Category: Chess Club News

    Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
    Altadena Swiss Draws 55 Players

    Altadena Swiss Draws 55 Players

    With an undefeated score of 4.5-0.5, Axel Muller won clear first place in the upper section of the 3rd Altadena Swiss. After beating Expert Will Webster in Round 3, Muller delivered a lethal mating attack from an exchange down position in Round 4 against top rated Julian Colville. The 5-round event ended November 28, 2023. Runners-up at 4-1 were Darren Wang and Derek Li. Li was fresh off his undefeated 8-0 performance in the under 2000 section of the American Open. In the under 1200 section there was a 3-way tie between Miller Brown, Timothy Everett and Renton Chandler, who all won decisive games in the final round. Congrats to all!

    Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
    December Rapid Chess

    Think you’re the fastest? Join us in December for Rapid chess! This is a 4-round event in 3 sections, with Rounds 1 and 2 on December 5 and Rounds 3 and 4 on December 12.  The time control is Game 40 with 5 second delay in all sections. The sections are over 1700, under 1700 and under 1200.  You play two games each night against different opponents. The rounds starts at 6:45 and the next round starts immediately after all games are finished. All games will finish by 10:00 pm.


    The entry fee is $30 and should be paid online. No byes are allowed.

    Register here


    Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
    Julian Colville Wins Mount Lowe Swiss

    Julian Colville Wins Mount Lowe Swiss

    With an undefeated score of 5.5-0.5, top seed Julian Colville of Los Angeles won clear first place in the Mount Lowe  upper section. Julian is a rising local talent, having just turned 13 and already rated 2148. He plays an exciting brand of chess and his games always attract a crowd!  The 6 round event ended October 10, 2023 and drew 57 players with a prize fund of $750. Runner-up at 4.5-1.5 was Axel Muller. Frank Fan, Craig Vieregg and Rohan Daftuar shared third place/best under 1800 and David Peral was best under 1600. Andrew Chang won the under1400 section with a score of 5.5-0.5 and Sumit Daftuar was clear second at 5-1. Leya Daftuar and Ishan Pradbu shared third and Renton Chandler took best under 1000. 

    Congrats to all!


    Julian Colville
    Chess Club News
    SGVCC Adds New Online Sustaining Memberships

    We are pleased to announce that you can now join or renew your SGVCC membership online. As a recognized 501(c)(7) non-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Service, Club dues help us keep a small reserve as most of the entry fees we collect go towards our overhead costs and prize money. We are also offering a new discounted rate for those that elect to sign up for automatic membership renewal (see details on our Home Page). This will really benefit the Club and prevent us from having to send so many reminders. Since our opening in March of 2020 SGVCC has offered 9-10 rated events each year, rated blitz, and simuls by top players, all thanks to the support of our members.

    And we will still continue to accept memberships in person at the Club where you can pay by cash, check, or by using the new QR code on our application. Thank you for your support of San Gabriel Valley Chess Club!

    Chess Club News
    The Return of Annie Wang
    A view of the Simul from the catbird seat

    International Master Annie Wang took some time away from her studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to give a lecture and exhibition at San Gabriel Valley Chess Club (SGVCC) on May 30, 2023. A local chess prodigy who grew up in nearby La Canada, she took on a strong field of 30 players, winning all but one game. Before the games, Annie gave a lecture where she highlighted a win against a Grandmaster and offered some helpful practical advice on facing stronger opponents. She also provided an interesting insight into how chess can help other activities, noting that chess teaches you to sit and problem solve, which has been a helpful skill in her computer science studies at MIT.

    Lecture before the Simul

    Due to the large number of players, the action at the boards went late into the night. At about 11:15 p.m. there were still twelve players battling it out, including some youngsters who had school the next day! So, a decision was made to have Annie finish those games with a chess clock where each side would have one minute with a two second increment. The result was a rather exciting finale as the spectators followed her from board to board as she took on the remaining players.

    A Gripping Bullet Chess Finish!

    And so were we not only able to finish before midnight, but those remaining players can now say they played Annie Wang one-on-one in a blitz game! A nice memory and we hope it won’t be the last time we see Annie back at SGVCC. A special thanks as well to all who participated and helped organize this very special event.

    Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
    Getting Started with Chess Tournaments

    When you first open our Webpage you will see a reference to “Your home for tournament rated games.” So what does that mean? In general this refers to any tournament sanctioned by U.S. Chess, the national organization in the United States with over one hundred thousand members. The term “rated” means that the results of the tournament are submitted to U.S. Chess. San Gabriel Valley Chess Club (SGVCC) is an affiliate of U.S. Chess and authorized to hold such tournaments. Everyone who plays in their first such event is considered unrated. Once you have completed your first tournament you get a “rating.” It is a 3 or 4 digit number that reflects how you have performed in rated tournaments and is used to match you against players of similar strength. One of the big differences between a rated event and a non-rated one is that you use a chess clock and also must write down your moves using what is called chess notation. But wait before you say this is not the Club for me!

    One of our goals at SGVCC is to help those who have never played in a rated tournament get started. This includes showing you how to join U.S. Chess, use a chess clock, and learn chess notation. We have a playing area where we can help you practice before jumping into a tournament. Joining U.S. Chess and playing in your first event places you in a very special class of chess players. It shows that you want to make the move from casual or online player to more serious chess and it is a step worth taking!

    Our Calendar feature has a list of our upcoming tournaments and events. Here’s a short guide on how to better understand it. You will see that most of our tournaments are over a five or six week period and say, for example, “Six Rounds.” A round refers to a game and we play one round (or game) each Tuesday evening. Players do not have to play every week and can usually miss two rounds or weeks if their schedule requires. Also, rated games are slower than what you are likely used to and can last from one to three hours. Kids and adults play in the same tournament and many of the kids at our Club are among our strongest players. Each tournament listed also has a registration link. If you have already played in rated tournaments then registering should be familiar to you. But, if this is your first time considering joining a tournament and you have more questions please reach out to us through our Contact Us tab. Remember, all of us here at SGVCC were once just starting out too. So, drop us a line or just come by the Club to check it out!

    Chess Club News Chess Tournaments
    Karl Tolentino Wins Club Championship
    NM Karl Tolentino

    National Master Karl Tolentino is San Gabriel Valley Chess Club’s 2023 Club Champion. He scored an impressive 6.5 out of 7 rounds in a field of 53 players. The event ran from March 21 to May 2 with an awards ceremony held on May 9. Club President John Wright presented Karl with the SGVCC Champions Cup, a perpetual trophy that now bears his name, as our first Club Champion. Karl has been SGVCC’s top rated player since it reopened in Altadena in October of 2021 and has finished first in 10 of the 14 events we have held. His dedication to SGVCC is most appreciated and he is a very deserving Champion!

    Engraved plaques were also given to Best in Rating Class winners. They were as follows:

    – Linus Eisenberg, Best Class B and clear second place;
    – Henry Castro, Best Expert and Nathan Gan, Best Class A and co-third place;
    – Ashley Lin, Best Class C;
    – Derek Li, Best Class D;
    – Jon Serrano, Best Class E; and
    – Leya Daftuar, Best under 1000.

    Local FIDE Master David Bassett donated $50 for an Upset Prize Award for most cumulative upset points. Joshua Sang was the winner, gaining 100 rating points for his effort.

    Congratulations to all the winners! Our 2024 Club Championship will start in March of next year.

    Chess Club News Chess Feature
    Annie Wang Simul and Lecture on May 30, 2023

    We are pleased to announce that International Master Annie Wang will conduct a simultaneous exhibition on May 30, 2023 at our SGVCC location in Altadena.

    International Master Annie Wang started playing chess at the age of five, after encountering the game in a local park. Since then, she has won many local, state, national, and international titles. In 2013, at the age of 11, Annie became the US’s youngest-ever female National Master, breaking Irina Krush’s longstanding record. A few years later, she won the Girls’ Under 16 section of the 2017 World Youth Chess Championships with a score of 10.5/11 and a performance rating of 2589. Annie was the runner-up at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Championship and the winner of the Open section at the 2019 Pan American Junior Chess Championships. More recently, Annie became the 2021 US Girls’ Junior Champion and qualified for a spot on the 2022 US Women’s Olympiad team. Today, Annie is a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she studies computer science.

    Annie will give a lecture starting at 6:30p.m. and the Simul games will start at 7:00. The costs is $25 per player and you can pay at the door (cash or check only). But due to the anticipated interest we recommend you register in advance (please ignore the bye request section, this is not a tournament). Register: here

    Contact John Wright at or at (626) 864-5744 for more information.

    Chess Club News
    Meet the SGVCC Board of Directors

    San Gabriel Valley Chess Club is a non-profit corporation under IRC Section 501(c)(7). As such, all monies collected or any donations received are used for the benefit of our members. All Board members serve as volunteers without compensation. Please contact us if you would like to donate to SGVCC!

    John Wright, SGVCC President
    Axel Muller, SGVCC Vice President/Treasurer
    Laura Nystrom, Secretary Emerita
    Randy Hough, Member at Large