Magnus League Begins Its Fifth Season On October 15th:

Stuyvesant High School Wins Opening Kickoff Games;

Eight Players Have Perfect Scores After 2 Rounds:

Daniel Levkov, Ankit Raparthi and Samantha Dong In Premier,

Sakura Laporte, Alexander Soiefer and Maxwell Lin In Under 1800,

Manuel Najera and Marilyn Lucero In Under 1200

By Steve Immitt, National Tournament Director

            Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, 36 West 93rd Street, just west of Central Park West in Manhattan, hosted the first regular season matchup of the 2017-2018 Magnus High School Chess League on October 15th.  League Founder and Commissioner, International Arbiter Sophia Rohde really outdid herself this time with a plentiful provender of refreshments to help wake everyone up for the first round on Sunday morning.

            First and foremost, the Magnus League is extremely grateful for the help of Shaun Smith and Chess-In-The-Schools.  Thanks to Shaun’s recruiting efforts, the turnout for our fifth season kickoff set an all-time Magnus League record of 39 players!  We welcomed players representing twenty-one different schools from all five Boroughs of New York City.

            This season we have a new format.

            The tournament is now a 12-round event, with two games on each match date.  The results will be totaled at the end of the season, but each date’s games will be rated prior to the next match date.

            This year we have three separate sections:  Under 1200, Under 1800 and Premier (open to players rated 1800 and above).  The new three-section format resulted in a good distribution of players this past Sunday:  11 played in the Under 1200, 16 more were in the Under 1800, while 12 players, rated between 1802 and 2201, turned out for the Premier Section.

            Each section will be played using an individual team and individual Swiss-System format. There are prizes for the both the top-scoring individuals in each section as well as the team of the four top-scoring players from the same school across all three sections.

            And this season we are also introducing Mixed Doubles Team Bonus prizes to the Magnus League!  Mixed Doubles Teams consist of two players, one male and one female.  The players do not need to attend the same school (but they can), and may be in the same or different sections; however the average team rating of both players must be Under 2200.

            Among the prizes we are awarding this season are free entries to specified Continental Chess tournaments, for the top-scorer in each section, for the four top-scoring players from the same school across all three sections, and for the winning Mixed Doubles Team!


            To start things off in the Premier Section, Daniel Levkov (2201) of the home team, Columbia Grammar and Prep, Ankit Raparthi (1918) of New York’s Collegiate School and Samantha Dong (1866) of Brooklyn’s Edward R Murrow High School each won both their games last Sunday.  Sakura Laporte (1560) of Manhattan’s East Side Community High School and Alexander Soiefer (1554) and Maxwell Lin (1335) of New York’s Stuyvesant High School similarly swept Rounds 1-2 of the Under 1800 Section, while Manuel Najera (1151) of Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn and Marilyn Lucero (1051) of  the Bronx’s Cinema School (the nation’s first film high school) also were perfect after their first two games.

            In the team competition, former National High School Champions and perennial powerhouse Stuyvesant High School’s four top-scorers after two rounds, Alexander Soiefer (1554), Maxwell Lin (1335), Cheng Chen (1706) and Ann Zhang (1414), combined for 6.5 out of a possible 8 points, with an average team rating of 1502.  The four top-scorers from the home team, Columbia Grammar and Prep., Daniel Levkov (2201), Amadi Utak (1189), Julian Daniels (1630) and Harris Lencz (1815) put together 5 points to capture Second Place in the ongoing team competition, with an average team rating of 1709 for the Lions.

            Thus far six Mixed Doubles Teams have been formed (the deadline for both players to sign up is before January 28th).  The duo of Samantha Dong (1866) of Stuyvesant and Daniel Levkov (2201) of Columbia Grammar and Prep. currently leads the Mixed Doubles competition with a total of 4 points.

            A special feature of this season’s Magnus League is the appearance of the League’s honored guest, International Grandmaster Mike Rohde.

            Mike is a former U.S. Open, New York State, Manhattan Chess Club and Marshall Chess Club Champion.  He is also a former National High School Champion (he was the youngest player at the time to win the tournament), as well as the first National Junior High Champion. 

            We are very pleased and honored to welcome Grandmaster Mike Rohde to the Magnus League, to analyze players’ games and offer some inside chess guidance and advice from a wealth of experience in scholastic and open tournaments.

            We are also very pleased to welcome Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall of Norway to the Magnus League.  Jonathan is a former New York State Champion (at age 15) and a three-time Champion of Norway.  He will feature a couple of games from each date to annotate for your instruction.  He will also be judging the games for the William Lombardy Brilliancy Prize, another new prize from the Magnus League for the most brilliant game this season!   

            The complete results from Rounds One and Two on October 15th, along with the USCF-rated results, can be seen at the Magnus League webpage at as well.

            Be sure to mark your calendars for our next Magnus League match at 10:00 am on Sunday November 19th, at Columbia Grammar School!

            You can register your teams on our website at (the advance registration deadline is 4:00 pm on Saturday November 18th).

            Thank you and welcome (or welcome back) to everyone for our fifth and most promising Magnus League season!