Jonathan Chen (1762) tentatively (based on March 2011 USCF ratings) have made the qualifier list based on Top 6 by rating. Jerry Wu (1605) will serve as 1st alternate based on rating. [Note: Tanner McNamara has declined to participate this year and Jerry Wu has qualified by Rally Points].



The Maryland Sweet 16 is an annual invitational tournament for the top 16 scholastic chess players in Maryland that is usually held in February at UMBC. The Champion of the Maryland Sweet 16 will receive a 4-year scholarship (covering tuition & fees, but not room & board) to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), valued at $35,000.


Players in the Rally section at MCA scholastic tournaments can earn Rally points, with the top players qualifying to compete in the Maryland Sweet 16.


Qualifying Rules for the Maryland Sweet 16

1.Qualifiers must be residents of Maryland.

2.Qualifiers must compete in all rounds of the Rally section of at least 1 MCA scholastic tournament during the scholastic year in which the Sweet 16 is held.  However, if a player were to receive a 1-point bye because there were an odd number of players in a particular round at that tournament, then the MCA would consider the player to have competed in that round.  Only in the event of an emergency may a player may be excused from competing in at most 1 round of that tournament.  The emergency-exemption claim must be pre-approved by the Chief Tournament Director.  Furthermore, after the tournament the player must submit to the MCA Scholastic Director documentation (a doctor’s note, a relative’s obituary, etc.) that affirms the legitimacy of the emergency-exemption claim. If the tournament is cancelled by the MCA, then the player must compete in 1 of the remaining Rally tournaments.  However, if the tournament were to cancelled by the MCA, if the tournament could not be rescheduled before the Maryland Sweet 16, and if the tournament were the final Rally tournament before the Maryland Sweet 16, then the player will have fulfilled the Maryland Sweet 16’s tournament-participation requirement, by virtue of being considered to have competed in the cancelled Rally tournament.  However, Rally points will not be allocated to a player in this situation.

3.The formula for determining Rally points accrued per tournament is: the number of players in the Rally section of an MCA scholastic tournament divided by the player’s place in the Rally section.If there are ties, then each player with the same score (the number of tournament points) receives the average number of Rally points earned by all of the players who tied but placed differently, according to tiebreaks.(Players from out of state count toward determining Rally points, but they do not count in the Rally point standings.

4.The 16 Qualifiers are the top 6 players by USCF rating and the 10 players with the highest number of Rally points (excluding the top 6 players by rating).The March Rating Supplement (which includes the results of tournaments submitted by the first Friday in February) is used to determine the Qualifiers by rating.

The 2 players with the next highest number of Rally points are the Maryland Sweet 16 Alternates.

5.Sweet 16 players are required to compete in all 4 rounds of the tournament, with exceptions made only in the cases of a medical emergency or another extraordinary situation.Failure to play in all 4 rounds affects place and tiebreaks for the other players; so, if a Qualifier cannot commit to all 4 rounds, then she must decline the MCA’s invitation to participate ASAP.That way, the MCA will have time to determine and notify an Alternate.

A player who fails to compete in all 4 rounds without an excused absence, will be barred from participating in any future Sweet 16 tournament—or in MCA adult tournaments for 1 year, if the player is a high-school senior.

6.The winner of a Maryland Sweet 16 may not compete in subsequent Maryland Sweet 16s.


Updated: 2/28/2010 13:50

After the first day of the 2010 16th Annual Sweet 16 tournament (2 round), the standings are as follows:

1-3: 2.0 - Kevin Wang (2193); Charles Yang (2015); Benjamin Krause (1855)

4-5: 1.5 - James Pinkerton (2052); Jeffrey Chang (1836)

6-11: 1.0 - Srinivas Moorthy (1754); Gill Guo (2081); Tanner McNamara (1850); Ramanuja Sreenivasan (1910); Alan Nguyen (1494); Dobryna Konoplev (1701)

12-13: 0.5 - Ronald Best Jr (1458); Christopher Hazard (1227)

14-16: 0.0 - Madeline Kim (1385); Jordan Best (1019); Sakat Papaiahgari (1437)


Pairings / Results Round 3 (clean sweep by White!):

Kevin Wang (2.0) vs Charles Yang (2.0): 1-0

James Pinkerton (1.5) vs Benjamin Krause (2.0): 1-0

Gill Guo (1.0) vs Jeffrey Chang (1.5): 1-0

Srinivas Moorthy (1.0) vs Ramanuja Sreenivasan (1.0): 1-0

Tanner McNamara (1.0) vs Dobryna Konoplev (1.0): 1-0

Ronald Best Jr (0.5) vs Alan Nguyen (1.0): 1-0

Saket Papaiahgari (0.0) vs Christopher Hazard (0.5): 1-0

Madeline Kim (0.0) vs Jordan Best (0.0): 1-0



Updated: 2/28/2010 16:55

The winner of the 2010 Sweet 16 tournament and the UMBC Scholarship will come down to one game: James Pinkerton (2.5) vs Kevin Wang (3.0). Kevin Wang has draw odds to win the title. Heading into the final round of the 2010 16th Annual Sweet 16 tournament (3 rounds), the standings are as follows:

1: 3.0 - Kevin Wang (2193)

2: 2.5 - James Pinkerton (2052)

3-7: 2.0 - Charles Yang (2015); Benjamin Krause (1855); Srinivas Moorthy (1754); Gill Guo (2081); Tanner McNamara (1850)

8-9: 1.5 - Jeffrey Chang (1836); Ronald Best, Jr (1458)

10-14: 1.0 - Ramanuja Sreenivasan (1910); Dobryna Konoplev (1701); Alan Nguyen (1494); Saket Papaihgari (1437); Madeline Kim (1385)

15: 0.5 - Christopher Hazard (1227)

16: 0.0 - Jordan Best (1019)


Pairings / Results Round 4:

James Pinkerton (2.5) vs Kevin Wang (3.0)

Charles Yang (2.0) vs Gill Guo (2.0): 1/2

Benjamin Krause (2.0) vs Tanner McNamara (2.0): 1/2

Jeffrey Chang (1.5) vs Srinivas Moorthy (2.0)

Ramanuja Sreenivasan (1.0) vs Ronald Best Jr (1.0): 1-0

Dobryna Konoplev (1.0) vs Saket Papaiahgari (1.0)

Alan Nguyen (1.0) vs. Madeline Kim (1.0): 1/2

Jordan Best (0.0) vs Christopher Hazard (0.5)

Updated: 21 Feb 2010 with USCF March 2010 ratings (No change in Top 6).

With the Chestertown tournament completed on Sat 2/20, six Rally tournaments have been completed with a total of 40 Maryland players competing..See the standings at the end of this article.

*** NOTICE: UMBC has moved up the date of their Sweet 16 tournament - It is now scheduled for Feb 27-28 (two weeks earlier than usual). This has the unfortunate effect of eliminating the Feb 27 MCA Liberty Christian tournament as a Rally tournament.

The Sweet 16 Invitational is held concurrently with the UMBC Open in a separate section. Players will play four rounds with the same time controls (20/1; SD/1) and round times as the UMBC Open on Saturday and Sunday Feb 27-28 during Rounds 1, 2, 4,and 5. [Round 3 on Saturday evening is excluded]. Only eligible players who can commit to play all 4 rounds should play in the Sweet 16. We will contact all the Qualifiers and the top alternates in the next few days to determine the final field.

The Rally standings are as follows:

TOP 6 by USCF Ratings (Mar 2010):

1. Kevin Wang (2206)

2. Gill Guo (2076)

3. James Pinkerton (2057)

4. Charles Yang (2023)

5. Ramanuja Sreenivasan (1926)

6. Benjamin Krause (1855)


NEXT 10 Qualifiers by Rating Points (Final)

7. Karl Vicente     (16.000 Rally Points)

8. Madeline Kim (14.967)

9. Tanner McNamara (13.333)

10. Dobryna Konoplev (12.510)

11. Saketh Papaiahgari (12.091)

12. Ronald Best, Jr (11.232)

13. Christopher Hazard (10.575)

14. Alan Nguyen (10.376)

15. Jeffrey Chang (9.527)

16. Srinivas Moorthy (9.038)


NEXT 6 (Alternates)

17. Michael Sklar (8.482)

18. Josev Aquino (7.838)

19. Jed Tan (5.302)

20. Derek Mizushima (5.253)

21. Steven Mullens (4.889)

22. Adip Bhargav (4.736)