Past Years: 2011 Summary

The 8th Annual Western Invitational Chess Camp was perhaps the strongest and deepest in the 8 year history of the Western Invitational Chess Camp. The 2011 Camp featured a 3 GM lineup of Larry Christiansen, Alejandro Ramirez, and GM Melik Khachiyan and IM Levon Altounian, IM Danny Rensch, and myself. Out of the 48 camp participants, 30 were rated over 1900!!!!

The top group had 12 players all rated over 2100. The average rating of the top group was 2175! - the second highest average rating of the top group since 2007 Camp had a 2190 average rating. The top group featured a total of 4 masters, two of whom were newcomers to the camp - Michael Vilenchuk from Ohio and Jason Altschuler from Texas, along with returning masters, Nick Thompson from AZ and Alex Balkum from Texas. And of course, John Williams from Phoenix continued his streak of attending for the 7th!! consecutive year.

The second group sported an impressive 18 students, all rated between 1930-2030! It was great to welcome newcomers, Emily Tallo from Indiana, Eldon Nakagawa from Hawaii!, Lilia Poteat from New York, Gabe Ewing from New Mexico, Scott Treiman from Utah, Daniel Ng from Texas, as well as local Arizonans, Derek Chen and Kinsleigh Wong.

Group 3 featured perhaps the brighest crop of players that we have had in some time (Since this writing, a majority of all of these students have raised their ratings at least a 100 points, and a few more than 200!!).

Finally, Group 4 was perhaps the most energetic of the groups and from some instructor's accounts, learned the most. As was proven last year, some students in group 4 will not be in that group again! As usual, each year there is a non-rated camp tournament and the instructors vote on the instructor award for the hardest working student in each group. Here are the 2011 Winners!

Camp Tournament Winners

GroupName (Score)State
Group 1Michael Vilenchuk (5-0!)Ohio
Group 2Eldon Nakagawa (4.5-.5)Hawaii
Group 3Annie Wang (4.5-.5)California
Group 4Casper Mulholland (4-1)
Cameron Cummings (4-1)

Instructor Award

Group 1Jason Altschuler
Nick Thompson
Group 2Gabe Ewing
Steven Pennock
New Mexico
Group 3Ethan Li
Prateek Pinisetti
Group 4Aidan BurdickNorth Carolina

Thanks to all the students, parents, local families for hosting and the instructors for making 2011 the most memorable camp yet. If you are interested in attending in 2012, please email me at