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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 News and Notes: The State of Scholastics
 Nathan Smolensky
  June 2015

On May 3rd of this year, I had the privilege of running MACA’s first ever Girls’ Championship at the Boylston Chess Club in Cambridge. Originally scheduled for mid-February, the event threatened to become a casualty of the brutal winter weather, but fortunately in this case a delay was merely a delay. The first championship crown would be decided by a blitz playoff – won by Ria Dawar – and with that, the 2014-2015 MACA scholastic season came to a close.  

That first Girls’ Championship speaks to a remarkable diversity in MACA’s scholastic programming, and a willingness over these past few years to dynamically expand our offerings. 

The Spiegel Cup Series, now in its second season, spread further across Massachusetts clubs and schools, enabling them to integrate their own unique environments into the MACA network by feeding into the Spiegel Cup, our state scholastic championship. One of those qualifiers, Brookline’s David Katsman, would go on to share 1st in his section, becoming the first SCS winner in the (admittedly short) history of the program to do so. 

Interestingly, there would be no clear winners among the invitational sections of the 2015 Spiegel Cup. It would instead be a day of sharing, with the 14 & Under crown going to Evan Meyer, NM Carissa Yip, and Anton Barash, the 11 & Under split among Eddie Wei, Evan MacLure, and Alex Yu, and the 8 & Under split four ways across Achyuta Rajaram, Derek Zhao, Katsman, and Rafael Pashkov. 

Again, a crucial piece of the evolution of MACA scholastics has been the integration of local events into state tournaments, and the effects are felt on both sides of the equation. The MA Scholastic Grand Prix, for instance, the brainchild of MACA Scholastic committee member Dmitry Barash, toured through a series of Papa Gino’s, Burger Kings, and the NESSP earlier in the school year.

There will always be the pillars in the MACA scholastic calendar – the Spiegel and its qualifiers, and the Hurvitz, discussed in News in Brief on p. 5 – but with young players hungry for more tournament options, it’s good to know there’s room to grow.