Fall Scholastic Chess Tournament

The Miami Country Day 2024 Fall Scholastic Chess Tournament was held in the Whitman Library this past Saturday, March 2, 2024 (See attached photo).  Over thirty players from eight different schools competed.
K1 Section
In the K1 Section, MCDS saw the early moments emergence of our next wave of talent as Zak Goldberg and Aisha Mohan (see photo), tied for first and second places. Third place went to Maria (Masha) Trushin-Jimenez.  All three were playing in their first ever event and competing with much older students. Even so, Zak managed to draw four of his five games, while Aisha drew her last round against a K-4 player by finding a stalemate! (see photo)          
K3 Section  
    In the K3 Section, Ethan Gitman came our of his two year “retirement” to win the first place trophy on tie-break. Ethan Paskhover finished in fifth place. 
K5 Section   
    In the K5 Section, Alexandra Paskhover and Gabriel Coltro tied for third place. For Gabriel, this was his first tournament in quite a few years! 
Gabriel arrived early Saturday morning to the event and even helped set up the snack’s concession stand! (See photo).  
K8 Section    
  The K8 Section with several stars and sixteen players total, saw the fiercest competition. Michael Khasis continued the resurgence of his chess career by capturing first place with a commanding 5 wins and no losses! Catherine Jiang’s last round win over her MCDS Elective classmate Aya Charafeddine,catapulted her into third place on tiebreaks. Wisely choosing to play the strongest competition possible, Michael Trushin-Jimenez stepped up from the K-5 Section to “Run with the big dogs”!  With a very respectable 3.5 points (3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss), not only did he prove he belonged, but he also captured the fourth place medal!  Ari Kleiner finished with a strong 3 points (3 wins, 2 losses) for fifth place. Rounding out the MCDS Team were Aya, Aiden Henderson, Sky Shashoua (AKA – SupaSky) and August Espenkotter (AKA Mittens Fan).
K12 – Section    
Our 2022/2023 Chess Player of The Year and 2024 X-Term Blitz Champion Luke Wong and MCDS star Jack Eaton dominated the field to finish tied for first place with 4.5 points (4 wins, 1 draw). Their lone draw was the game versus each other where Jack had the better pawn structure in the endgame due to Black’s double c pawns. However, in the Bishop Endgame, Jack was unable to break through on the kingside with his 4 versus 3 pawn majority so the game ended in a draw.  
In the blitz playoff that followed the final round of the tournament, Jack graciously said “The script calls for Luke Wong to win the playoff” – which is exactly what happened! 
Team Results    
Employing a new format, the decision was made to give team trophies based on the top three combined scores across all sections. 
MCDS powered by Michael Khasis (5 points), Luke Wong (4.5 points) and Jack Eaton (4.5 points) scored a total of 15 points to easily capture the First Place Team Trophy!  Oak School finished second with 11 points and JFK finished third with 8 points. 
Chess Parents and Families   
A very special thanks to the families who spent their Saturday in support of their children’s competitive efforts. 
Many famous people, as siblings played in scholastic chess events! For example, 10-time Olympic medalist, swimmer Katy Ledecky and her older brother Michael Ledecky 
played in New York City scholastic chess events. Closer to home, MCDS Middle School Director Nima Rouhanifard and his brother played in scholastic events in Tennessee! 
Even though the event was for MCDS players and neighboring schools, some families travelled quite a distance to support their chess players!  
Team Effort!  
We wish to express appreciation for Head of Auxiliary Programs Jacqueline Niang for her support in making this event happen. 
Also on the organizing committee, Iara Coltro teamed with National Master (and YouTube Star) Robert Ramirez to run an amazingly efficient event. 
Tireless MCDS Super Chess Mom Wen Cui assisted with logistics, while supporting her daughter, 2023 Florida State U1100 Champion Catherine Jiang. 
Much gratitude to the MCDS maintenance, security and technology who contributed to making the event possible, as I believe we made many MCDS families and chess supporters very happy! 
Up Next!  
Thanks to the efforts and partnerships of Middle School Director Nima Rouhanifard, this Friday, MCDS will welcome a very special guest Fide Master and Woman Grandmaster Qiyu Zhou. This dynamic 24-year-old is better known by her popular streaming persona as akaNemsko where she has over 300,000 followers on Twitch and over 100,000 followers on YouTube!  At present, she is schedule to visit the Middle School Chess Elective and Upper School Chess Elective classes and address the Middle School Assembly! 
Friday evening MCDS has several players heading to Orlando to compete in the 2024 Florida State Scholastics Championships! 
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