International Chess Academy Shines At This Year’s
Posted: 2/27/2020 | Updated: 2/27/2020 | Photo

International Chess Academy Shines at This Year’s
US Amateur Team East!

One of several packed tournament rooms at this year’s US Amateur Team East

The US Amateur Team East (USATE) Tournament has been growing yearly, and at this year’s February 15-17 competition in Parsippany, NJ, 315 teams were registered to compete. International Chess Academy (ICA) brought eleven teams to the competition and fared extremely well at the competition. Here’s a brief review of our participation.

TEAM: Make King’s Gambit great again

GM Alexander Stripunsky, ICA Instructor, led ‘Make King’s Gambit great again’, a team of his own students, and achieved a perfect score of 6.0 himself.


Grandmaster Stripunsky sees tremendous potential in his group of students, “It’s always exciting for my students to play as a team. It’s the best time to see them in action. Jane, Jonathan, Gary and Spencer made a great attempt this year and, next year we will fight for top places!”


TEAM: Duda, Where’s My Car

Then there was team Duda, Where’s My Car, which scored 5 points to victory!  Dan Rade (former ICA student and ICA instructor), a 20-year veteran participant in this event (see Dan in 1999 and 2020 in photos below) contributed a perfect 6 out of 6 on board 4, and Evan Rosenberg scored a 5.5 for the team.


Maxwell Schwartz, team captain and ICA former student and instructor commented: “Chess is usually an individual game, but Team East is a tournament where I am just as invested in my teammates’ results as I am my own. I look forward to it every year as an event where I can see old friends and play alongside them.”

TEAM: Four Knights

Team Four Knights, with Dennis Li, Samuel Zhang, Alexander Wang and Ethan Modi finished with a respectable 4 points! Ethan Modi (pictured below) stood out from the rest by scoring a perfect 6 for the team!


TEAM: The Vengeful Pawns

Finally, The Vengeful Pawns scored 4 points and tied for 1st place U1900. Team members: Boris Privman, Eric Levin, Valeria Malysheva, and Lev Koganov proved to be in full Vengeance-Mode.


Attending ICA Instructors and others

ICA Instructors also made sure not to miss out on USATE. Top teacher Nicholas Katz played aggressively with good results against his higher-rated opponent. Freshman instructor Jonathan Freiberger achieved a hard-earned win with white on the 38th move against his opponent, a very tough International Master.


Nicholas Katz (photo above now and then): “I enjoy playing this tournament because of the atypical relaxed atmosphere. It's a fun friends-and-family event that is not as serious as most but still feels competitive as everybody is trying their best to win regardless.  Also the social aspect is nice. For many players this is their one can't-miss tournament of the year so you're guaranteed to see people you don't get to normally.”


The US Amateur Team East is not so much about the Grandmasters as it is about the competition, fun and fellowship. Student and Junior Instructor Lily Del Pilar summed it up best: “I like playing there because it’s nice to have a team and work together. Also, it creates a nice community of people that all have one thing is common: chess.”


Familiar faces were everywhere, including the indubitable Fred Wilson. Fred has been attending the tournament for almost 30 years, promoting his superb selection of chess books, though he admits to playing in only one of them! 

The indubitable Fred Wilson

Well-known International Grandmasters attend USAE yearly with teams. Grandmasters Christiansen, Benjamin and Nakamura have been spotted here in the past. This year, in addition to GM Stripunsky, such luminaries as Dlugy, Fedorowicz, Molnar and Yudasin were in attendance.

Parents at USATE

Of course, kids were everywhere and, so were the parents who rooted for their kids quietly, from a distance.

Student David Milstein’s parents had this to say about their sons’ accomplishment:

"Watching our child play at this tournament was an amazing opportunity to see how he has grown both as a player and as a young man.  He had the opportunity to play against players whose ratings exceeded his by up to 700 points in some cases, and we were impressed both by his determination and his sportsmanship.  This year, he was also team captain for the first time.  He took his role very seriously and worked to motivate his team members and to encourage them before and after their games.  Chess has enriched his growth in so many ways.  We were so proud of seeing his victories this weekend both on and off the board."

We want to extend a congratulations to all our ICA participants, and look forward to 
an even better year in 2021!