Magnus League’s Fifth Season Continues With Rounds 7-8 On January 28th:

Columbia Prep. Takes First Place By Two Points!

Three Players Are In Front With 6-2:

Daniel Levkov And Lavon Sykes Lead The Premier,

While Kevin Feng Tops The Under 1200 Section;

Jonathan Kogan and Matthew Franklyn Pace The Under 1800 Section And

Samantha Dong And Daniel Levkov Still 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 hosted the fourth regular season match of the 2017-2018 Magnus High School Chess League Fifth Season, on January 28th.  League Founder and Commissioner, International Arbiter Sophia Rohde kept the legend alive again, with another plentiful provender of refreshments to help wake everyone up Sunday morning.

          Thanks in large part to Shaun Smith and Chess-In-The Schools, the turnout for our fourth match date of our fifth season kickoff drew 44 players representing twenty 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 last month:  17 played in the Under 1200 Section, 17 more were in the Under 1800 Section, while 11 players, rated between 1802 and 2187, turned out for the Premier Section.  The total featured an unusual double-entry.  Harris Lencz’s unofficial February Rating was 1813, and unofficial ratings may be used to allow players to play up in the Premier Section, which has an 1800 minimum rating requirement.  Because he received a bye in the morning round in the Premier and because his official January rating was 1798, the Tournament Director was able to have him play Round 7 in the Under 1800 Section against a player whose opponent who was incorrectly registered and was not supposed to be paired.  Harris ended up back in the Premier Section for Round 8 with his 1813 unofficial February rating, marking the second month in which that someone has had two different ratings in the same day of the Magnus League!

          Each section follows a 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.

          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 Under 1800 Section, Matthew Franklyn (1642) of IS 318 in Brooklyn, Vernon Khong  (1300) of Brooklyn Tech and Helen Xue (1396) of Staten Island Tech each scored two points for the day, while Leomar Jimenez (292) of the City College Academy of the Arts and James Kingsley (Unrated) and Gabriel Woloz (1014), both of Columbia Prep, each racked up double victories in the Under 1200 Section.

          In the team competition, the Columbia Grammar and Prep. Lions surged into the lead, leapfrogging past former National High School Champions and perennial powerhouse Stuyvesant High School.   The home team’s four highest-ranked scorers, Daniel Levkov (2187) with 6 points, Jonathan Kogan (1653) and Amadi Utak (1189), both with 5.5 points, and James Kingsley (Unrated) with 5, combined for a total of 22 points.  Stuyvesant is currently in Second with 20 points, while IS 318 of Brooklyn now found itself locked in a tie with Brooklyn Tech High School (although IS 318’s superior tiebreaks gives them claim to 3rd on tiebreaks).

          Nine Mixed Doubles Teams are competing for the Mixed Doubles prizes.  The duo of Samantha Dong (1905) of Edward R Murrow High and Daniel Levkov (2187) of Columbia Prep. maintained their lead in the Mixed Doubles competition with a total of 11 points after 8 rounds.

          This time the Magnus League featured not just one but two titled players on hand to review the players’ games.  Twice former U.S. Junior Champion International Grandmaster Marc Arnold, a Columbia Grammar alumnus who started with Sophia Rohde’s pre-Kindergarten Chess Program, was joined by thrice New York State (Overall) Champion International Master Alex Ostrovskiy, a former Greater New York Elementary, Junior High and High School Champion and Captain of four National High School Champion teams (three with Hunter High School and once with Edward R Murrow High School).

          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).

          GM Tisdall has annotated two games extensively on the Magnus League website:  Calvin Yang (1856) – Pedro Espinosa (1925) from December 17th and Sophie Morris-Suzuki (2164) - Samantha Dong (1872) from November 19th.

          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 19, 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, Rounds 5-6 on December 17th and Rounds 7-8 on January 28th, along with the USCF-rated results in addition to selected GM-annotated games, can all be seen at the Magnus League webpage at as well).

          In our Magnus League matches, we will be looking to reward players who have competed in a large number of the rounds with special bonus credits as well!


            Be sure to mark your calendars for our next Magnus League match at 10:00 am on Sunday February 11th, at Columbia Grammar School!

            You can register your teams on our website at (the advance registration deadline is 6:00 pm on Saturday February 10th).

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