Becerra is Champion of Champions Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade and Duncan Oxley   
March 13, 2007
Photo Clint Ballard

The final leg of the 2007 Champion of Champions event was held on the Internet Chess Club, March.10 in collaboration with the US Chess Federation. The match featured Florida State Champion GM Julio Becerra and NM Xiao Cheng of Georgia. Getting to the finals was a harrowing road. Julio and Xiao first had to win their state championships, then "zonal" double round robin blitz tournaments held on the ICC, and finally semi-final face-offs. In the semis, Xiao Cheng prevailed over Miles Ardaman from North Carolina 2-0 while Julio also sweeped Keaton Kiewra from Nebraska. Julio's first round game against Keaton was wild:


The game was chaotic... but it seems like Black's material edge should have prevailed at some point. Indeed, can you see the win that Keaton missed on move 30? (Scroll down for solution.)

Black to Move and Win

Keaton missed the win and Julio won a long endgame.


Cheng played beautifully in game one of his match against Becerra, achieving a draw.


Becerra then ground Cheng down in the second game to secure the match win 1.5-.5.

With this win, GM Julio Becerra earned a spot in the 2007 Frank K. Berry US Championship.

All games of the Semi-Finals and Final had USCF TD’s onsite and were played in chess clubs and chess centers such as the US Chess Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Chess center and Miami International Chess Academy.

Information on the Champion of Champion's event on ICC.

Solution to Becerra-Kiewra: 30...Rxc5!