Inaugural Greater California Scholastic

by Jerry Yee

193 kids participated in Glendale, California on the weekend of August 15-16 in the Inaugural 2015 Greater California Scholastic Championships. The event was sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and organized by two of Southern California’s most prominent and successful chess education programs, Beyond Chess and the American Chess Academy (ACA). Beyond Chess and ACA have enjoyed the most competitive scholastic chess rivalry in the area for several years now, dominating at California’s annual Super States event every year.  FB_IMG_1440187140389_resized

In March, it was Beyond Chess co-founder IM Sarah Lu who approached ACA’s Armen Ambartsoumian and Jerry Yee about teaming up and organizing a big summer youth event. The three agreed there was a void in the summer the last few years and that it was worth considering. Soon after their meeting, Ambartsoumian contacted KCF President Michael Khodarkovsky about sponsoring the inaugural event. It would be the first west coast scholastic event sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation.

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Trophies for the winners

The event was the result of several months of planning with concerns about the event possibly conflicting with the vacations of many local chess families in the month of August. The two day event’s good turnout put those concerns to rest and further illustrated that scholastic chess in the Southern California area continues to thrive, even in the summer!

The venue was Glendale’s iconic Maple Park Community Center, a beautiful modern two story building with a basketball gym that can accommodate up to 275 chess players if needed. There is also a spacious cafeteria for families to enjoy their lunch. The building is surrounded by playgrounds and grass fields, an ideal setting for a scholastic chess tournament. ACA has been organizing chess tournaments at Maple Park since 2011.

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Armen Ambartsoumian with Jennifer Lee, winner of K-6 u900
A challenge for this event was having more than one time control so that it could also accommodate higher rated players who prefer more time on their clocks. The solution? The two K-12 sections had 6 rounds with a time control of game in 60 and the three JV sections had 5 rounds with a time control of game in 30 in a double Swiss format. This allowed for the tournament and award ceremony to conclude after 5 rounds for the three JV sections just before the start of round 6 for the two K-12 sections. The plan looked good on paper at least…

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Jerry Lee and Armen Ambartsoumian with Spencer Morgan K-3 u600

The event ran smoothly in Day 1, but experienced two unforeseen power outages due to a local electrical transformer exploding in the neighborhood on a very warm Day 2. In the middle of the second power outage, the JV final standings were calculated manually and the JV award ceremony took place in the basketball gym’s sweltering heat in what felt like sauna like conditions at 230pm in the afternoon. The second outage lasted for most of the final 3 hours of the event. When power and air conditioning was finally restored around 5pm, round 6 was concluding. It was time for the K-12 award ceremony to begin as things concluded in a festive, happier atmosphere and a much cooler gymnasium!

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Armen with Vendant Shahk, winner K-12 u1500

The event’s chief TD was yours truly and even with my extensive experience, many thanks have to go to WGM Tatev Abrahamyan and IM Sarah Lu for their efforts in dealing with the manual calculation of pairings and standings during the power outages. Special thanks also go out to KCF President Michael Khodarkovsky for approving the sponsorship of this event. The Kasparov Chess Foundation’s continuing support of scholastic events like this throughout the country help give children in the U.S. the opportunity to compete in chess tournaments with larger turnouts.

While there may have been some bumps along the way, it was still a great and very memorable summer weekend of competitive scholastic chess in Los Angeles and the organizers are already looking forward to this event again in the summer of 2016!

Kasparov Chess Foundation Announces Inaugural 2015 Greater California Scholastic Championships

New York, NY, Aug. 5, 2015 — Kasparov Chess Foundation is proud to announce the first Greater California Scholastic Championships, to take place on Aug. 15 – 16, 2015, at the Maple Park Community Center, 800 E. Maple Street, Glendale, CA.  The Greater California event joins KCF’s Regional Scholastic Championship Series, including Greater Chicago, Greater Mid-Atlantic, and Greater New York tournaments.

The Foundation is sponsoring its first West Coast tournament in association with American Chess Academy and Beyond Chess.  The Greater California Scholastic Championships welcomes students from K – 12 grades, in public, private, and home school.  The tournament is broken up into two sections, as follows:

K – 12 Section: 6 Rounds, G/60

Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015: 10am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm

Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015: 10am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm, 5:15pm (Trophy Ceremony)

JV Section: 5 Double Rounds, G/30

Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015: 10am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm

Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015: 10am, 12:30pm, 3:00pm (Trophy Ceremony)

Fee:  $60 by Aug. 5th, $75 thereafter.  Make checks payable to American Chess Academy, and mail to “ACA” 411 N. Jackson St., Apt. 101, Glendale, CA 91206.

Contact: Armen americanchessacademy@gmail.com; email: artmik@charter.net; Phone: (818) 640-5974.

Prizes: 60 Trophies will be handed out, along with a $2,000 gift card prize fund.

Flier:  To view our flier, please click on this link – http://bit.ly/1W27Aaq

About Kasparov Chess Foundation

Founded by World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children worldwide by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs. The Foundation promotes the study of chess as a cognitive learning tool in curricular classes and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high schools, both in the public and private school sectors. The not-for-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions on a local and national basis. For more information, please visit http://www.kasparovchessfoundation.org.

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KCF Africa qualifiers for Las Vegas

The third and final KCF Africa sponsored Millionaire Chess satellite tournament concluded in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday 20th July. The series of African satellite tournaments came about as a result of a unique collaboration between the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa and Millionaire Chess and has had a massive impact as a development initiative on the African continent.

More than 500 players from 14 separate African federations participated between the 3 tournaments that made up the series. The winners of each leg qualified for the main event which will take place in Las Vegas from 12 of October 2015!

1st Satellite Tournament – Nairobi, Kenya

It all started at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya where the inaugural event was comfortably won by FM Harold Wanyama from Uganda!

Harold recorded an impressive total of 7.5 / 8 and eventually ended a full 1.5 points clear of the field. Lawrence Kagambi, Mowlid Ahmed, Joseph Atwoli and Kenneth Omolo all tied for second but a long way back on 6 / 8.

The Nairobi tournament saw nearly 200 players participating across the various events which included a junior section and an open section played in parallel with the main event.

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Amy Lee of Millionaire Chess (centre) attended this event and is flanked here by Githinji Hinga (Chairman of Chess Kenya), Graham Jurgensen (Executive Director of Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa), Satish Deshpande (Tournament Director), and FM Harold Wanyama (Overall Winner) in the press conference post the event. Photo by Kim Bhari

2nd Satellite Tournament – Lagos, Nigeria

The second event was held in Lagos, Nigeria and this produced the first playoff in the series.

No one would have picked unrated Oluwadurotimi Lapite as one of the pre-tournament favourites but he played the event of his life to force a play-off with experience IM Bunmi Olape.

The first playoff game was drawn, but the second was decided when Lapite was flagged in an otherwise equal position. This handed his opponent the hard earned trip to Las Vegas.

The Lagos tournament saw almost 150 players participating across the various events and also earned first ratings for no less than 19 previously unrated players.

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IA Obinna Ogbonnaya laying down the rules before the Lagos playoffs between Oluwadurotimi Lapite and eventual winner IM Bunmi Olape

3rd Satellite Tournament – Johannesburg, South Africa

The third satellite event produced a sensational 3 way play-off which was ultimately won by IM Providence Oatlhotse from Botswana. Providence overcame IM Johannes Mabusela (South Africa) and IM Chitumbo Mwali (Zambia) in a tense play-off which required both rapid and then blitz matches to break the tie.

The South African tournament was held at Monte Casino which is part of the Tsogo Sun Group and the high class venue produced a fitting finale to a highly successful series. The full series was a truly African affair and ultimately had players from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia participating in at least one of the events.

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The playing facilities at Monte Casino in Johannesburg were excellent and were complimented by all participants. Photos by Reint Dykema

The South African event also recorded a major milestone for African chess when the top 27 boards were carried live on Chess24.com. This gave many of the participants their first opportunity to play with DGT electronic boards streaming the games live and this experience will no doubt stand them in good stead for future international events.

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Action was followed by over 3500 unique viewers at https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/tsogo-sun-2015

The eyes of the African continent will now no doubt be on the three champions in October as they take on the likes of GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Fabiano Curuana and GM Wesley So in Las Vegas.

With more than $40,000 on offer for rating category winners in the main event, the three victors have earned themselves a shot at a major pay-day if they play well in the main tournament. We wish them all the best of luck and will be following with interest.

Final standings for all 3 events:

Kenya: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr171512.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=8&turdet=YES&flag=30&wi=984

Nigeria: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr176975.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821

South Africa: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr179449.aspx?lan=1&art=1&rd=9&wi=821

Games from all 3 events

South Africa: http://www.chess-results.com/PartieSuche.aspx?lan=1&id=50023&tnr=179449&art=3

Nigeria: http://ratings.fide.com/view_games.phtml?event=116380

Kenya: http://www.chess-results.com/PartieSuche.aspx?lan=1&id=50023&tnr=171512&art=3

Videos from all 3 events

Nigeria: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTzz8zIg4Iw

Kenya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGnAwyE3ImE

South Africa: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Tsogo+Sun+Millionaire+Chess+

About the author:

Graham Jurgensen is the Executive Director of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant by profession and held senior financial positions in South Africa before joining the Kasparov Chess Foundation in a full time capacity in June 2014.

He is a Candidate Master level player and an FIDE International Organiser who currently works with numerous African chess federations, helping them run and manage their major local events. He is actively driving the rollout of the MiniChess program in Africa and also assisting national chess federations to embed business models which help them generate sustainable income from their local chess activities.

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FM Harold Wanyama (UGA) IM Olape Bunmi (NIG) IM Providence Oatlhotse (BOT) – our representatives in Las Vegas!

Ashritha Eswaran Pan-American u20 Champion

 

By Dejan Bojkov – grandmaster and coach of Ashritha Eswaran

During the Pan American Championships last year in Paraguay we met a lot of nice people and one of them invited us to come to the next edition in El Salvador. Alvaro tempted us with a lot of things. I am sure Ashritha liked the idea of a WIM title and WGM norm. I, on the other had was thinking about the amazing seafood and the coffee in El Salvador…

Jokes aside, on 13. July we flew to El Salvador, where the capital city San Salvador was hosting the Pan American championships for boys and girls U20. The tournament began on 16. July and thus we had some time to fill holes in Ashritha’s opening repertoire and to do a little bit of tourism.

After the successful US-Championship at the end of June Ashritha started the event as rating favorite. I was a bit worried about her new status as I feel it is psychologically easier not having to defend the top spot.

The tournament, however, turned out to be quite a success. After winning in round one, Ashritha played badly in game two, but survived. She then won four games in a row and emerged as clear leader.

Practically, she could have secured victory two rounds before the end of the tournament had she not blown her enormous advantage against Danitza Maccarini Vazquez in round seven. But Ashritha got infected by her opponent’s time trouble, played too fast and spoiled her position. But in the last two rounds Ashritha scored 1.5/2 and still won the title.

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Ashritha and Danitza after the prize giving ceremony

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Danitza Maccarini Vazquez made 7.0/9 and deservedly won silver. The bronze medal went to Miriam Parkhurst from Mexico.

Final Standings

Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts.
1 Eswaran Ashritha USA 2095 7.5
2 WIM Vazquez Maccarini Danitza PUR 1948 7.0
3 WFM Parkhurst Casas Miriam MEX 1869 6.0
4 Librelato Kathie Goulart BRA 1842 6.0
5 WFM Gutierrez Espinosa Karen CUB 2078 5.5
6 WIM Granados Diaz Maria Esther NCA 1838 5.5
7 Herrera Marjorie ESA 1555 5.5
8 WIM Jorquera Cabello Valentina CHI 2005 5.0
9 WCM Garcia Alcira ESA 1725 5.0
10 WCM De Leon Stephanie ESA 1654 5.0
11 WCM Ortez Andrea ESA 1671 5.0
12 Cosme Contreras Trilce PER 1755 4.5
13 Ramirez Gonzalez Maria Jose CRC 1736 4.5
14 Castro Venus Sabrina ESA 1556 4.5
15 Cruz Lima Kimberly Esmeralda GUA 1718 4.0
16 Guardado Flores Diana Beatriz ESA 1683 4.0
17 Natareno Elvia GUA 1675 4.0
18 Palacios Celina ESA 1617 4.0
19 Santos Judith ESA 1550 4.0
20 Villalobos Alejandra ESA 1622 3.5
21 Garcia Angie ESA 0 3.0
22 Canas Belen Alexandra ESA 0 2.0
23 Palencia Berenice ESA 0 2.0
24 Martinez Hazel Rebeca ESA 0 1.0

In the boys’ section two young gentlemen dominated the field but in the end Kevin Cori Quispe had a better tie-break than Andrew Tang of the USA and won gold for Peru. Thanks to Brian Sebas Escalante the bronze medal also went to Peru.

Ashritha’s last three tournaments were a real success for us. She first won the USA G20 title, then shared 1. place at the Pan Am G18 in Colombia, and now became clear first at the Pan Am in El Salvador becoming a WIM and making a WGM norm on the way.

After these tournaments Ashritha’s FIDE rating is close to the 2200 mark and we do not intend to stop. But we know we need to work harder if we want to succeed.

Last, but not least: the coffee was indeed fantastic, and the sea-food…I am not sure if there is an appropriate word to describe it.

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Coach Dejan Bojkov, Ashrita and her mom in an archaeological site

 

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Doing some souvenir shopping!

You can read the entire article, see more pictures at the website www.chessbase.com

 

Guam International Open 2015

by Peter Long

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The Guam International Open Chess Championship was held at the Guam Reef Hotel from 17-23 July 2015 and was made possible primarily due to sponsorship from the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific and Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. from the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

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Given the distance of the largest Island in Micronesia in the Pacific it was understandably difficult for many foreign participants to make their way to Guam but this year there were for the first time ever, also two grandmasters, top seeded many times Zonal champion Laylo Darwin together with the legendary first Asian grandmaster Eugene Torre, whose list of honors read like a history book!

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In the Guam International Open 2015 there were twenty three players from six countries contesting for the top prizes, but it was no surprise that Torre and Laylo simply ran away with the event, only dropping half a point in their personal encounter and already the winners with two rounds to go.

The records will show however it was the Torre over Laylo through the tie-breaks, and that in third place, one and a half points behind, was Guam’s own Enofre Efren D Manuel who only lost to the two grandmasters.

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For the officials from Guam Chess, it was also a golden opportunity to learn and draw from the vast experience of ASEAN Chess Confederation President Ignatius Leong especially in relation to operation and expansion of the Guam Chess Learning Centre – the brainchild of former Guam Chess President Leon Ryan – that was set up last year in partnership with the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific.

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GM Eugenio Torre giving a simultaneous exhibition

Final Top results:

Rk. Name FED Rtg Pts.
1 GM Torre Eugenio PHI 2458 8.5
2 GM Laylo Darwin PHI 2480 8.5
3 Manuel Enofre Efren D. GUM 1940 7.0
4 Mafnas Peter GUM 0 6.0
5 FM Leong Ignatius SIN 1948 5.0
6 Szekely Olga GUM 0 5.0
7 Cabunagan Tito PLW 1817 4.5
8 McFarland Malcolm GUM 0 4.5
9 Soriano Rudolph P. GUM 1807 4.5
10 Szekely Zoltan GUM 0 4.5

You can read more about the tournament, including many more pictures, at our sister website www.chessasiapacific.com or directly at the tournament report.

Asia Pacific launches new website

The Kasparov Chess Foundation – Asia Pacific, headed by KCFAP President Ignatius Leong, has launched a new website! Their content director is Peter Long. Check out the new website here:

www.chessasiapacific.com

Chandra tops U.S. Junior

In what seems to be a never-ending string of successes for the members of the Young Stars program, co-sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Akshat Chandra and Jeffery Xiong have taken the 1st and 2nd spots at the U.S. Junior Invitational tournament.

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The winner! IM Akshat Chandra.

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Young Star member Awonder Liang had an explosive start.

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The founder of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Rex Sinquefield, playing against a future talent. The future talent won.

The tournament was hard fought, and brought together the top u20 players around the country to battle it out for the title. The race for first place was tight, and it came down to decisive results in the last round. Jeffery Xiong, who was trailing Chandra before the 9th bout, won his game against Curran Han. Meanwhile, Akshat Chandra faced, with black, against another Young Star talent: Awonder Liang. As GM McKenzie Molner reports from the official website, www.uschesschamps.com:

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Chief Arbiter Tony Rich

“After the first three rounds of the tournament these two players were the leaders, and it was presumed that this 9th round matchup could potentially decide the tournament’s results. It turned out that this was true but not the way Awonder would have wanted it. In his last five games, Awonder was only able to score one point, compared to Akshat Chandra who was still leading the tournament. A round nine win for Akshat would guarantee him first place, $6,000 and a seat in the next U.S. Chess Championship. With the Black pieces for round nine, it would prove to be no easy task.

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Yian Liou vs. Awonder Liang

Chandra’s form took a dip in the middle of the tournament, but he peaked in the last couple rounds and was playing his best chess of the tournament. He reacted to Awonder’s 1.e4 in his typical fashion, playing the Taimanov Sicilian. The game was a relatively quiet Sicilian, devoid of the tactical opportunities that usually characterize this particular opening. Awonder held slight pressure throughout the opening and early middlegame, but it never led to more than mild discomfort for Chandra. Chandra slowly gained control of the game.”

After a couple of mutual mistakes, Akshat became the winner of the event, and the second person qualified for the U.S. Championship of 2016… GM Hikaru Nakamura, America’s #1 player, is the only other player that already qualified for this event! Not only that, Akshat took home $6,000 for his efforts.

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There is no rest for these players, however. Chandra looks forward to completing the requirements for the GM title by staying in Saint Louis and playing the GM Norm Invitational. Jeffery Xiong is also participating in this event… he even got a mild amount of revenge on his Young Star colleague, in the GM Norm invitational Jeffery beat Akshat!

Final Standings:

Rank Name Score Rating
1 IM Chandra, Akshat 6.0 2589
2 IM Xiong, Jeffery 5.5 2621
3 FM Shen, Arthur 5.0 2505
4 FM Li, Ruifeng 4.5 2488
5 FM Bodek, Michael H 4.0 2528
6 IM Liou, Yian 4.0 2501
7 IM Harmon-Vellotti, Luke 3.5 2545
8 FM Liang, Awonder 3.5 2483
9 Brattain, Mika A 2.5 2452
10 Han, Curran R 1.5 2211

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Another wonderfully run tournament by the STLCC!

Press around the World has picked up on the story, you can find it on the main page of www.chessbase.com, one of the leading news sites of the chess world.

All Photos by Austin Fuller

U.S. Junior Championship underway

The 2015 U.S. Junior Chess Championship is currently underway in Saint Louis, Missouri. The host of the event is the Saint Louis Chess Club, co-sponsor with the Kasparov Chess Foundation of the Young Stars program. The tournament is an invitation-only round robin event to determine the best u20 player in the United States. Players are invited by rating, with one qualifier from the U.S. Junior Open.

The field’s #1 seed is Jeffery Xiong, GM-elect from Texas. With a massive 2601 rating he is the favorite to win the event, but he is not the only member of the Young Stars chess program participating in the event, and thus has some serious competition!

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The favorite: IM Jeffery Xiong

The prize fund for the event is quite high for a junior tournament, but the winner will not only get the $6,000 first prize, he will also automatically qualify to one of the most prestigious events of 2016: The U.S. Chess Championship.

The prizes:

Place Prize Place Prize
1st $6,000 6th $1,200
2nd $4,000 7th $1,000
3rd $3,000 8th $800
4th $2,000 9th $600
5th $1,500 10th $500
Total Prize Fund: $20,600

The field:

  1. IM Jeffery Xiong (2606)
  2. IM Akshat Chandra (2589)
  3. FM Michael Bodek (2527)
  4. IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti (2526)
  5. FM Ruifeng Li (2502)
  6. IM Yian Liou (2501)
  7. FM Arthur Shen (2477)
  8. NM Mika Brattain (2457)
  9. FM Awonder Liang (2428)
  10. NM Curran Han (2211)

After three rounds in Saint Louis the tournament is being led by two of the Young Stars who had a training session with Garry Kasparov only a couple of weeks ago: IM Akshat Chandra and FM Awonder Liang.

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Awonder Liang…

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…and Akshat Chandra are leading

The current standings are:

Rank Name Score Rating 1 2 3
1 IM Chandra, Akshat 2.5 2589 1 1 ½
2 FM Liang, Awonder 2.5 2483 1 ½ 1
3 IM Xiong, Jeffery 2.0 2621 ½ ½ 1
4 IM Liou, Yian 2.0 2501 1 ½ ½
5 Brattain, Mika A 1.5 2452 ½ ½ ½
6 IM Harmon-Vellotti, Luke 1.0 2545 0 ½ ½
7 FM Bodek, Michael H 1.0 2528 ½ ½ 0
8 FM Shen, Arthur 1.0 2505 0 1 0
9 FM Li, Ruifeng 1.0 2488 ½ 0 ½
10 Han, Curran R 0.5 2211 0 0 ½

The tournament is being broadcast at www.uschesschamps.com

Follow this exciting event with live commentary by GM Ben Finegold and FM Aviv Friedman!

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Aviv Friedman and Ben Finegold during commentary

Photos by the Saint Louis Chess Club, taking from the official website

Success in Pan-American Youth

More success for members of the Young Stars program, as well as for youth U.S. Chess overall! This time many medals were achieved in the Pan-American Youth Festival, which was held in the city of Cali, Colombia.

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The playing hall in Cali

The event gathers the strongest players from each country in the Americas, representing them in 12 categories: u8, u10, u12, u14, u16 and u18 in both open and girl’s sections. Despite some minor complaints about organization overall, some dubious officiating, and relatively poor playing conditions (the sports arena where the tournament was held would sometimes reach above 90 degrees!), the players and coaches from the U.S. gave a generally positive feedback of the tournament.

The results from the U.S. team were outstanding: a fabulous ten medals:

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Fresh of winning the Girl’s Invitational u20 in Tulsa, Young Stars members Ashritha Eswaran conquered a bronze medal in Cali for the u18 Pan-American. She tied for first, but the mathematical tiebreak system put her on third.

Ariah Leib Shlionsky Under 8 Open (gold)
Maya Behura in the Under 8 Girls (gold)
Aksithi Eswaran in the Under 10 Girls (gold)
Sanjana Vittal in the Under 12 Girls (gold)
Marcus M Miyasaka in the Under 14 Open (gold)
Anh Nguyen in the Under 10 Girls (silver)
Atreya Vaidya  in the Under 10 Open (silver)
Agata Bykovtsev in the Girls Under 16 (silver)
Zhao Chenyi in the Girls Under 12 (bronze)
Ashritha Eswaran in the Girls Under 18 (bronze)

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Aksithi Eswaran is following well on her sister’s footsteps! She was ruthless in Colombia, scoring a perfect 9.0/9.

 

The coaching staff was comprised of FST Armen Abartsoumian, KCF President and Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky, and the head of delegation Aviv Friedman. Also helping the U.S. Team was GM Dejan Bojkov, who went as the coach of the Eswaran sisters and Chenyi Zhao.

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Aksithi Eswaran, Dejan Bojkov, Ashritha Eswaran and Chenyi Zhao, who also got bronze.

You can read the impressions from Cali by the head of delegation, Aviv Friedman, on www.uschess.org

Also Dejan Bojkov has done an extensive photo-report on the chess news portal, www.chesssbase.com

Photos by Aleksey Pershin

Ashritha Eswaran is Girls u20 U.S. Champion

Yet another victory for a member of the Young Stars program, sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation. This time it was Ashritha Eswaran’s turn to shine, as she won the U.S. Junior Girls Invitational in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with an outstanding score of 6.5/9.

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Ahsritha Eswaran hard at work in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by Ruth Haring.

The tournament brought together some of the strongest female players in the nation under the age of 20. The ten-player Round Robin was quite strong, with an average rating of well over 2200; included among them were U.S. Women’s Championship participants Apurva Virkud, Annie Wang, Jennifer Yu and Sarah Chiang. The tournament was sponsored by Frank and Jim Berry.

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The 10 players for this year’s Junior Girls Invitational. Ahsritha was the lowest ranked, but emerged with the win!

Despite being a tournament for players under 20, Ahsritha emerged victorious at the young age of 14! From San Jose, California, Ashritha is no stranger to top level competition. She has participated in several World Youth championships as well as the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship.

The first-ever Congressional Chess Match at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Invision for Invision for Saint Louis Chess Club/AP Images)

The first-ever Congressional Chess Match at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Invision for Invision for Saint Louis Chess Club/AP Images). Ashritha is here with Young Star teammates Jeffery Xiong, Kayden Troff, Samuel Sevian and, of course, Garry Kasparov.

Ashritha started with a loss in Tulsa, but she recovered tremendously. In the last four rounds she obtained 3.5/4 points, good enough to win the event by a full point over the competition. Maggie Feng played Ashritha in the last round, and a draw was good enough for Ashritha to clinch the tournament. Things started to look bad for her, but, according to her coach, GM Dejan Bojkov, she cleverly swindled her opponent and even took the full point for herself.

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Ashritha with organizer Frank Berry receiving her 1st place prize

There is no time to rest for Ashritha, however, as she travels to Cali, Colombia straight from Tulsa. She will be representing the United States in the Panamerican Under 18 Girl’s Championship, again playing above her age group. We wish her the best of luck and we hope to be reporting on her success in Colombia soon. She is off to a good start with 2.0/2!

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A final dinner for the players to unwind and say good bye to each other

The final standings of the tournament:

Rk. Name Rtg Pts.
1 Eswaran Ashritha 2143 6.5
2 WIM Wang Annie 2264 5.5
3 WCM Feng Maggie 2209 5.0
4 WFM Chiang Sarah 2282 4.5
5 WFM Bykovtsev Agata 2143 4.5
6 WIM Liao Simone 2203 4.5
7 WCM Virkud Apurva 2233 4.0
8 Yip Carissa 2257 4.0
9 WFM Yu Jennifer 2285 4.0
10 WFM Regam Jessica 2159 2.5

You can find more information at chess-results.com

All photos by Dejan Bojkov unless specified