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Kesav and Agata Top North American Junior Print E-mail
July 31, 2015
IM Kesav Viswanadha with Claudia Munoz
There were six medals waiting to be claimed at the North American Junior Chess Championship in Kitchener, Canada - five of them now belong to Americans. A total of 65 chess players from both the United States and Canada met in this beautiful and picturesque town in the province of Ontario. Mexico and Bermuda did not send delegations. Nevertheless the American team composed of 27 players played to the best of their abilities against Canada on their home turf.


This category had 47 players of which 18-players were Americans. IM Kesav Viswanadha of California secured a clutch win in the final round against FM Edward Song to win the gold medal with 7.5 of 9 points.

Varun Krishnan also of California followed suit against Christopher Wu in order to clinch silver. FM Awonder Liang came in 4th place as Canadian Terry Song Guannan won the bronze.  On a different note, WCM Apurva Virkud played in the open section instead of the girls section scoring 4.5 of 9. Both the International Master title for first place and FIDE Master Title were at play for the second and third place winners of this section.


This category had 17 girls of which 9-players were Americans. The highest rated player was Canada's WIM Qiyu Zhou (2125 FIDE) but at the end of the event WFM Agata Bykovtsev of California won clear gold with 7 of 9, followed by WFM Jennifer Yu of Virginia with silver and WFM Kimberly Ding of New Jersey with bronze. Of the three games that I lost in this event, one of them was to Agata so I am have no problem posting that game here as it was an honor losing to the 2015 NAJC Champion. Agata Bykovtsev is now a Woman International Master.

Agata Bykovtsev and Megan Lee (who previously won this event) at a recent session of the US Chess School


I finished in 7th place and honestly I am happy with that result because things could have been worse for me. Let me explain. I arrived ready and prepared for this tournament, after winning the first round I felt I was on all cylinders, but at the start of the second round I faced a health issue that lasted three days. I am unaware of how I won the 3rd round, I guess sheer will power. I was only half a point from the leaders at that stage but after the 4th round I was playing at half strength.

My father asked me if I needed to withdraw but I told him that I was going to play regardless of how I was feeling, ‘I am not a quitter,' was my exact answer. I can honestly say that the pounding that I took was a character building experience, I am not joking. Yes, chess builds character! By Thursday morning I was feeling so much better but the damage was done in my hopes of reaching the medal stand. But I raised my head up high and I smiled as I applauded every winner during the award's ceremony. I can honestly say there will be other opportunities for medal glory and that is the beauty of chess - we get to do it all over again in the next tournament. In one year I will be going to college and I will always remember these moments - what a blessing!


I'd like to take a moment to recognize the effort invested by the organizers and tournament directors. We, the American delegation, thank you for your warm hospitality as this event was well-run. We hope to see you soon again!



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