Magnus League’s Seventh Season Continues With Rounds 7-8 On January 12th!

Columbia Prep. Reclaims Lead In The Team Competition At 21 Points, Stuyvesant Jumps Into 2nc With 20.5 With Success Academy Charter Middle School In 3rd at 20.0;

Success Academy Myrtle Middle School Leads The Second Half Team Competition With A Perfect 4-0!

IM Hans Niemann And WFM Sophie Morris-Suzuki Hold Onto The Lead In The Varsity Section;

Chance Deas Is Now Tied With Julian Daniels At The Top Of The Junior-Varsity;

Amoudou Balde And Annika Parsia Both Lead The Novice Section.

Three Teams, Annika Parsia And DaGuy Vava; Sophia And Alan Morris-Suzuki; Makenna And Amado Balde Tie For The Lead In 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 the scene once again for the fourth regular season match of the 2019-2020 Magnus High School Chess League Seventh Season (and the first match of 2020), on January 12th.  League Founder and Commissioner, Sophia Rohde organized the signature plentiful provender of snacks and refreshments to help start everyone’s Sunday morning followed by pizza in the afternoon!

          Thanks again to Shaun Smith and Chess-In-The Schools, for their continued help with recruitment for our seventh season.

The fourth match date this season saw 59 players representing 28 schools from all five boroughs of New York City, as well as two schools from Westchester County.

          The Magnus League especially welcomes our new and returning schools.  Thank you all for joining the Magnus League!

The tournament is a 14-round event, with two games on each match date.  Season Seven’s seventh and eighth round results have now been totaled.

          The three-section format resulted in a good distribution of players:  15 played in the Novice (Under 1200) Section, 27 more were in the Junior-Varsity (Under 1800) Section, while 17 players, rated between 1790 and 2220, turned out for the Varsity Section (the Varsity Section is also FIDE-rated this year; all the sections are still USCF-rated as well).

          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.    

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

We also have additional special free entry prizes and other prizes as well!


          Top-rated International Master (IM) Hans Niemann (2554), a Columbia Prep. Junior, had two half-point byes for the day.  Woman FIDE Master (WFM) Sophie Morris-Suzuki (2253), a Senior from John Jay High School in Lewisboro, won her Round 7 game and lost in Round 8 to Nura Balla (1956), an 8th-grader from I.S. 318 in Brooklyn.  Sophia and Hans both finished the day tied for First with 5.5 points.  Nura Balla moved into a tie for Third at 5 points with Sophomore Pedro Espinosa (2122) of the High School of American Studies in the Bronx.  Both Balla and Samantha Dong (1790), a Senior from Edward R Murrow High School in Brooklyn, also scored two points in their two rounds.  Pedro Espinosa also climbed to a post-tournament peaks rating of 2133 that day, which he eclipsed at the Greater New York High School Championship.


          In the Junior-Varsity Section, Julian Daniels (1712) a Columbia Prep. Freshman, and Medgar Evans Prep. senior Chance Deas (1749) drew each other in the morning and followed those up with another victory in the afternoon. They are both tied for First with 6 points. Stuyvesant Junior Michael Wang (1630) is in Third with 5.5. Five players scored two points on January 12th:  Success Academy 8th-grader Makenna Blaise (1255), Stuyvesant High Junior Ryan Chen (1777), Medgar Evers Prep. 8th-grader Christian Deas (1175), along with Stuyvesant teammates, Sophomore Daniel Fridyland (1623) and Junior Jun Li (1759).  Five of the above players also achieved their career high, unofficial post-tournament ratings:  Makenna Blaise (1330), Ryan Chen (1779), Julian Daniels (1781), Jun Li (1767) and Michael Wang (1656).  Success Academy 7th-grader Nicole Leonard (1354) also pushed her unofficial rating to a new high of 1489.


          In the Novice Section, Annika Parsia (1175), a 7th-grader from Success Academy Charter Myrtle Middle School, had to play her teammate, 7th-grader Amadou Balde (896) in Round 8, as they were both well ahead of the next eligible opponents.  Balde won the game, and now shares the lead with Parsia at 6 points each.  Two players, Hao Duong (943) from Brooklyn Tech and NEST+m junior Gerald Lynch (908) are tied for Third with 5.5 points.   Amadou Balde was one of four players to score 2 points in the Novice Section, along with Brooklyn Latin School Senior Justin Leong (784), Cardoso High School Sophomore Pardo Nath (1141) and Brooklyn Latin Freshman Novia Zheng (743).

Three players also saw their post-tournament ratings peak on January 12th:  Amadou Balde (972) and Novia Zheng (893), along with Brooklyn Tech Junior Hao Duong (1011).

           In the team competition, Columbia Grammar and Prep’s Lions picked up a net gain of 5 points, for a new running total of 21 out of possible 32 points.  That was just barely enough to keep them in the lead, as perennial powerhouse Stuyvesant High really put together a surge of late entries to finish in Clear Second, one half point back, at 20.5!  Success Academy Myrtle Middle school picked up a net gain of 4 points to move to Third.

           In the Second Half Team Competition (beginning in Round 8), Success Academy Myrtle Middle School is the sole leader, with a perfect 4 out of 4 points.

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.

          The Myrtle Middle School duo of Annika Parsia (1175) and Daguy Vaval (1684) has led the Mixed Doubles Team competition thus far. Now two other teams join them:  Sophie (2220) and Alan Morris-Suzuki (2110); and Makenna Blaise (1225) and Amadou Balde (896), each team with a combined score of 10 points after 16 total games.  The deadline for signing up for Mixed Doubles Teams is February 9th, and more teams may still enter the competition! 

          Former New York State, Manhattan Chess Club, Marshall Chess Club, U.S. Open and National High School and National Junior High Champion Grandmaster Mike Rohde was once again on hand to review the players’ games and answer their questions.

          We will also be judging games for the 3rd Annual William Lombardy Brilliancy Prize- if you have any good games from the Magnus League, please submit them for consideration!

          We now broadcast 12 games live from the DGT boards to the league website at: as they are being played!


Steve Immitt was the Tournament Director, assisted by Sophia Rohde, Dan Rohde and Harry Heublum.     

            The complete results from Rounds 1 and 2 on October 6th, Rounds 3 and 4 on November 10th, Rounds 5 and 6 on December 8th and Rounds 7-8 on January 12th, along with the USCF-rated results (and the FIDE-rated results of the Varsity Section), can all be seen at the Magnus League webpage at as well).

            Players may now register for Rounds 9-10, which begin 10:00 am on Sunday February 9th (including players who missed Rounds 1-8) at the Magnus League website at through 6 pm Saturday February 8th!

Thank You Everyone for making such a promising and exciting start for our Seventh Magnus League season!