Elementary Team League 2023-24 Matchday 6 Results

We began the holiday weekend at St. Luke’s for the penultimate round of this season’s Elementary Team League.  In spite of the inclement weather that as forecast for the morning, we still had a good turnout on Saturday afternoon.

The top of the leaderboard remains mostly unchanged.  Spring Hill and Churchill Road remain in the top two positions and look set to fight it out for the season title on the final match day on March 16.  White Oaks, Poplar Tree, and Kent Gardens are all still in with a mathematical chance of first place but they would need the leaders to slip up in four weeks.

Round 11:
Kent Gardens 4-0 Ravensworth
Spring Hill 2-2 Churchill Road
Greenbriar West 1-2 Poplar Tree
Oakton 0.5-1.5 Lorton Station
Orange Hunt 1-3 White Oaks
Colvin Run 2-1 Willow Springs
Round 12:
Churchill Road 3-1 Kent Gardens
Willow Springs 2.5-0.5 Oakton
White Oaks 3-0 Greenbriar West
Lorton Station 0-3 Spring Hill
Poplar Tree 0-3 Colvin Run
Ravensworth 2-1 Orange Hunt
Standings after Matchday 6 of 7:
Spring Hill 152
Churchill Road 148
White Oaks 138
Poplar Tree 127
Kent Gardens 126
Willow Springs 111
Colvin Run 103
Greenbriar West 99
Orange Hunt 79 
Oakton 48
Ravensworth 40
Lorton Station 22

Learning All The Way – Tysons Corner Action Tournament

Apparently, I have stamina problems. The blitz tournament went far better than expected, but then one tough draw in rapid time control, and all my energy was zapped. I was able to rally by Game 4, but this was certainly not my best effort. 

I spent drizzly Super Bowl Sunday indoors, playing at the Tysons Corner Action and Blitz tournaments hosted by DMV Chess. I’ve been to this regular tournament often, with middling but always rewarding results. However, this was my first time also attending their earlier blitz tournament, my second ever. 

I didn’t expect to win the blitz tournament, and I didn’t, but I came within a half point hair. Instead, I ended in a 3-way tie for 2nd place, and 3rd place overall after tiebreaks. Facing opponents far more skilled than myself, including my friendly rival Don MacLean, I managed to pull out an excellent 7.0/10 points. 

The blitz tournament was double-pairing, meaning I played two games against each opponent. It started out slow, trading wins against my first two opponents, before sweeping the next two. While the games were interesting, I couldn’t tell you how I won (or lost) them, except in one notable game. Still, I greatly enjoyed the pace and casual nature of the ordeal. Faster chess favors intuition over calculation, and as such favors me. My last opponent was the eventual winner, but I still won our first game. The confidence from that win went a long way in our second game. However, just as the defensive tango started getting spicy, I hung a back-rank mate. I lost out on the $100 and settled, quite happily mind you, for third. I credit hosting the weekly Bishops and Beers open chess night for my blitz success. 

During the intermission between tournaments, Don and I went for a walk to get a late lunch. Two other players from the blitz tournament drove by and offered us a ride to a nearby restaurant. This was their first tournament ever, and it was exciting to chat with new faces. We talked about and played a game over a quick meal, before hurrying back for the rapid tournament. After talking with me and Don, the pair also decided to try out the rapid tournament! 

The first 41 moves of Round 1 (before time pressure set in)

Game one was a tense affair. I felt safe throughout the opening as white’s minor pieces tripped over his pawns, but he still didn’t give me a way in. That changed after we traded queens and I got the opportunity for a pawn to break through. We picked up the pace as my opponent’s clocked ticked lower and lower. It soon reached a scant 2 seconds on the clock to my 3 minutes. His endgame was stronger than his middlegame, even while living on the 5 second delay. We at last reached a dreaded queen vs. rook endgame, in my favor. While I had studied this very endgame before, I couldn’t figure out the method over the board. The game ended with a stalemate trap, with a crowd of onlookers watching me flail. 

The worst part about long games is that you have no time before the next round. Which probably led to game two being such a rollercoaster. It started strong, as I locked his pieces behind his pawns. To save a bishop, I threatened to sacrifice the other for a repetition. My opponent, rated 300 points higher than me, did not allow the draw. Instead, his counterattack threw me into a tight position. To exploit his advantage, he sacrificed a rook for a mating attack. However, he again allowed a chance for a repetition. Now a rook up, and holding, I felt like I could do better than a draw. I was wrong, and I lost.

Game three was a sorry affair that I am not proud of. All I could think of was how I was outplayed in last game, and distracted by a mechanical humming sound in constant one second bursts. Even with ear plugs in, or perhaps because of it, I couldn’t keep my mind off that humming and oh there goes my knight. I resigned far earlier than I would normally, because I had to admit I wasn’t giving nor could give my best. At least now I had time to rest between rounds. 

With 0.5/3, I was paired with another kid who had so far gone 0.0/3. Neither of us were having a good tournament. I got myself tangled in the opening (that mechanical humming was a Chinese water torture on my brain), but my gracious opponent allowed me to awkwardly unfold my position. By the time I was ready to attack, I noticed his isolated king’s pawn and seized on the weakness. I traded pieces, confident that I would be favored in the endgame. I was saved from defending that confidence when my opponent gave away his queen en prise and resigned. 

Not my best tournament, but learning all the way.

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Matchday 5 Results

Just two rounds remain after the latest Saturday of matches in the Elementary Team League.  Churchill Road and Spring Hill are still at the top of the leaderboard.  Poplar Tree, with a perfect eight wins from eight games, remained in fourth but made some big gains on the schools in front.

The next League match is on February 17, and then the season finishes up on March 3.  Any student from one of our after-school clubs who knows the rules of chess is welcome to sign up to play in the League, and we especially encourage those kids who have never played competitively outside of their school.  

Round 9:
Willow Springs 0-4 Poplar Tree
Churchill Road 3-1 Greenbriar West
Spring Hill 3-1 Poplar Tree
Oakton 1-2 White Oaks
Lorton Station 0-4 Kent Gardens
Ravensworth 0-2 Orange Hunt
Round 10:
Kent Gardens 3-1 Willow Springs
Spring Hill 4-0 Ravensworth
Orange Hunt 1-3 Churchill Road
White Oaks 3-0 Lorton Station
Poplar Tree 4-0 Colvin Run
Greenbriar West 1-1 Oakton
Standings after Matchday 5 of 7:
Spring Hill 130
Churchill Road 124
White Oaks 115
Poplar Tree 111
Kent Gardens 104
Greenbriar West 85
Colvin Run 81
Willow Springs 77
Orange Hunt 65 
Oakton 42
Ravensworth 32
Lorton Station 15

Fall Semester of Clubs Winding Down, Spring Session Starting Soon

The fall semester of our after-school clubs has drawn to a close.  At Greenbriar West Elementary this past Monday, we commemorated the last day of the session with a chess and pizza party.  Mr. Mehler, as he always does, took on six students at a time in a simultaneous exhibition, as did Mr. Carr.  Below are some photos from the simul and party.

The spring semester starts this week, and registration for the spring semester is still open.

Photos and Games from Our Match With the Icelandic Student Team

Iceland was instrumental in making chess popular in America. Without the small island nation stepping up to host the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972, the United States would not have had a native world chess champion and chess would not have grown in popularity in America as it did.

Chess in Iceland also boomed as a result of that match. Iceland became the strongest country in the world for chess with the most grandmasters per capita in the world, a distinction it still holds. Iceland is also one of only a small handful of nations with more grandmasters, the highest title in chess, than international masters, the second-highest title.

Following the match, the United States and Iceland established an annual match among juniors of the two nations, with Americans traveling to Iceland for matches in even-numbered years, and the reverse in the odd-numbered years.

Those matches ended after the 1989 match in New York City, but after 35 years, we decided it was time to bring them back. On January 27, young Americans and Icelanders played a match via the internet, using the lichess.org platform.

We decided on a rapid time control (G/7;+3) so that each player would have the opportunity to play many players from the other side over the course of 90 minutes. Several of Iceland’s top young players were unexpectedly unavailable, giving the team from the District of Columbia and its environs a distinct advantage.

The first five games were won by the Americans, and while the Icelandic team gamely made it close at the halfway point (29-27) the US team pulled away for a 75-47 final score.

We hope to have a rematch sometime soon and are investigating playing in person again, perhaps as early as late spring this year.


Here are a few of the games.



[Event “DC – Reykjavik Match Team Battle”]

[Site “https://lichess.org/g0xu6rAW”]

[Date “2024.01.27”]

[Result “1-0”]

[UTCDate “2024.01.27”]

[UTCTime “18:34:38”]

[WhiteElo “1852”]

[BlackElo “1965”]

[WhiteRatingDiff “+187”]

[BlackRatingDiff “-45”]

[WhiteTeam “us-chess-center-pine”]

[BlackTeam “iceland-kids-skakskoli-islands”]

[Variant “Standard”]

[TimeControl “420+3”]

[ECO “A45”]

[Termination “Normal”]


1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d5 5. f3 dxe4 6. fxe4 O-O 7. Qd2 Nc6 8. O-O-O Bg4 9. Nf3 Nh5 10. Be3 e5 11. d5 Nd4 12. Be2 Nxe2+ 13. Nxe2 Nf6 14. Ng3 a5 15. h3 Bh5 16. Nxh5 gxh5 17. Qd3 Qd6 18. Rdg1 b5 19. g4 h4 20. Nxh4 Qd8 21. Nf5 Nd7 22. Bh6 Bxh6+ 23. Nxh6+ Kh8 24. Rf1 Qg5+ 25. Qd2 Qxd2+ 26. Kxd2 Kg7 27. g5 Nc5 28. Ke3 Ra6 29. Nf5+ Kg8 30. Ne7+ Kh8 31. Nc6 Raa8 32. Nxe5 Rae8 33. Rf5 f6 34. gxf6 Nxe4 35. Kxe4 1-0




[Event “DC – Reykjavik Match Team Battle”]

[Site “https://lichess.org/SdnednKS”]

[Date “2024.01.27”]

[Result “1-0”]

[UTCDate “2024.01.27”]

[UTCTime “19:14:56”]

[WhiteElo “2072”]

[BlackElo “1579”]

[WhiteRatingDiff “+4”]

[BlackRatingDiff “-7”]

[WhiteTeam “us-chess-center-pine”]

[BlackTeam “iceland-kids-skakskoli-islands”]

[Variant “Standard”]

[TimeControl “420+3”]

[ECO “B32”]

[Termination “Normal”]


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. c3 d3 5. Bxd3 d6 6. O-O e5 7. Bc4 Be7 8. Ng5 Bxg5 9. Qh5 Qf6 10. Bxg5 Qg6 11. Qh4 h6 12. Be3 Nf6 13. f3 O-O 14. Na3 a6 15. Rad1 b5 16. Rxd6 bxc4 17. Rxc6 Be6 18. Nxc4 Bxc4 19. Rxc4 Rfd8 20. Rc6 Rab8 21. b3 Rd3 22. Bxh6 Qxh6 23. Qxh6 gxh6 24. Rxf6 Kg7 25. Rxa6 Rxc3 26. Rd1 Rbc8 27. Rd2 Rc1+ 28. Kf2 Ra1 29. Ra7 Rcc1 30. Rdd7 Rf1+ 31. Kg3 Kg6 32. Rxf7 Kh5 33. Ra6 Rxf3+ 34. gxf3 Rg1+ 35. Kf2 Rg5 36. Rf5 1-0



[Event “DC – Reykjavik Match Team Battle”]

[Site “https://lichess.org/jMIFYgIA”]

[Date “2024.01.27”]

[Result “1-0”]

[UTCDate “2024.01.27”]

[UTCTime “19:10:14”]

[WhiteElo “1705”]

[BlackElo “1904”]

[WhiteRatingDiff “+103”]

[BlackRatingDiff “-81”]

[WhiteTeam “us-chess-center-pine”]

[BlackTeam “iceland-kids-skakskoli-islands”]

[Variant “Standard”]

[TimeControl “420+3”]

[ECO “B46”]

[Termination “Normal”]


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Nxc6 bxc6 7. Be3 Qc7 8. Be2 Nf6 9. O-O d5 10. exd5 cxd5 11. Qd2 Bd6 12. h3 O-O 13. Bg5 Be5 14. Bf3 Rb8 15. Rab1 Rxb2 16. Rxb2 Bxc3 17. Qc1 Bxb2 18. Qxb2 Nd7 19. Be2 h6 20. Be3 Bb7 21. Qa3 Qxc2 22. Bd3 Qc7 23. Rc1 Qe5 24. Qa4 Nf6 25. Bd4 Qg5 26. Be3 Qe5 27. Bf4 Qh5 28. Rc7 Bc8 29. Bd6 Ne8 30. Rxc8 Nxd6 31. Rxf8+ Kxf8 32. Qxa6 Qe5 33. Be2 g6 34. a4 Nf5 35. Qd3 Nd4 36. Bf1 Nc6 37. Qb5 Qc3 38. Qe2 d4 39. Qd1 Qb4 40. Qc1 Na5 41. Qxh6+ Ke7 42. Qg5+ Ke8 43. Bb5+ Kf8 44. Qh6+ Kg8 45. Qc1 Nb3 46. Qd1 e5 47. Bd3 f5 48. Qc2 e4 49. Bc4+ Kg7 50. Bxb3 d3 51. Qc7+ Kh6 52. Qf4+ Kg7 53. Qe5+ Kh6 54. Qh8+ Kg5 55. h4+ Kg4 56. Bd1+ Kf4 57. Qh6+ Ke5 58. Qg7+ Kf4 59. g3# 1-0

Metro Area Chess League 2023-24: Round 2 Results & Round 3 Pairings

Round 2 Results

White on Boards 1 & 3 – White on Boards 2 & 4

Magruder 1-3 Poolesville
DeMatha 1-3 McNamara
E.L. Haynes 4-0 Girls Global Academy
Richard Montgomery 3-1 Gonzaga
Rockville 2.5-1.5 Arlington Career Center
Oakton 4-0 West Springfield
St. Albans 0-4 Don Bosco Cristo Rey
BASIS DC 0-0 Marshall
Montgomery Blair 0.5-3.5 Chantilly
St. Anselm’s 2-2 Jackson-Reed
Hayfield 0-0 McLean
Rochambeau 4-0 BYE
St. John’s 0-4 Langley
McKinley Tech 0-3 Georgetown Prep

Round 3 Pairings

Below are the pairings for the third round to be played by January 12

White on Boards 1 & 3 – White on Boards 2 & 4

Poolesville – Chantilly
Bishop McNamara – Richard Montgomery
Langley – Rockville
St. Anselm’s – Oakton
Rochambeau – Magruder
Jackson-Reed – EL Haynes
Georgetown Prep – McLean
BASIS DC – Blair
West Springfield – Marshall
Gonzaga – McKinley Tech
Girls Global Academy – St. John’s
Hayfield – DeMatha
Don Bosco Cristo Rey – Arlington Career

League Standings

Teams are ranked by Match Points, then by Board Points.

PlaceSchoolTotal Match PointsTotal Board Points
2nd (Tie)Chantilly27.5
2nd (Tie)Langley27.5
4th (Tie)Poolesville27
4th (Tie)Richard Montgomery27
7th (Tie)St. Anselm's1.56
7th (Tie)Bishop McNamara1.55
9thDon Bosco Cristo Rey15
11th (Tie)E.L. Haynes14
11th (Tie)Magruder14
11th (Tie)McLean14
14thMontgomery Blair13.5
15thGeorgetown Prep13
17th (Tie)BASIS DC0.52
17th (Tie)Jackson-Reed0.52
17th (Tie)McKinely Tech0.52
17th (Tie)St. Albans0.52
17th (Tie)West Springfield0.52
22ndArlington Career Center02.5
24th (Tie)Girls Global Academy00
24th (Tie)Hayfield00
24th (Tie)Marshall00
24th (Tie)St. John's00

Magruder High School Live Streaming Chess Competition

Metro Area Chess League participant Col. Zadok Magruder High School is in the middle of their spring chess competition.  Games are taking place in the auditorium during the school day, and Magruder’s chess club sponsor, Mr. Sanders, has put in the effort to set the event up for streaming.  The games can be followed live on the school’s YouTube channel.  The semifinals and finals are currently set for May 17 and 24, respectively.

We are very pleased to see school faculty members devoting time, space and energy to promote chess among students.