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Updated on 2015.02.25 by John Rockefeller & Chris Kim

Welcome to the 2014-2015 qualifying season for the 2015 Maryland Sweet 16 on 2015.03.07-08. Since 1995 this annual invitational tournament has featured 16 of the top K-12 Maryland residents competing in a separate section of the UMBC Open at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. For more information, click on the MD-Sweet-16 tournament-announcement page on MCA's home page. The MD-Sweet-16 Champion will receive a MD-Sweet-16 UMBC Chess Scholarship: a fixed-dollar scholarship valued at $41,536, spread over 4 years. (The scholarship covers tuition & fees, but not room & board.) Incidentally, there are 2 other types of UMBC Chess Scholarships for high-school seniors who reside either inside, or outside Maryland.

 

Because the final scheduled MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier in this qualifying season (MCA McDuffie Memorial 2015, originally scheduled for 2015.02.21) could not be rescheduled before the MD Sweet 16, the unplayed final scheduled MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier cannot count toward Varsity Points. Nonetheless, according to the MD-Sweet-16 qualification rules, all players who registered for the Varsity section of the final scheduled MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier as originally scheduled, are considered to have fulfilled the MD-Sweet-16’s tournament-participation requirement and may qualify by rating for the MD Sweet 16, even though they did not earn any Varsity Points from the final scheduled MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier. The FINAL STANDINGS have been updated according to the March, 2015 USCF ratings.

Click below for the MD-Sweet-16 qualification rules, scoring rules, current Qualifiers & Alternates, & full standings.

MCA schedules only 2 rounds of G/90, inc/30 games in the Varsity section at MD-Sweet-16 Qualifiers (a.k.a. Local Scholastic Tournaments), to give elite scholastic players the opportunity to compete in games with the same control used at the MD Sweet 16, the Denker High-School National Championship, the Barber Middle-School National Championship, & the National Girls Invitational Tournament. MCA sets the Varsity floor at 1400 to keep the sections reasonably sized & competitive.

Qualification Rules

      • Qualifiers for the MD Sweet 16 must be full-time students in grades K-12 who are currently enrolled in school or home-schooled.
      • Qualifiers must be residents of Maryland, or non-residents of Maryland who attend a school in Maryland.
      • Qualifiers must have competed in all scheduled rounds of at least 1 MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier (a Local Scholastic Tournament) during that qualifying season. There are 3 exceptions to this rule:
            • 1) If a player were to receive a 1-point bye because there were an odd number of players in a round at a MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier, then MCA would consider the player to have competed in that round & the player would receive Varsity Points, as if the player had competed in that round.
            • 2) In the event of an emergency, a player may be excused from competing in at most 1 round of a MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier. The emergency-exemption claim must be approved both on site by the Chief Tournament Director & subsequently by the MCA Scholastic Director. After the tournament the player must submit to the MCA Scholastic Director documentation (such as a medical doctor’s note, a relative’s obituary, etc.) that affirms the legitimacy of the emergency-exemption claim.
            • 3) If a player were to have registered for only the final scheduled MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier of a qualifying season, if that tournament were cancelled, & if that tournament could not be rescheduled before the MD Sweet 16, then the player would have fulfilled the MD-Sweet-16’s tournament-participation requirement by virtue of being considered to have competed in the cancelled MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier. However, the player would be considered to have competed in all scheduled rounds of that MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier for qualification purposes only; because the player will not receive any Varsity Points for having “competed” in the tournament, the player could qualify for the MD Sweet 16 only by rating.
      • The 16 MD-Sweet-16 Qualifiers will consist primarily of the top 8 players with the highest official/published USCF ratings (according to the USCF's March Ratings Supplement, regardless of whether the MD Sweet 16 will be held in late February or in early March) & secondarily of the top 8 players with the highest number of Varsity Points who are not among the top 8 players with the highest USCF ratings.
      • Starting with the 2016 MD Sweet 16, Qualifiers must have an established USCF rating by the cutoff day (the 3rd Wednesday of February) for the tournament results that will determine a player's official rating in the USCF's March Ratings Supplement. (This requirement will prevent players from qualifying by rating based only on a provisional rating—worst-case scenario: after having competed in only 4 Regular [≥ G/30] USCF-rated games.) (A provisional USCF rating becomes an established USCF rating immediately after the completion & submission of a player's 26th USCF-rated game.) (A foreign rating may NOT be used as a substitute for an established USCF rating.)
      • If there were a tie among the lowest-rated players with the 8 highest USCF ratings, such that the number of players in position to qualify for the top 8 spots by USCF rating were to exceed 8, then all of those tied players would be Qualifiers, & the number of Qualifiers by rating would exceed 8 accordingly. Consequently, the number of Qualifiers by Varsity Points would be reduced accordingly, such that the combined number of Qualifiers by rating & Qualifiers by Varsity Points would remain 16. (The resolution of this scenario would be consistent with MCA's prioritization of qualification by rating over qualification by Varsity Points.)
      • If there were a tie for the final (16th) Qualifying spot by Varsity Points, then the tiebreaker would be a player's official rating in the USCF's March Ratings Supplement—with the higher-/highest-rated player securing the final Qualifying spot. If a 2nd tiebreaker were required, then it would be the number of Varsity tournaments played—with the player who competed in the higher/highest number of MD-Sweet-16-qualifying tournaments securing the final Qualifying spot.
      • Any Qualifier who decides not to play will be replaced by the next highest-rated Alternate. That is, Varsity Points will NOT determine which Alternate will replace a withdrawn Qualifier. Regarding the replacement of a withdrawn Qualifier, it is immaterial whether the withdrawn Qualifier qualified by rating or by Varsity Points.
      • Qualifiers must commit to competing in all 4 rounds of the upcoming MD Sweet 16.
      • Qualifiers who do not intend to participate in all 4 rounds of the upcoming MD Sweet 16 are required to contact MCA in a sufficiently timely manner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Failure to do so will result in the player being barred from participating in subsequent MD Sweet 16s—or from MCA’s open tournaments for 2 years, if the player is a high-school senior.
      • MD-Sweet-16 Champions are ineligible to compete in subsequent MD-Sweet-16s; however, they are welcome to compete in subsequent MD-Sweet-16 Qualifiers.

Scoring Rules

      • The number of MD-Sweet-16 Varsity Points at stake at each tournament is weighted by the strength of the field thusly:
              • 8 points: Expert+ (2000+)
              • 4 points: Class A (1800-1999)
              • 2 points: Class B (1600-1799)
              • 1 point: Class C (1400-1599)
              • 0 points: Class D- (<1400)

        A Class D- player will be permitted to play in Varsity under only 2 scenarios:

            • 1) The Class D- player's official USCF rating is 1350-1399 (≤ 50 points below Varsity's floor of 1400), and/or if the Class D- player's unofficial USCF rating either is 1350-1399 (≤ 50 points below Varsity's floor of 1400) or is 1400+.
            • 2) If an odd number of Varsity players were to have registered, then MCA would invite a Class D- player to play up in Varsity, because having an even number of Varsity players would prevent the lowest-rated Varsity player from not being paired (& having to receive a full-point bye) in Round 1.
      • Varsity Players who do not meet the residency requirement count toward determining Varsity Points, but they do not count in the Varsity-Points standings for MD-Sweet-16 qualification.

      • After the weighting system has been applied & the total # of Varsity Points at stake has been tallied, the following formula will be used to determine the allocation of Varsity Points at a particular tournament:
        the # of Varsity Points allotted to each player who is not tied with other players = the total # of Varsity Points at stake + 1 - (the place the player finished).
      • Tied players share evenly the average of the total number of Varsity points they would earn cumulatively, if the scoring method were determined in a purely linear manner for each player—that is, if tied players were allotted Varsity Points purely according to their place, as determined by tiebreak. (If, for example, 2 players were tied for 3rd place, in a purely linear scoring system the 3rd-place finisher by tiebreak might receive 15 points, and the 4th-place finisher by tiebreak might receive 14 points. In MCA’s scoring system, however, each of the tied players would receive 14.5 points.)
      • Every MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier will be worth 10+ Varsity Points. That is, even if fewer than 10 Varsity points were at stake formulaically (that is, according purely to the cumulative allocation of points, based on the players’ various ratings classes), then the section would nonetheless be scored with 10 Varsity Points actually at stake. So, as long as the 1st-place finisher does not tie for 1st place, the 1st-place finisher at every MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier will earn a minimum of 10 Varsity Points; as long as the 2nd-place finisher does not tie for 2nd place, the 2nd-place finisher at every MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier will earn a minimum of 9 Varsity Points; etc. (This compensatory form of scoring distribution ensures that a significant number of Varsity Points will be at stake, even in the infrequent instance of a small Varsity section with few/no Class A+ players.)
      • If a player were to compete in only 1 round of a MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier because of an alleged emergency, & if the player’s emergency-exemption claim were not to be approved either on site by the Chief Tournament Director, or subsequently by the MCA Scholastic Director, then the player will earn Varsity Points for the single round in which the player competed, only if the player has already competed or subsequently competes in all scheduled rounds of the Varsity section of at least 1 MD-Sweet-16 Qualifier during that qualifying season.

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Current MD-Sweet-16 Qualifiers

      • Top 8 Qualifiers by USCF rating (March, 2015 Supplement): Sahil Sinha, Arthur Tang, Alexander Davydov, Pieter Heesters, Andrew Mao, Douglas Malcolm, Ronald Best Jr. & Meghana Bhanuprasad.
      • Next 8 Qualifiers by MD-Sweet-16 Varsity Points: Justin Hontz, Nathan Janus, Bijan Tahmessebi, Benjamin Hung, Ali Merchant, Richard Tan, Justin Hung, & Vinay Veluvolu.
      • 4 Alternates by USCF rating (March, 2015 Supplement): Dennis Norman, Jeffrey Du, Zachary Jablow, & Quil Kibak.
      • The following Varsity players’ residency renders them ineligible for the MD Sweet 16: James McAllister, Alan Mokris, & Pratyush Singh.

2015 Top 8 MD-Sweet-16 Qualifiers by USCF rating (March, 2015 Supplement) (FINAL)

Place Name USCF Rating (3/15) Total Varsity Points Number of Tournaments
1 Sinha, Sahil 2285 25.0 1
2 Tang, Arthur 2099 25.5 1
3 Davydov, Alexander 2087 18.0 1
4 Heesters, Pieter 1988 25.5 1
5 Mao, Andrew 1960 19.0 1
6 Malcolm, Douglas 1957 58.0 4
7 Best, Ronald 1911 39.5 2
8 Bhanuprasad, Meghana 1829 0.0 0
         
9 Norman, Dennis 1811 51.0 3
10 Du, Jeffrey 1785 54.0 4
11 Jablow, Zachary 1784 21.0 1
12 Tan, Richard 1760 72.0 4
13 Hontz, Justin 1758 105.5 7
14 Janus, Nathan 1740 101.5 7
15 Kibak, Quil 1714 24.0 2
16 Hung, Justin 1712 60.5 4
17 Veluvolu, Vinay 1696 58.5 3
18 Shendy, Bishoy 1689 28.5 2
19 Tahmassebi, Bijan 1676 100.0 5
20 Kim, Madeline 1651 14.0 1
21 Mrozek, Tad 1646 11.0 1
22 Hung, Benjamin 1596 91.5 6
23 Koerner, Kathleen 1590 26.0 2
24 Zheng, Zhi 1553 19.0 1
25 Merchant, Ali 1538 79.5 5
26 Best, Jordan 1491 31.0 2
27 Tarantin, Joseph 1482 51.5 3
28 Amata, Dexter 1472 17.5 1
29 Kokilepersaud, Kiran 1470 24.5 1
30 Campbell, Devon 1464 40.5 3
31 Gingles, Julius 1459 47.5 3
32 Grant, Joseph 1438 31.0 2
33 Carr, Nate 1431 0.0 0
34 Xiao, Alan 1408 11.0 1
35 Booth, Dylan 1350 7.5 1
36 Sekiya, Ryoh-suke 1331 14.0 1

 


2015 MD-Sweet-16 Qualifying Standings by Varsity Points (FINAL) 

Place Name USCF Rating (3/15) Total Varsity Points Number of Tournaments
1 Hontz, Justin 1758 105.5 7
2 Janus, Nathan 1740 101.5 7
3 Tahmassebi, Bijan 1676 100.0 5
4 Hung, Benjamin 1596 91.5 6
5 Merchant, Ali 1538 79.5 5
6 Tan, Richard 1760 72.0 4
7 Hung, Justin 1712 60.5 4
8 Veluvolu, Vinay 1696 58.5 3
9 Malcolm, Douglas 1957 58.0 4
10 Du, Jeffrey 1785 54.0 4
11 Tarantin, Joseph 1482 51.5 3
12 Norman, Dennis 1811 51.0 3
13 Gingles, Julius 1459 47.5 3
14 Campbell, Devon 1464 40.5 3
15 Best, Ronald 1911 39.5 2
16 Best, Jordan 1491 31.0 2
17 Grant, Joseph 1438 31.0 2
18 Shendy, Bishoy 1689 28.5 2
19 Koerner, Kathleen 1590 26.0 2
20 Tang, Arthur 2099 25.5 1
21 Heesters, Pieter 1988 25.5 1
22 Sinha, Sahil 2285 25.0 1
23 Kokilepersaud, Kiran 1470 24.5 1
24 Kibak, Quil 1714 24.0 2
25 Jablow, Zachary 1784 21.0 1
26 Mao, Andrew 1960 19.0 1
27 Zheng, Zhi 1553 19.0 1
28 Davydov, Alexander 2087 18.0 1
29 Amata, Dexter 1472 17.5 1
30 Kim, Madeline 1651 14.0 1
31 Sekiya, Ryoh-suke 1331 14.0 1
32 Mrozek, Tad 1646 11.0 1
33 Xiao, Alan 1408 11.0 1
34 Booth, Dylan 1350 7.5 1
35 Carr, Nate 1431 0.0 0
36 Bhanuprasad, Meghana 1829 0.0 0
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