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Maryland Chess Association

Maryland Sweet 16 2024
From Sunday 02 March 2025
To Monday 03 March 2025
Hits : 6716
Contact Tournaments@MDChess.com

The 2024 Maryland Sweet 16 will be held 2024.03.02-03*. Since 1997 this annual, 2-day, invitational tournament has featured 16 of the top scholastic (K-12) MD players competing for free in a separate section of the UMBC Open* at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The MD-Sweet-16 Champion will receive the MD-Sweet-16 UMBC Chess Scholarship, valued at $50,424: $6,303 per semester x 2 semesters per year x 4 years. (The scholarship covers tuition & fees, but not room & board.) Incidentally, please note that there are several other types of UMBC Chess Scholarships for which high-school seniors from any state are eligible. (* The UMBC Open begins on the 1st Saturday of March [or occasionally on the final Saturday of February], so as not to overlap with UMBC's spring break—which lasts 1 week in mid-March from Sunday-Sunday & usually begins on the 3rd Sunday.)

2024.02.21 (the 3rd Wednesday of February) is the DEADLINE for players rated 1400+ who are interested in playing in the MD Sweet 16 to email MD Chess at Tournaments@MDChess.com. (Email subject: 1400+ player interested in MD Sweet 16. Email content: player’s name, US Chess rating [official or unofficial—whichever is higher], US Chess ID #, and grade.) Players are encouraged to email MD Chess starting in September. However, players do not need to email MD Chess again if they are listed below in last year’s version of Top 32 Players Rated 1400+ Who Expressed Interest in MD Sweet 16 by Emailing MD Chess. This year’s list will be updated periodically, as new 1400+ players email MD Chess. MD Chess will email official invitations to MS16 Qualifiers in mid- to late February. Qualifiers are almost always rated 1600+, and champions are almost always experts (2000-2199) or masters (2200+). The names and ratings of all previous MS16 Champions are listed in the titles of the links to the MS16 crosstables far below under Recipients of the Annual MD-Sweet-16 UMBC Chess Scholarship. Only players who qualify for the MS16 may compete in it. For more details, see far below MD-Sweet-16 Qualification Rules. Players may not purchase a registration for the tournament.

MD Sweet 16’s Roster of 16 Qualifiers, 2 Alternates, & All Backup Alternates—UPDATED 2024.02.28
Top 32 Players Rated 1400+ Who Expressed Interest in the MD Sweet 16 by Emailing MD Chess at Tournaments@MDChess.com

  Y          replied Yes        
  blank   not yet replied        
  N         replied No        
  WB      withdrawn for no
            reply & banned
MS16 Page   Player Search  
Seed Status 16 Qualifiers US Chess Rating US Chess ID  Grade 
1 Y Cherukuri, Nitesh 2159 16164934 7
  N Ye, Chen-chen 2110 15129761 11
2 Y Zlodorev, Alexander 2098 17257303 9
3 Y Mariappan, Anish 2059 15993356 11
4 Y Kurup, Siddharth 2055 16282415 7
5 Y Ramnath, Architsai 2012 16946113 8
  N Maheshwari, Jayant 2007 14966376 12
6 Y Yue, Andy 1922 30030525 5
7 Y Thimmasamudram, Sandeep 1912 16278356 7
8 Y Wu, Eliot 1906 15740871 10
9 Y Fedorov, Svetoslav 1862 31479603 6
11 N Liu, Joshua 1858 16222106 10
10 Y Verma, Angelina 1855 30170409 12
11 Y Joshi, Gabriel 1843 14997652 11
12 Y Grigsby II, Sherlock 1842 16110477 11
  N Ashtian, Arya 1811 30243787 UMBC
  N Deng, Michael 1810 16811908 6
  N Cherukuri, Devesh 1798 16164872 10
13 Y Bershak, Ari 1768 16222222 11
14 Y Fang, Kevin 1746 17113374 5
  N Skariah, Anushka 1700 15592310 10
15 Y Ghosh, Krish 1653 15399962 11
16 Y Liu, Caden 1626 30149077 3
           
    2 Alternates      
1 Y Diep, Thomas 1619 15326588 10
2 Y Zimmer, Kevin 1607 14953206 11
           
    All Backup Alternates      
1 Y Carson, Samuel 1543 17309236 9
2 Y Adimulam, Avirish 1529 17124766 7
3 Y Titarchuk, Daniel 1527 30925394 12
4 Y Titarchuk, Dimitriy 1510 30921020 12

 

MD-Sweet-16 Qualification Rules
1. Qualifiers must be full-time students in grades K-12 who are currently enrolled in school or are home-schooled.
2. Qualifiers must be either residents of Maryland or non-residents of Maryland who attend a school in Maryland.
3. Qualifiers are the 16 players (excluding former MS16 Champions, who are ineligible to play again) with the highest official US Chess March ratings (according to the March Ratings Supplement, which is determined by unofficial ratings on the 3rd Wednesday of February). Official March ratings will be the determinative criterion regardless of whether the MS16 will be held in late February or in early March. (The names and ratings of all previous MS16 Champions are listed in the links to the MS16 crosstables far below under Recipients of the Annual MD-Sweet-16 UMBC Chess Scholarship.)
4. Qualifiers must have an established US Chess rating by the cutoff day (the 3rd Wednesday of February) for the tournament results that will determine a player's official rating in US Chess's March Ratings Supplement. This requirement prevents players from qualifying by rating based only on a provisional rating—worst-case scenario: after having played in only 4 Regular [≥ G30] US-Chess-rated games. (A provisional US Chess rating becomes an established US Chess rating immediately after the completion & submission of a player's 26th US-Chess-rated game.) A foreign rating may NOT be used as a substitute for an established US Chess rating.
5. Qualifiers must commit to playing in all 4 rounds of the MS16.
6. Qualifiers who do not intend to participate in all 4 rounds are required to email MD Chess in a sufficiently timely manner at Tournaments@MDChess.com. Failure to do so will result in the player being banned from participating in future MS16s—or from MD Chess's open tournaments for 2 years, if the player is a high-school senior.

MD-Sweet-16 Attendance Rules
1. The 16 Qualifiers must play in all 4 rounds.
2. The 2 Alternates are required to be in the Tournament Room at 9:30 AM on Saturday, ready to replace any Qualifier who were either to withdraw at the last minute or not show up for Round 1. MD Chess will pay for the 2 Alternates' entrance fee to the UMBC Open, which runs (mostly) concurrently with the MS16. In case a Qualifier were to withdraw from a later round of the MS16, MD Chess prefers (but will not require) that the 2 MS16 Alternates play in every round of the UMBC Open that overlaps with a round of the MS16.
3. Backup Alternates are not required to be on site at any time, and MD Chess will not cover their entrance fee to the UMBC Open. MD Chess will contact a MS16 Backup Alternate shortly before the MS16 only if the Backup Alternate were needed to replace a withdrawn Alternate.

Typically each year there are 1+ Qualifiers and 1+ Alternates who do not play in the MS16. Consequently, typically each year 1+ Alternates becomes a Qualifier, and 1+ Backup Alternates becomes an Alternate.

The archive of MS16 articles is available via the MS16 tab (which is nestled within the Scholastic-Tournament-Info tab) in the sidebar on the left-hand side of MD Chess's home page.

Within 48 hours of being informed by email of their MD-Sweet-16 status, the Roster of 16 Qualifiers, 2 Alternates, & All Backup Alternates must inform MD Chess by email at Tournaments@MDChess.com whether they are willing to commit either to playing in all 4 rounds of the tournament (if they have qualified or were to qualify for it), or to being in the Tournament Room at 9:30 AM on Saturday to replace any withdrawn or no-show Qualifiers (if they are or were to become 1 of the 2 Alternates). Any of the 16 Qualifiers or 2 Alternates who is unable and/or unwilling to commit to serving as a Qualifier, Alternate, or Backup Alternate, must inform MD Chess by email. Any Qualifier, Alternate, or Backup Alternate who fails to inform MD Chess within 48 hours of the player's unwillingness to commit to serving as a Qualifier, Alternate, or Backup Alternate, will be banned from participating in future MS16s—or from MD Chess's open tournaments for 2 years, if the player is a high-school senior. If a player accepts MD Chess's invitation to compete in the MS16, then the player must commit to playing all 4 rounds, because each game will affect tiebreaks & pairings. Absent a medical emergency or other extraordinary circumstance (such as a death in the family), a Qualifier who commits to participating in the MS6 but fails to play in all 4 rounds, will be banned from participating in future MS16s—or from MD Chess's open tournaments for 2 years, if the player is a high-school senior. The 2 Alternates must commit to being on site by 9:30 AM on Saturday, to replace any Qualifier who withdraws or is a no-show. Absent a medical emergency or other extraordinary circumstance (such as a death in the family), an Alternate who commits to being on site by 9:30 AM on Saturday but fails to fulfill that commitment, will be banned from participating in future MS16s—or from MD Chess's open tournaments for 2 years, if the player is a high-school senior. MD Chess encourages the 2 Alternates to play for free on Saturday & Sunday in the (mostly) concurrent UMBC Open in the same building, in case 1+ of the Qualifiers were unable to play in a subsequent round. Please note that unlike the MS16, the UMBC Open offers cash prizes. After 9:30 AM on Saturday, if an Alternate is not needed as a substitute to play in Round 1 of the MS16, then the Alternate should inform a UMBC Open TD whether the player wants to play in the UMBC Open for free. MD Chess will then register either or both Alternates who want to play in the UMBC Open. (Alternates should not be registered online for the UMBC Open.)

Qualifiers' & Alternates' replies to MD Chess by email should employ this format:
Player commits to playing all 4 rounds: YES or NO
Player’s name
Player’s grade
Player's and/or parent's email address(es)
Player's and/or parent's mobile phone #(s)
Player’s home address (include zip code, etc.)
Player’s residential county (Baltimore City is a county equivalent. If the player lives out of state, then list the player's school's county.)
Player’s school (also include HS, MS, EMS, ES, or S)
Player’s school (also include HS, MS, EMS, ES, or S)
(The Director of UMBC’s Chess Program, Alan T. Sherman, requires all of this information.)

After the Roster of 16 Qualifiers & 2 Alternates is final, MD Chess will email those 18 players & all Backup Alternates. Players do NOT need to communicate further with MD Chess.

After MD Chess has notified the players that the Roster is final, if a Qualifier or Alternate will not be in the Tournament Room at 9:30 AM on Saturday, then the player must contact EVERYONE below immediately by email and/or text:

Check UMBC's website for a site closing.

MD Chess will provide boards, pieces, increment clocks, & scoresheets for all players in the MD Sweet 16. (Nonetheless, each player should bring a digital clock that supports increment as a backup, in case the batteries in 1 of MD Chess's clocks run out of power.) The MS16’s time control is G90 +30 (which differs from the UMBC Open’s time control) because MD Chess wants elite scholastic players to have the opportunity to compete in games with the same increment time control used at most U.S. Open Invitationals run during the beginning of US Chess’s U.S. Open:

Furthermore, increment time controls are the international standard, as determined by FIDE, the International Chess Federation.

MD Sweet 16: Tournament Site
Room 318
The Commons
UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250

MD Sweet 16: Parking
Commons Drive Garage
UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
1000 Hilltop Circle / Commons Drive
Baltimore, MD 21250

(Free parking all weekend. 10-minute walk to the Tournament Room.)

MD Sweet 16: Campus Maps & Visitor Information
UMBC campus maps & visitor information
(Commons Drive Garage is located on the f7 square, & the entrance to The Commons is located on the f6 square.)

SATURDAY
9:30 AM—Room 318: Mandatory check-in for all 16 Qualifiers & the 2 Alternates who have committed to being on site. A withdrawn or no-show Qualifier will be replaced by the top Alternate. If 1+ of the 2 Alternates will not be playing in the MS16, then the Alternate should tell a UMBC Open Tournament Director whether the Alternate plans to play for free in the (mostly**) concurrent UMBC Open in the same building. (MD Chess encourages the Alternates to play in the UMBC Open both on Saturday and on Sunday, in case 1+ of the Qualifiers were unable to play in a subsequent round. Moreover, note that unlike the MS16, the UMBC Open offers cash prizes.) MD Chess will then register either or both Alternates who want to play in the UMBC Open. (Alternates should not be registered online for the UMBC Open.) (** An Alternate who plays in the UMBC Open should tell a UMBC Open TD whether the Alternate wants a bye for the UMBC Open’s Round 3 at 7:30 PM.)
9:45 AM—Photo taken of MS16 players for MD Chess's home page
9:55 AM—Announcements from a UMBC Open TD
10:00 AM—Round 1
3:00 PM—Round 2 (*)

SUNDAY
(Click here to see whether Daylight Savings Time begins today—that is, whether the time advances 1 hour at 2 AM)
10:30 AM—Round 3 (**)
3:00 PM—Round 4 (***)(*)

* For Rounds 2 & 4 only, players may start their game up to 30 minutes before the scheduled start time, as long as all of the following conditions are met:

      • the previous round has been completed,
      • the next round’s pairings have been posted,
      • both players agree to start early.

** The MS16’s Round 3 at 10:30 AM on Sunday does NOT coincide with UMBC Open’s Round 3 at 7:30 PM on Saturday.

*** The MS16’s Round 4 starts 30 minutes before the UMBC Open’s Round 5, in case extra time is needed for a playoff to determine the MS16 Champion.

Playing at the Tournament

At 12 AM on Sunday, this tournament-announcement page might disappear from the top of MD Chess's home page; however, the page can still be accessed. On the lower, left side of MD Chess's home page, click on MD Chess's calendar. Click on By Month (at the top of the page) to display all tournaments within a month. Click on All Categories (at the bottom of the page) to display all types of tournaments (major & minor scholastic tournaments, major & minor open tournaments)—as well as chess camps. Navigate to & click on the desired tournament.

Although the ratings in US Chess’s March Supplement will be used to determine the 16 Qualifiers & 2 Alternates, the UMBC Open's BackRoom TD will use the US Chess Supplement of whatever month in which the tournament will be held (February or March) to determine MS16 pairings.

Clocks must be arranged to face in the same direction, in case multiple games are in time trouble and a TD wants to watch the clocks. Therefore, if Black does not wish for the clock to be on Black's right, then Black must rotate the board accordingly.

Spectators (parents & UMBC Open players) will be allowed in the Tournament Room to observe games. However, spectators will NOT be allowed to camp out (remain in 1 space) in the Tournament Room for the vast majority of a round, as the room is small and there is limited spectator space. US Chess rules prohibit spectators from making any comments or from distracting any player during a game. If a player considers a spectator to be distracting, then the player should pause the clock and find a TD to handle the situation. If a spectator’s mobile phone makes a disturbing noise in the Tournament Room, then the spectator will be expelled from the Tournament Room for the remainder of the tournament.

16 Awards: 1 Trophy & 15 Plaques

Recipients of the Annual MD-Sweet-16 UMBC Chess Scholarship


The MD Sweet 16 has included K-9 players since its inaugural run in 1997, and it has excluded former MD-Sweet-16 Champions since 2002. Competition for the UMBC Chess Scholarship was restricted to HS players until 1996.

Procedures, Rules, and Etiquette for Players and Spectators at a MD Chess Scholastic Tournament
P20. If there is a tie for first place, and if the prize can be divided and shared, then it will be. (For example, a title like MD Scholastic Chess Champion or a stipend for travel to a national tournament can be divided and shared.) If there is a tie for first place, and if the prize cannot be divided and shared, then a tiebreak procedure will determine the winner. (For example, trophies, the MD-Sweet-16 Scholarship to UMBC, and the opportunity to be MD’s sole representative at the GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High-School State Champions cannot be divided and shared.)

P20A. Format for Determining a Champion, when there is a Tie for First Place at the MD Sweet 16

If there is a tie for first place, then the MD Sweet 16 Scholarship to UMBC will not be divided and shared between those tied for first place, because there is only 1 scholarship.

If there is a tie for first place between 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion. The player who is ahead on tiebreaks after the tournament’s scheduled final round, chooses color. If the player chooses White, then he plays G15 +5 (where Black plays with 5 fewer minutes: G10 +5) and can win only by the standard means of winning: checkmate, winning on time, etc. If Black draws White, however, then White loses, because Black has draw odds as compensation for playing with 5 fewer minutes. If the player chooses Black, then he plays G10 +5 (where White plays with 5 more minutes: G15 +5) and can win with a draw against White, because Black has draw odds as compensation for playing with 5 fewer minutes.

P20B. If there is a tie for first place among 3+ players, then a double round robin of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff will determine the champion. (In a single round robin, each player plays 1 game against each opponent; conversely, in a double round robin, each player plays 2 games [both as White and as Black] against each opponent.)

      • After the double round robin of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff, if there is a tie for first place between 2 players, then they play 1 round of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff. After the 1 round of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff, if there is still a tie between the 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion.
      • After the double round robin of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff, if there is still a tie for first place among 3+ players, then the 2 players who finished ahead on tiebreaks after the tournament’s initially scheduled final round, play 1 round of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff. After the 1 round of a G5 +3 Blitz playoff, if there is still a tie between the 2 players, then 1 Armageddon Quick game will determine the champion.

[US Chess requires Blitz games to be at least G5 and no more than G10. But that applies to a Blitz tournament or a tournament with a Blitz section, not to a Blitz playoff at the end of a tournament with longer time controls. So, if there’s a tie for first place after the final round at the MD Scholastic Chess Championships, then even a standard FIDE Blitz game (G3 +2) would be a viable option for determining the MD Scholastic Chess Champions.]

How MD Chess Determines the Individual Winner of a Section when There’s a Tie for First Place

MD Chess's Social-Media Profiles

If MD Chess's Photographer takes photos of players at the board & in the Skittles Room, then they will be available for purchase at the MD Chess Photographer's website.

If the tournament were to be rescheduled or cancelled, then MD Chess would contact you (by email and/or text) and post an announcement at the top of this tournament-announcement page. The tournament will proceed as planned, if MD Chess neither contacts you, nor posts an announcement about a rescheduling or cancellation. Please do not contact MD Chess about a site's hypothetical closing because of dangerous weather, etc. A site closing would be announced separately by UMBC.

For more information about the tournament, contact MD Chess at Tournaments@MDChess.com.

Location UMBC Commons, Room 318