In week two of the North American Corporate Chess League, a few leaders broke apart from the pack in both the team and individual standings. As discussed in last week’s blog, the NACCL’s first season numbers are shattering records – there is now a total of 434 players registered (from 43 teams), over 360 of whom played on Thursday night. Following the smooth debut last week, courtesy of the Charlotte Chess Center’s organization team in cooperation with Chessstream and lichess, players seemed less nervous about the evening’s proceedings, and were able to focus fully on their games.
Players who check in each week are paired for two “15+5” rapid games based on a combination of USCF and lichess ratings to seed players as well as the results from previous weeks. Although players who skipped the first two rounds start with 0-point score, many strong players will still look to finish at the top of the standings by the end of the 12-round season, including FM Andrey Krasnov (Jump Trading) and the 2500+ rated IM Arthur Shen (SIG).
The reliability of the pairing system and accuracy of the ratings assigned to every player can truly be seen from the round 4 results – out of 180 boards, only one game ended in an upset win in which 2093-rated Brian Luo of the Susquehanna International Group defeated FM Varun Krishnan (Lyft), rated 2354. Both players were on a perfect 3-0 score, and the upset allowed Luo to lead the SIG team to a respectable tie for 4th place in standings. His 2354-rated opponent, Varun Krishnan, played a nice game in round 3 against Luo’s SIG teammate, Justin Brereton:
One of my favorite attributes of the NACCL is that it very suitable for players who have not played tournament chess in years, but who still play casually online and perhaps are revitalized by a certain Netflix series. In the following game, playing White is Christopher Liu (Palantir) who has not played a rated tournament game since January 2007 and has a USCF rating of 1154. Although Christopher played at a much higher level than that against his opponent (Narayana Kadiyala of Qualcomm), the game took a turn after a strong opening.
The roller coaster of a game between Joseph Terrigno (Novetta) and Heng Quang (Lyft) is true entertainment – White was winning for much of the game, then Black conducted a strong attack which garnered a piece, but the game ended in a draw!
It was unlikely that any teams would arrive unscathed with a perfect score after four rounds. This proved to be the case, but the two leaders who emerged are quite surprising! Qualcomm Inc. has a large but relatively unassuming squad, but they clearly came to play! After a perfect 8 points in week 1, Qualcomm followed it up with a very solid 6 points in week 2 – their unrated players Anil Rao and Prajakt Kulkarni have 4/4 and they are followed up by several colleagues on 3/4 points, only one of whom is rated over 2000.
Tied for first place with Qualcomm at 14 points is Jump Trading who similarly have two unrated players still on a perfect 4-0 score: Qiuyi Han and Wim Glenn. Between Qualcomm and Jump Trading, there is only one titled player in FM Andrey Krasnov (Jump Trading, rated 2265), so it will be interesting to see if these teams can maintain their early success! Week 3 will see the accelerated pairing restrictions relaxed in favor of more traditional Swiss pairings, so these unrated players will soon face a tough test in the coming rounds.
Closely behind Qualcomm and Jump Trading, we have many top seeded teams with titled players – at 13.5 points is Lyft, lead by FM Kyron Griffith (4-0, 2470 rating) and tied at 13 team points are Wells Fargo, Susquehanna International Group, Deloitte, and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. The top four player scores within each company contribute to the team standings, which can be seen here.
In the individual standings, 12 players remain perfect at 4-0, including three titled players in GM Ashwin Jayaram (Wells Fargo), FM Kyron Griffith (Lyft), and FM Movses Movsisyan (KP). Grandmaster Akshayraj Kore (Capital One) was nicked for a draw by Gabriel Tkach (Credit Suisse) in round 3, both of whom are among the five players with 3.5/4. See the individual standings here.
Commentary + Lectures
FM Peter Giannatos had the call on week 2’s commentary, which can be replayed here. Monday’s improvement seminar with GM Daniel Naroditsky was very well-received by almost 90 attendees, and league participants will be happy to know that we have scheduled “Chess in Business” seminars with GM/PhD David Smerdon (Behavioral Economist) and GM Matthew Sadler (IT Consultant and Infrastructure Architect).
The NACCL has already made history in its first season and we would like to thank so many teams and players for competing. Onwards to week 3!
League Tactics Test
Lichess currently fixing embed codes to enable piece movement. In the meantime, you can click the square in the bottom right corner to solve on lichess directly. Direct Link to Study Here