Sunil Weeramantry's Letter to Scholastic Chess Liaison

January 12, 1996

Dr. Robert Ferguson
Scholastic Liaison, USCF Policy Board
140 School St.
Bradford PA 16701

Dear Bob,

I have always had a keen interest in players selected to represent the United States at various international scholastic events, in particular, the World Youth Championships. As you may recall, I have coached the US squad on three occasions, the most successful being the 1987 expedition to San Juan which brought us four world titles.
Sunil Weeramantry

In projecting who may earn the right to be the US representative in the girl's under 10 division in 1996, I came across a most unusual case which I would like to bring to your attention. The player in question is a new USCF member, 7 year old Candice Lonardo - #21000636, who, through late December, was still provisionally rated based on 18 games. I do not know if Ms. Lonardo has been able to compete the few remaining games to convert her rating to a permanent one within the last two weeks.

In studying the crosstables of the events that Ms. Lonardo participated in, I noticed that her rating kept increasing with her every loss. In fact, in her first 18 rated tournament games, Ms. Lonardo won two games and lost sixteen, while her rating climbed from 926/2 to 1552/18. Below is a summary of her results to date:

Game # Opponent Result Pre/Post Rating tournament ID

1 George Vaughan (1400) Loss 9509022395
2 Jeremy Leibowitz (1251) Loss 0 - 926/02 9509022395
3 Deniel Bouchard (494) Win 951118117
4 Brie Blackstone (1143) Loss 951118117
5 Chris O'Neill (1142/05) Win 951118117
6 Michael Oles (*) Loss 926 - 958/06 951118117
7 Stan Vaughan (2261) Loss 951125283
8 Gregory Niemi (2045) Loss 958 - 1157/08 951125283
9 Stan Vaughan (2265) Loss 1157 - 1236/09 951125283
10 Stan Vaughan (2265) Loss 1236 - 1299/10 951202565
11 Stan Vaughan (2267) Loss 1299 - 1351/11 951202565
12 Stan Vaughan (2267) Loss 1351 - 1394/12 951202565
13 Stan Vaughan (2267) Loss 1394 - 1430/13 951215892
14 Stan Vaughan (2272) Loss 1430 - 1461/14 951216881
15 Stan Vaughan (2272) Loss 1461 - 1488/15 951223003
16 Stan Vaughan (2274) Loss 1488 - 1512/16 951223003
17 Stan Vaughan (2275) Loss 1512 - 1533/17 951228007
18 Stan Vaughan (2279) Loss 1533 - 1552/18 951228007

(*) Michael Oles was playing in his first tournament and received a post-tournament rating of 1208 based on his first four games.

The affiliate information on these cross tables show that each tournament was sponsored by Stan Vaughan's Las Vegas Chess Club (A6012628) and that the tournament director in each case was Stan Vaughan (#10214289).

The top 50 list for 8 years and under in the 1995 USCF Annual Rating List has Joshua Friedel of New Hampshire (1639) and Adam Maltese from New York (1559) in first and second place. If Candice Lonardo's rating were to become established at her current 1552, she would not only occupy third place in this list, but she would also be ranked as the top girl under 10 and as the top 7 year-old in the country.

I find it unusual that in the last six events Ms. Lonardo participated in, all of which were submitted for rating purposes either as Swiss Standard tournaments or Round Robins, Ms. Lonardo was paired only against Stan Vaughan (11 games) and Gregory Niemi (1 game). The total number of participants in these events, within the sections that Ms. Lonardo played in, was 118 according to the crosstables. Therefore, it does seem unfair to this 7 year-old that she be paired against an established master of long standing a disproportionate number of times when a multitude of other pairings was available.

I feel that the USCF will be doing Ms. Lonardo a disservice if they permit her rating to stand. While it is likely that she was merely following what was required of her in these tournaments, it is obvious that the effect of losing 11 games to a master and 1 to an expert was to gain almost 600 rating points, thereby preventing her from acquiring an accurate rating and obtaining a true reflection of her playing strength.

In the interest of Ms. Lonardo in particular, and the integrity of our rating system, I would like to request that the policy board consider the following:

1) Ignore games 7 - 18 in calculating Ms. Lonardo's rating and return her to 958 based on her first six games.

2) Discount any future games she might play against Stan Vaughan until she has completed her allotment of provisional games by playing other players.

3) Investigate the format of tournaments conducted by affiliate A6012628, as reported in the crosstables of the events listed above to determine if proper tournament guidelines are being followed.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Sunil Weeramantry
Chair, Chess in Education Committee, USCF

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