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|Brown & Williams Top Cadets|
|By Michael Regan|
|July 25, 2013|
Tension was high going into the seventh and final round of the 2013 US Cadet Championship. With only one point separating the field, either one, two, three, four, or eight players could finish in first place. In the end, only two players tied. Co-champions were Justus Williams (NY) and Michael Brown (CA) with 4-1/2 points each. Justus won the single-game playoff to determine the winner of the four-year scholarship to UMBC. Ruifeng Li (TX) and Varun Krishnam (CA) finished in third and fourth place, respectively.
Justus and Michael followed similar paths of starting out slow and finishing strong. Justus lost to Michael in the first round, drew his next three games and closed out the tournament with three straight wins. Meanwhile, after beating Justus in the first round, Michael lost to Ruifeng in the second round, drew three games, and then won his last two. This is the second time that Michael and Justus have tied for a national title. They were also co-champions in the 2011 Barber K-8 Championship.
In the last round, Michael Brown played David Hua (NJ). Michael was the only one of the four +1 players to have black in the last round, but he played a very nice ending.
A one-game playoff determined the winner of the four-year scholarship to UMBC. Each player bid for choice of color and draw odds starting from Game 25 with a 3-second increment. Michael bid 19'02" and thus had white with draw odds, while Justus had 25 minutes. In the end the time advantage was too much for Michael and Justus won.
The tournament was hosted by the Maryland Chess Association which also awarded free entry to the Washington International to the top three finishers. All games were broadcast live, and there was live video of the players during the rounds. Links to all the games in PGN format and more pictures are at http://uscadet.mdchess.com.