NACCL Week 4 – Qualcomm Leads

North American Corporate Chess League og

We finally have a clear leader in the North American Corporate Chess League individual standings!  GM Ashwin Jayaram (2571) of Wells Fargo defeated Lyft’s FM Kyron Griffith (2470) and Deloitte’s NM Samuel Song (2300) on Thursday evening to maintain the only remaining perfect score.  340 of the 437 NACCL players signed up to play in week 4 of 6.  Grandmaster Jayaram ground down Griffith with Black in a Caro-Kann and then played an instructive sacrifice (19.Nxc5!) in a main line King’s Indian Defense as White against NM Song.  Ashwin’s week 4 results are very important for the team standings as all three teams are in very close contention for first place.

National Master Samuel Song of Deloitte was the only other perfect score after 7 rounds, as he defeated fellow NM Siddharth Arun of Charles River Associates in a nice game:

Perhaps the most entertaining game of the week was between 1821-rated Benjamin Blium (Deloitte) and 2080-rated David Stamper (Wells Fargo).  Considering that these two teams lead the standings, every single move in such a matchup is crucial for the leaderboards.

It is important to remember that instructive chess games are played at all levels of chess.  In this game between Neil Edwards (Novetta) and Bradley Barnum (Chevron), two lower-rated players, White goes for a tempting endgame tactic which ends up backfiring.  A common mistake for players of all levels is figuring out when to stop your tactical calculation.  Playing a nice combination, only for your opponent to see one move further, is something that never goes away even at the top level.


As the NACCL heads into the home stretch, the only thing that is clear is that nothing is clear!  Qualcomm, Inc. continues to lead the Team Standings with 26 points, however with Deloitte and Wells Fargo just behind at 25.5 and Lyft (25), Susquehanna International Group (24.5),  Google (23) rounding out the top 6 spots, there is still everything to play for.  While the frontrunners have emerged, which places they will land in at the end of the six-week season is completely unknown.

GM Ashwin Jayaram (Wells Fargo) tops the Individual Standings with a perfect 8/8. Closely behind with 7/8 are – FMs Kyron Griffith and Varun Krishnan of Lyft, NM Samuel Song (Deloitte), Brian Luo (SIG), Sridhar Ramanujam (Qualcomm), Ajay Mohanan (Qualcomm), and Benjamin Blium (Deloitte).  FM Movses Movsisyan of Kaiser Permanente is in 9th Place by himself at 6.5/8, while IM Arthur Shen (SIG), who skipped week 1, leads a large pack at 6 points.

Commentary + Lectures

With just two weeks left, the NACCL standings could not be more exciting – re-watch FM Peter Giannatos’ commentary here. Monday’s improvement seminar with GM Daniel Naroditsky was very well-received by attendees, and will back back every Monday for more improvement tips! Players in league who miss the Monday improvement seminars with GM Naroditsky can rewatch them using the link in the weekly newsletter.

Guest Lectures

The NACCL is more than just a chess tournament for working adults. It’s a team bonding experience and a way to complement and enhance corporate performance. The NACCL has scheduled “Chess and Business” seminars that all participants are encouraged to join these lectures and are included as part of their membership to league.

Special Guests this Season:

  • GM David Smerdon, PhD – Your Opponent’s Mind: A Behavioral Economist’s Guide to Chess (Concluded)
  • GM Patrick Wolff – The Parallels of Chess and Finance
    • Wednesday, February 17, 7:30pm-8:30pm EST
  • GM Matthew Sadler – Finding a Path: Lessons from Chess Applied to IT
    • Sunday, February 21, 3:00pm-4:00pm EST

The links for these lectures are sent out in the NACCL’s weekly newsletter. Please let us know if you have not received our weekly newsletters.

Week 4 Tactics Test

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The NACCL has already made history in its first season and we would like to thank so many teams and players for competing.  Onward to week 5!

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