Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Los Angeles, California (CNN)

Jaime Escalante, the math teacher portrayed in the 1988 film "Stand and Deliver," died Tuesday after a battle with cancer, according to the actor who played him.

Escalante, 79, was surrounded by his wife, children and grandchildren when he died at his home in Roseville, California, said Edward James Olmos.

Olmos visited Escalante's bedside Monday night, he said.

"We lost one of the true giants of education and inspiration in this country," Olmos said. "He really made us understand that it didn't matter what color, race, creed or ethnicity any of us are."

Olmos disclosed earlier this month that Escalante was "seriously ill" with cancer and needed help paying for his medical care. He held a fundraiser in Los Angeles, California, for him last week.
"Stand and Deliver" told the inspirational story of how Escalante turned the failing calculus program at Garfield High School in east Los Angeles into one of the top in the nation.

The movie depicted events of 1982 when his inner-city student's test scores were questioned by officials. Those who were retested had their passing scores reinstated.

Escalante became a hero for educators, earning him entrance to the National Teachers Hall of Fame and the Presidential Medal for Excellence in Education.

"During his tenure at Garfield High School, many of our students excelled in learning, aspired to a higher education and went on to become very successful in various careers," Los Angeles School Superintendent Ramon Cortines said. "Today, they are living testaments to a teacher who demonstrated how high expectations coupled with constant support can overcome obstacles to a quality education."

The Garfield High math program floundered after Escalante left in 1991 for a teaching job in Sacramento, California.

He also hosted a PBS television series that promoted math and science careers.

He retired from teaching and returned to Bolivia in 1999, where he was born in 1930.

Escalante recently returned to California for medical treatment.

CNN's Sonya Hamasaki contributed to this report.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Chess is not everything!

I cannot believe I just wrote that.

During the past six-years that Claudia has been playing chess, she has made friends along her travels. Case in point is Anna Wyzywany, whom she met last year at the ALL GIRLS NATIONAL in Dallas, Texas and who is an avid reader of this blog. She is also in the picture above with Claudia. Anna is from Shreveport, Louisiana.

Granted that Claudia has never played chess in that state, she has a friend that posts in this blog and will call her during a tournament. Our daughter has been a role model to them in several areas. We appreciate their friendship and hope soon to be in their neck of the woods competing in some rated event.

Mike Tubbs from Lawton, Oklahoma is another Claudia well-wisher and supporter. If you closely at the map, you will find Lawton north of Wichita Falls, where our family lives at this moment. Although Lawton is across state lines, an hour away, from Wichita Falls, Mike was gracious enough to drive down to give our daughter a book as a present: MODERN CHESS OPENINGS. Claudia will put the book to immediate good use as she is commuting weekly to the Dallas Chess Club.
God always puts people like Mike in our lives and we truly appreciate it.

Last but not least, we recognize Wichita Falls native and Texas Tech student Zachary Haskin who visits this blog to always leave an encouraging word for Claudia. He also lived through the weekly commutes from Wichita Falls to Dallas. His weekly posts in this blog are always a blessing.
Behind every successful chess player there are supporting parents who have nutured the child´s growth; however, behind every nuturing parent there is a group of friends that provide the emotional strength to continue forward.
12-year old WCM Claudia Muñoz is going to make many more friends by the time she becomes an 18-year old, college bound GM Claudia Muñoz - but we will never forget those that became our friends in the early years.
Translated into English ¨THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL¨

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Claudia finished her last tournament of the official rating period this Saturday. It was an extremely productive period for our daughter as she participated in 8-rated tournaments in a 5-weeks, averaging a 29-point increase per rated event. We thank God for the blessing of being a part of this journey with our daughter.

We will continue the commuting process but at a slower pace between Wichita Falls and Dallas. Claudia will be participating in 4-5 rated events in the month of April, as an assault will begin to reach 2000 points by her 13th birthday in November.

If she does not qualify for the World Youth Championship 2010, somewhere by summer she will qualify for the 2011 WYCC, however, once she qualifies, we confidently believe that she will always be on the U.S team.

Pair  Player Name                    TotalRoundRoundRoundRound 
 Num   USCF ID / Rtg (Pre->Post)    Pts   1    2    3    4   
    1  AUSTEN JAY GREEN            4.0  W   8W  28W  12W   3
   TX  12928565 / R: 2229 ->2241                             
                  Q: 2162 ->2173                             
    2  TOMMY O HE                  4.0  W  20W  10W  14W  12
   TX  13354250 / R: 2109 ->2125                             
                  Q: 2071 ->2084                             
    3  JASON JIA                   3.0  W   6W  15W   4L   1
   TX  12846410 / R: 2121 ->2127                             
                  Q: 2048 ->2055                             
    4  AKSHAY MALHOTRA             3.0  W  19W  18L   3W  16
   TX  13194423 / R: 2015 ->2014                             
                  Q: 1954 ->1953                             
    5  SUCHINDER KALYAN            3.0  H   0W  25D   7W  17
   TX  13493931 / R: 1776 ->1795                             
                  Q: 1708 ->1722                             
    6  NATHAN CLAUDE LEITER        3.0  L   3W  29W  28W  14
   TX  13488471 / R: 1645 ->1733                             
                  Q: 1585 ->1681                             
    7  DION SU                     2.5  D  22W  23D   5H   0
   TX  12958332 / R: 1934 ->1923                             
                  Q: 1891 ->1878                             
    8  DAVID CHIANG                2.5  L   1W  21W  24H   0
   TX  12455287 / R: 1720 ->1731                             
                  Q: 1667 ->1679                             
    9  CLAUDIA E MUNOZ             2.5  L  12W  31D  10W  18
   TX  13481236 / R: 1714 ->1720                             
                  Q: 1670 ->1676                             
   10  KARTHIK PRABHAKARAN         2.5  W  32L   2D   9W  22
   TX  13130200 / R: 1707 ->1713                             
                  Q: 1688 ->1689                             
   11  JAROD M PAMATMAT            2.0  H   0H   0U   0W  25
   TX  12894895 / R: 2236 ->2237                             
                  Q: 2127 ->2128                             
   12  SARAH CHIANG                2.0  W   9W  16L   1L   2
   TX  13091081 / R: 2062 ->2055                             
                  Q: 1964 ->1959                             
   13  ROBERT SANCHEZ              2.0  H   0H   0W  26U   0
   TX  13114854 / R: 2030 ->2036                             
                  Q: 2011 ->2016                             
   14  JONATHAN CHIANG             2.0  W  21W  17L   2L   6
   TX  13091096 / R: 2001 ->1984                             
                  Q: 1929 ->1910                             
   15  JONATHAN F ALLEN            2.0  W  30L   3W  22U   0
   TX  20099720 / R: 1906 ->1904                             
                  Q: 1844 ->1841                             
   16  JORDAN JAMES PAMATMAT       2.0  W  29L  12W  19L   4
   TX  12926024 / R: 1737 ->1742                             
                  Q: 1656 ->1663                             
   17  ANSHUMAAN ATRIWAL           2.0  W  31L  14W  30L   5
   TX  13743046 / R: 1702 ->1694                             
                  Q: 1461 ->1471                             
   18  VENKAT TEJAH KOTTA          2.0  W  27L   4W  23L   9
   TX  13996018 / R: 1526 ->1576                             
                  Q: 1476 ->1527                             
   19  DEVINA DEVAGHARAN           2.0  L   4W  32L  16W  30
   TX  13917532 / R: 1559 ->1565                             
                  Q: 1516 ->1520                             
   20  BRIAN FANYUAN GU             1.5  L   2L  24W  32D  21
   TX  14100620 / R: 1596 ->1574                             
                  Q: 1544 ->1522                             
   21  KAAVYA RAMESH               1.5  L  14L   8W  31D  20
   TX  14023322 / R: 1550 ->1542                             
                  Q: 1515 ->1505                             
   22  AARYAMAAN ATRIWAL           1.5  D   7W  33L  15L  10
   TX  13743052 / R: 1495 ->1502                             
                  Q: 1260 ->1297                             
   23  SUDARSHANA JAGADEESHI       1.5  H   0L   7L  18W  29
   TX  13876882 / R: 1485 ->1488                             
                  Q: 1435 ->1438                             
   24  ANIRUDHAA R RAVI            1.5  L  28W  20L   8H   0
   TX  12973392 / R: 1416 ->1438                             
                  Q: 1373 ->1395                             
   25  ROHIN MAGANTI               1.5  H   0L   5W  33L  11
   TX  13701126 / R: 1232 ->1244                             
                  Q: 1205 ->1217                             
   26  GLENN BAUMANN               1.0  H   0H   0L  13U   0
   TX  12748943 / R: 1896 ->1889                             
                  Q: 1814 ->1808                             
   27  ADAM JACOB RINKLEFF         1.0  L  18L  30L  29W  33
   TX  12809489 / R: 1858 ->1802                             
                  Q: 1772 ->1711                             
   28  ATULYA VAIDYA               1.0  W  24L   1L   6U   0
   TX  13252537 / R: 1784 ->1771                             
                  Q: 1741 ->1727                             
   29  HENRY CL DAVIS              1.0  L  16L   6W  27L  23
   TX  13048048 / R: 1502 ->1499                             
                  Q: 1456 ->1450                             
   30  DAVID WANG                  1.0  L  15W  27L  17L  19
   TX  13146343 / R: 1468 ->1476                             
                  Q: 1423 ->1421                             
   31  SRIRAM RAMESHBABU           1.0  L  17L   9L  21B   0
   TX  14257603 / R: 1117 ->1110                             
                  Q: 1095 ->1084                             
   32  MARK LAYNE WEISBERG         0.5  L  10L  19L  20H   0
   TX  13486563 / R: 1216 ->1203                             
                  Q: 1198 ->1183                             
   33  VISHNU YELAKANTI            0.5  H   0L  22L  25L  27
   TX  14212003 / R: 1107 ->1086                             
                  Q: 1095 ->1066                             

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Was it an easy Friday night for Claudia at the Dallas Chess Club? Not hardly. In the first round she faced Dion Su (1927), losing in the first round. In the 2nd and 3rd rounds she defeated lower rated players only to face NM Jarod Pamatmat (2237) in the final round to whom she lost. Her performance only provided her with 4-rating points. This was the first time in 5-weeks that Claudia faced a small speed bump.

Currently, she is playing in the Saturday Night Swiss Rated Tournament. We will have more news for you later.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Claudia will be playing in her last two rated tournaments of the month, this weekend, at the Dallas Chess Club. After making a brave assault on the rating lists, Claudia has set herself on crossing 1800 this weekend after having been 1491 - 5 weeks ago. We have seen how relocating Claudia from the U.S. - Mexican border to North Texas, where she could play rated chess every weekend, has literally transformed her.

We still hold the belief that she will qualify for the World Youth Championship 2010 in Greece this fall. If for some reason this cannot be achieved, simply because time ran out on us, somewhere in late spring she should have qualified for the WYCC 2011.

The commuting from Wichita Falls to Dallas continues.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Over the last two years I have been producing and directing a documentary about scholastic chess with my company Rescued Media. CHESS MOVIE (working title) goes inside the best junior high chess program in the United States, Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn, New York. In April 2009 we embarked on our first trip with I.S. 318 to the USCF Super Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee. Once we witnessed how big the scholastic chess world was, we were hooked. We embedded ourselves with the team – at home, at school and away at tournaments – and slowly, the kids' individual stories began to take shape. Please watch our five minute teaser to see where the film is now headed.

It’s our ultimate goal to secure a television broadcast for Chess Movie and a small theatrical release. We also plan to build a community outreach campaign around the film and use it as a springboard to build support for scholastic chess programs in under served communities across the country.

Right now we have a fundraising campaign underway at Kickstarter is an online funding platform for artists to engage with their audiences and build support for their projects. Our Kickstarter campaign has been successful so far, surpassing our initial goal in just a few short weeks. As independent filmmakers we are working hard to make this documentary on our own and hope to complete production in the next few months. But in order to do this we need to keep raising money and that's why we are asking for your help.

We believe Chess Movie has the potential to breakdown false stereotypes about chess and present a new and fresh perspective to one of the world's oldest and most beloved games. It also will inspire kids to achieve their dreams, both on and off the chessboard.


Katie Dellamaggiore

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


There's a very nice teenager living in Foster City who likes to beat people's brains out. This he does across a chessboard, moving pieces in a way that few 14-year-old kids move them. The brutal dismemberment he administers to foes is the real deal. The absence of actual spilled blood seems a technicality.

"It's not 64 squares," said Daniel Naroditsky, who speaks softly but doesn't play softly. "It's a battlefield. There's no luck, there's no dice. It's just you and your opponent."

In the whacked-out history of the world's greatest board game, there have always been prodigies - youngsters with the eerie gift to see instantly where the pieces ought to be going and what they can do when they get there, while ordinary mortals are merely shifting the wooden statuettes around. But hardly anyone has climbed so far, so fast and with such poise as Daniel. And no 14-year-old kid ever published a textbook about the game, as Daniel just did.

It's a thick book, and it costs $24. So far, not a lot of people have bought it, because only an experienced chess player can understand it. Daniel doesn't mind. He's patient - something that 14-year-old boys are not supposed to be. But patience turns out to be what the book is all about.

"When your opponent is tied up, always be patient and search for the simplest option," advises Daniel on Page 206, before explaining that the simplest option in this particular case involves moving a knight from square f3 to square d2 and then to square b3, a5 and b6.

"Time and again, players lose because they make rash decisions. Therefore, you always have to remind yourself - don't hurry. Embarking on a risky combination that cannot be calculated to the end is certainly not the right thing to do."

Daniel, a chess master at 11 and the junior world champion at 12, is patiently waiting for the world to catch up to him. He's an eighth-grader at Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough and he lives in a Foster City townhouse with father Vladimir, a college math professor, and mother Lena, a concert pianist.

Vladimir taught Daniel the game eight years ago and stopped playing games against him three years later, after finding that the tables had turned once and for all. No father wants to get horsewhipped endlessly by his own kid.

"There wasn't much point for us to keep playing," Vladimir Naroditsky said, with a grim little smile that was part pride and part something else.

Daniel's bedroom looks ordinary enough - a bunch of stuffed animals, a swimming trophy, some Lego airplanes - but then there's the scores of chess volumes, thick as phone books, which suggest something else is going on. And downstairs, the entire living room has been given over to a giant display case holding dozens of Daniel's tall, stately chess trophies. The family had to move its collection of Russian literature into the garage to make room.

"He's an absolutely normal child who is absolutely not intimidated by anything," said his mother, who had encouraged her son to play the piano but who stepped back when she saw his passion.
"We're not pushing him to do anything," she said. "He's pulling us."

The other day, the world's youngest chess author pulled his parents to the Mechanics' Institute, home of one of the world's oldest chess clubs, in downtown San Francisco, for an event that can only be called otherworldly.

Daniel was the lecturer and, arrayed in rows of seats before him, were players half a century older. A giant chess diagram hung on the wall in the front of the room. Daniel, obliged to stand on tiptoes to reach the top row of squares, replayed the moves of a couple of tournament games, moving pieces around and calmly explaining where the masters went wrong. In the audience, some folks understood what Daniel was saying and some folks tried to look like they did.
"After every move," said the teenager to the septuagenarians, "ask yourself what does my opponent want to do to me, and how can I prevent it?"

The rest of the lecture was full of hard-to-fathom chess stuff, with queens moving to square c5 and rooks moving to f2 and bishops slithering over to h7. But the games were anything but flashy bloodbaths, because Daniel prides himself on subtle, positional moves, the kind that build pressure. His style of conquest is more like the squeezing of an anaconda than the slashing of a velociraptor. And the title of his book, "Mastering Positional Chess," speaks of still, deep waters.

"It's more important to learn to appreciate the subtle maneuvers than the flashy queen sacrifices," Daniel said, and then the room burst into applause and Daniel sat at a table and began autographing copies of his book while his father rang up the sales.

Afterward, chess club director John Donaldson said Daniel was the sensation of the club and his frighteningly swift rise through the ranks reflected his dedication as much as his gift.

"A lot of young players pride themselves on never opening a chess book," said Donaldson. "Not Daniel. He studies and studies. He's amazing. He needs to be cloned and his DNA distributed to the youth of America."

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This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Sunday, March 21, 2010


In the middle of the snowy cold front that descended over the Dallas-Ft. Worth Saturday night, 12-year old Claudia crossed the 1700 rating mark. About 11:30 p.m. she finished the last round of the regular Dallas Chess Club Saturday Swiss Rated Tournament. Once again, in two days, the 6th grader gained 43 rating points.

In a 4-week span of rated tournament chess, Claudia has gained a WHOOPING 220-points, she will once again commute next week to the Dallas Chess Club.

We believe that she can gain another 100 point this week. She stayed in the 1500´s for about 10 days, which was about the same time she was in the 1600´s.

We give God all the Honor and Glory for allowing us to share these beautiful moments as a family.

Friday, March 19, 2010


242 miles round-trip is how much WCM Claudia Muñoz has had to travel every weekend, for the past month, in order for our daughter to compete at the Dallas Chess Club. It has been an extroardinary organizational feat, which has been spearheaded by my wife Claudia (not the chess player). Two volunteers close to our family have assisted in order to make the Wichita Falls - Dallas, Texas commute easier for us.
Needless to say, our daughter Claudia has stepped up to the plate with an average increase of 36-rating points in each of her last 5-tournaments in Dallas in the last 30 days - 178 rating points total.
When will the rise stop?
We do not know and it does not concern us at the moment.
I simply predicted that once Claudia would relocate from Mexico back home to the United States, to play chess, she would increase 300-points in her first 90 days. Our daughter is way ahead of those projections.
We simply will take it slowly and with confidence. There is no rush, she is 12-years old. The objective is not who starts fast but who can maintain the pace. As of for now, Claudia will play in the Friday Night and Saturday Night Swiss Rated Event at the Dallas Chess Club this weekend.
The rest will come in its due time.