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2009 Washington State Championship Player Introductions

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Championship Section

FM Costin Cozianu 2566

Costin was born in 1973 in Romania, played chess there semi-professionally but decided to call it quits around the age of 16. He was two-time junior champion of Romania and got to a FIDE rating of a little above 2400. After that he played only one tournament a year.

Costin reports, "Surprisingly since I decided I wasn't going for professional chess anymore my results got better, especially against professional players. This was thanks to my great mentor the IM Mircea Pavlov, the most reputed chess trainer of Romania who set me on a very solid foundation when I was young."

In February 2000 Costin immigrated to the US, where he has a career as a computer programmer. He lived in the Los Angeles area and was only able to play one chess tournament in seven years. In 2008, he moved to Seattle where he works for In Seattle he was able to play chess just a little bit more than before.

According to Costin, "Still I do not train much and my game is a little bit rusty. I might play some more, depending on opportunities and as my time and career allows. To play chess even at my not-that-good level is very consuming in terms of time and mental energy. I should add that I was very impressed with the performance of the two juniors in the tournament, and I think they deserve more mention than me."

Costin was the highest rated player in this year's event, and did very well for being "rusty!"

FM Michael Lee 2374

{2008} Michael is a member of the All-American Chess Team. He was the 2003 National 4th-Grade Champion and 2005 National 6th-Grade Champion. He led his school teams to win the 2005 National K-5 Championship and the 2006 National K-8 Championship. Michael learned to play chess at the school chess club in first grade. He currently studies with IM Georgi Orlov. Besides his chess interest, Michael is also a talented piano player. He performed a piano concerto with the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra at age 12. He is one of the feature pianists at the upcoming Ten Grands event at Seattle's Benaroya Hall in May. Michael attends 8th grade at the Odle Middle School in Bellevue, Washington. He enjoys math, science and reading.

WGM Katerine Rohonyan 2335

FM Ignacio Perez 2311 (seed)

Ignacio was the 2007 Washington State Chess champion.
(The photo was taken at that event.)


FM William Schill 2246 (seed)

See February 2009 Northwest Chess cover photo.

NM Curt Collyer 2241 (seed)



NM Harley Greninger 2236

{2008} I learned to play chess at the ripe old age of 5, when my eldest brother taught me the moves. I caught on fairly quickly and word soon got around our small community of Elgin Oregon that this 5 year old was somewhat of a Prodigy. I made front page news, when upon being visited by the local newspaper reporter, I defeated my eldest brother-- for which he never has quite forgiven me! He said that he was teased by everyone at his school, how that he (being a Jr. High student) was defeated at the 'intellectual game' by his pre-school brother. He especially emphasized how that he could never land a date because of this.

However, I was too busy playing with my army men and friends to do much with this newfound ability. It wasn't until my sophomore year in high school (1976) that I took real interest in the game. I joined the school chess club and would go in every afternoon after school to play the chess teacher, Mr. Benson. I did this each year, while attending Aberdeen High. In my sophomore year, Mr. Benson defeated me in nearly every game. In my Junior year, we were dead equal. In my Senior, year, I defeated him in nearly every game. I had improved to the point that I distributed flyers throughout the school that I would take on all-comers @ Queen's Rook odds. I never lost a game throughout the entire Senior year and only had a single draw (with QR odds) to the person who ended up placing 2nd in the annual school chess tourney. It was around this time that I took part in a simultaneous exhibition, put on by Mr. Northwest Chess himself and my chess hero, Victors Pupols. He was playing about 50 boards, one of which blindfolded (i.e., without sight of the board) and I ended up being the only person who defeated him (I believe he drew one game and won the rest!).

In starting & raising my family, years passed before I began playing serious tourneys. It wasn't until my marriage to my wife Judy (in 1997) that I began (with her prodding and encouragement) to play in serious events on a regular basis, quickly going from "A" player to Master within a few years. My most notable accomplishment was finishing as state co-champion in 2001 (with William Schill), when I defeated none other than Victors Pupols in the final round! I hope to repeat as state champion some year but my real aspiration is simply to continue to improve the quality of my play. I look forward to playing in what is most likely the strongest Washington state championship ever! I commend your efforts.

NM Joshua Sinanan 2227

{2008} I began playing chess competitively in my sophomore year at Edmonds-Woodway High School. During this time, I learned the London system from J.P. Sarausad, who played first board for our team in the WESCO league. In my senior year, I won the 2003 Washington State High School Championship after finishing second behind Curt Collyer the year before. I am a self-taught player and have learned most of what I know by playing 3-minute chess on the Internet Chess Club. I recently finished my first season playing fourth board for the Seattle Sluggers chess team in the US Chess League.

Andy May 2144 (seed)

Andy’s brother, Todd, started playing in Cornerstone Christian Chess Club in 5th grade and Andy followed in his footsteps, also starting competitive play in 5th grade. Andy’s dad bribed him with a Chuck E. Cheese dinner to play his first tournament at Rosemont Ridge in Lake Oswego (Oregon)! When the 2nd tournament opportunity came along, Andy asked to be bribed again. Even though the answer was NO, he still wanted to play. Tony Sanchez, Andy’s first coach, was instrumental in establishing a chess foundation. After Tony “graduated” Andy, Andy has diversified by studying chess books and taking on-line lessons from a Russian Grandmaster. Andy was the 2007 Washington High School State Champion and tied for 6th place in the Denker tournament that year.

Howard Chen 2039 (seed)