Magnus League Continues Fifth Season With Rounds 5-6 On December 17th:

Columbia Prep. Erases Stuyvesant’s Lead:  Both Schools Are Now Tied For First

With 5 Players In Front With 4½-1½:

Daniel Levkov And Lavon Sykes Lead The Premier,

Jonathan Kogan And Alexander Soiefer Head Under 1800,

While Ayden Santiago Tops The Under 1200 Section;

Samantha Dong And Daniel Levkov Lead The Mixed Doubles Team Competition!

By Steve Immitt, National Tournament Director

            Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, 36 West 93rd Street, just west of Central Park West in Manhattan, once again were hosts for the third regular season match of the 2017-2018 Magnus High School Chess League on December 17th.  League Founder and Commissioner, International Arbiter Sophia Rohde was true to form yet again, with another plentiful provender of refreshments to help wake everyone up for the first round on Sunday morning.

          Thanks in large part to Shaun Smith and Chess-In-The Schools, the turnout for our third match date of our fifth season kickoff drew 36 players representing twenty-four different schools from all five Boroughs of New York City.

          The tournament is 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.

          The three-section format resulted in another good distribution of players this last month:  11 played in the Under 1200 Section, 14 more were in the Under 1800 Section, while 11 players, rated between 1818and 2207, turned out for the Premier Section.

          Each section is a team and individual Swiss-System. 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.

          We also have Mixed Doubles Team Bonus prizes in 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!


          In the Premier Section, Samantha Dong (1872) of Edward R Murrow High School scored two points, including an assigned bye in the first game.  In the Under 1800 Section, Tashi Sherpa (1783) of IS 318 in Brooklyn, and the Zhangs, Ann (1468) and Datian (759), of Stuyvesant High School each posted double victories as well.  In the Under 1200 Section, Miguel Mino of the Manhattan Center for Math and Science also won both his games.  However, he was simultaneously registered for two sections.  Somehow his registration from last month, using his 1016 November rating, carried into the December tournament.  In addition, he was also registered in the Under 1800 Section with his 1263 December rating.  Although he went 2-0 in the Under 1200 Section, both his opponents were given a one half-point bye for the round they played him (although the results were rated), in accordance with USCF Rules.  He was also transferred to the Under 1800 Section, with two half-point byes for Rounds 5-6.  A rather unusual double-result for the Magnus League!

          In the team competition, the Columbia Grammar and Prep. Lions closed the gap with the former National High School Champions and perennial powerhouse Stuyvesant High School.   The home team’s four highest-ranked scorers, Daniel Levkov (2207), Jonathan Kogan (1613), both with 4.5 points, Amadi Utak (1190) with 4 points, and Harris Lencz (1784) with 3.5, combined for a total of 16.5 points.  The four highest-ranked scorers from Stuyvesant after six rounds, Alexander Soiefer (1588 with 4.5 points), Cheng Chen (1731), Arjun Rai (1969) and Justin Chen (2306), each with 4 points, also put together 16.5 points, although Stuyvesant remained ahead on cumulative tiebreaks.

          Brooklyn’s I.S. 318 jumped into 3rd Place, with 13.5 points, while Brooklyn Tech. High School finished the day in 4th Place with 12 points.

          Nine Mixed Doubles Teams are competing for the Mixed Doubles prizes (the deadline for both players to sign up is by January 28th).  The duo of Samantha Dong (1872) of Edward R Murrow High and Daniel Levkov (2207) of Columbia Prep. have sprung into the lead in the Mixed Doubles competition with a total of 8.5 points after 6 rounds.


            International Master Alex Ostrovskiy was on hand to analyze the players’ games.  Alex not only won the Greater New York Elementary, Junior High and High School Championships, but he was also the captain of four National High School Champion teams (three with Hunter High School and once with Edward R Murrow High School).  He is a three-time New York State (Overall) Champion, and when he won the title the first time in 2010, he was the youngest player ever to do so.

          A very special feature of this season’s Magnus League is the in-depth and professional analysis and annotations of select games by International Grandmaster Jonathan Tisdall, three-time Champion of Norway, and also a former New York State Champion (he was only 15 at the time he won the title).

          This month, GM Tisdall has annotated two games extensively on the Magnus League website:  Calvin Yang (1856) – Pedro Espinosa (1925) and Sophie Morris-Suzuki (2164) - Samantha Dong (1872) from November 17th.

          I think you will enjoy Jonathan’s incisive and interesting analysis.  In addition to these two games, you may also wish to check out the three games featured from November 17, Daniel Levkov (2204) – Ankit Raparthi (1982), Samantha Dong (1872) – Justin Chen (2306) and Theo Kogan (1809) – Calvin Yang (1879), along with two games from October 15, Daniel Levkov (2201) – Li Heng Wang (1834) and Lavon Sykes (1802) – Samantha Dong (1866).

          Grandmaster Tisdall will also be judging games which the players submit for the William Lombardy Brilliancy Prize (please submit your brilliancies to the Tournament Director for consideration).


            The complete results from Rounds One and Two on October 15th, Rounds Three and Four on November 19th and Rounds 5-6 on December 17th, along with the USCF-rated results, along with selected annotated games, can all 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 January 28th, at Columbia Grammar School!

            You can register your teams on our website at (the advance registration deadline is 6:00 pm on Saturday January 27th).

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