Magnus League’s Fifth Season Marches On With Rounds 9-10 February 11th:

Columbia Prep. Widens Its Lead By 5 Points!

Kevin Feng Leads The Field With 8 Points In The Under 1200 Section;

With Two Players At 7½:

Daniel Levkov Leads The Premier And Jonathan Kogan Tops The Under 1800 Section;

Samantha Dong And Daniel Levkov Head 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, was again the host for the fifth regular season match of the 2017-2018 Magnus High School Chess League Fifth Season, on February 11th.  League Founder and Commissioner, International Arbiter Sophia Rohde provided another plentiful provender of refreshments to help keep everyone up to speed Sunday morning.

          Thanks as always to Shaun Smith and Chess-In-The Schools, the turnout for our fifth match date of our fifth season kickoff drew 37 players representing 19 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 Sunday:  10 played in the Under 1200 Section, 18 more were in the Under 1800 Section, while 9 players, rated between 1809 and 2141, turned out for the Premier Section. 

          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, Julian Daniels (1677), Jonathan Kogan (1653), both of Columbia Prep., Sakura Laporte (1700) of East Side Community High School, Maxwell Lin (1458) of Stuyvesant High and Gabriel Rivera (1762) of Fort Hamilton High School each won both their games.

          In the Under 1200 Section, Jason Dong (760) of All-City Leadership Academy, Kevin Feng (1198) of Brooklyn Tech. and Marilyn Lucero (1031) of the Cinema School also posted 2-0 sweeps.

          For Julian Daniels, Jason Dong, Jonathan Kogan and Maxwell Lin, this impressive feat also marked their all-time peak ratings achieved.

          Though they didn’t go 2-0 in the Premier Section, both Javier Bernal (1809) of Aviation Career and Technical Educational High and Harris Lencz (1813) of Columbia Prep. also turned in their career-high rated results Sunday as well.

          In the team competition, the Columbia Grammar and Prep. Lions widened their lead over past National High School Champions and perennial powerhouse Stuyvesant High School.   The home team’s four highest-ranked scorers, Daniel Levkov (2141) in Premier Section and Jonathan Kogan (1653) in the Under 1800 Section each had 7½ points.  Julian Daniels (1677) had 6½ in the Under 1800 Section while Cole Tambaro (935) scored 5½ in the Under 1200 Section.  All four combined for a team score of 27 points.  Harris Lencz (1813) in  the Premier and Amadi Utak (1187) in the Under 1200 Section both had 5½ as well, but when all three sections were combined to calculate the tournament’s team standings, Cole’s individual tiebreaks were the highest of his other two teammates who scored 5½.

          The Lions found themselves in a rather tough situation going into Round 10.  Top-ranked Daniel Levkov, who had 7 points after 9 rounds, had already played all the others present who had 5 or more points— except for his own teammate, Harris Lencz.  The USCF “plus-two” rule avoids intra-school pairings except with players with a score of “plus two” (wins minus losses) or more (Levkov was actually “plus 5” at this point).  The two tournament leaders were thus paired, because the tournament format is an individual as well as a team event.

          Stuyvesant is currently in Second with 22 points, while Brooklyn Tech High School is just behind in Third Place with 21½ points.

          Nine Mixed Doubles Teams are competing for the Mixed Doubles prizes.  The duo of Samantha Dong (1851) of Edward R Murrow High with 5 points and Daniel Levkov (2141) of Columbia Prep. with 7½ continues to lead the Mixed Doubles competition with a total of 12½ points after 10 rounds.  Sakura Laporte (1700, with 5½ points in the Under 1800 Section) was also the Mixed Doubles teammate of her school teammate, Lavon Sykes (1930, with 6½ points in the Premier).  Their combined score of 12 points puts them just one half point behind the leaders in the Mixed Doubles Team competition.

          Team dynamics were also overshadowed by the individual imperatives in Round 9 as well.  Going into the morning round, Levkov, who was 6-2, had already played the nearest contenders, and in a foreshadowing of what would happen again in Round 10, was thus forced to play another teammate— this time his Mixed Doubles teammate!

          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), was once again on hand to review the players’ games and answer their questions.

          A very special feature of this season’s Magnus League is the in-depth and professional analysis and annotations of selected 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 3 and 4 on November 19th, Rounds 5-6 on December 17th, Rounds 7-8 on January 28th and Round 9-10 on February 11th, 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 March 4th, at Columbia Grammar and Prep. School!

            You can register your teams on our website at (the advance registration deadline is 6:00 pm on Saturday March 3rd).

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