Vela, IS 318, Adelberg and Lee on Top at the Junior High Nationals
By Shaun Smith   
April 13, 2010
Nathan Lee
The final day of this year's JH Nationals brought tough individual pairings and competitive team standings.  As the players battled in round 6 and 7, coaches and parents could be seen in the Skittles room calculating what place their team might get if their students could pull out big wins in the tournament's  "Championship Rounds."  

The K-8 Championship section saw very tough round six match-ups, as Alexis Paredes of IS 318k played John Hughes from Lodger Middle School from Ohio, and Nathan Lee from Seattle played Justus Williams of IS 318k.  Since IS 318k had an over 4 point team lead in this section the concern went from winning the team title to winning an individual title as well.  In the first game, Paredes and Hughes played to a tough draw and Nathan Lee outplayed Justus Williams to move to 6-0.  Paredes and Hughes were kind enough to share their game with CLO:

Alexis Paredes vs. John Hughes

Moving into the seventh round three players still had a shot at winning the K-8 Championship individual title - Nathan Lee, John Hughes, and Alexis Paredes.   Several scenarios could have created a shared title.

However, Nathan Lee (cousin of Megan and Michael Lee) bested John Hughes in the final round to move to 7-0 and win the title clear. 


K-8 Championship Winners:

1st Place: Nathan Lee, 7-0, Issaquah Middle School (Washington)
2nd Place: Alexis Paredes, 6-1, IS 318k (New York)
3rd Place: Eldon Nakagawa, 6-1, Our Savior Lutheran School (Hawaii)
Eldon Nakagawa

4th Place: Derek Sachs, 6-1, Seymour Middle School (Wisconsin)
IS 318's K-8 Championship team

First Place Team: IS 318k (New York), 22 points
Second Place Team: Columbus Academy (Ohio), 18.5 points
Third Place Team: Ames Middle School (Iowa), 16.5 points 

IM Greg Shahade analyzing with IS 318 students
In the K-9 Championship Section, National Master David Adelberg from Scottsdale, AZ led with a perfect 5-0 score going into the final day.  Adelberg was followed closely by a group of players with 4.5-.5.  In round six Adelberg was paired with Michael Wang from Odle Middle School from Washington.  In a very sharp opening, both players played accurately and the game ended in a hard fought draw.  This draw allowed several players to catch up to Adelberg going into the last round.


Going into the final game, six players had a chance to win the K-9 Championship individual title and several teams were within a point of each other to win the K-9 teams.  Board one saw a quick draw between Zaroug Jaleel of Lexington HS and David Adelberg, putting them safely into a tie for first place with two games to go to see who else would join them as National Co-Champions.  On board two, Kevin Bu from Eden Prairie, MN played Jacob Fauman from Newton, MA.  Board three paired Michael Omori from Seattle, WA with Michael Wang from Bellevue, WA. 
Since these players needed a win to move in to a tie for first place, the games were full of excitement and no player was ever considering a draw.  A late error on board two by Fauman in the Bu-Fauman game as both players were low on time allowed Kevin Bu to win a piece and ultimately the game.  On board three, Michael Omori converted a winning middlegame position to move into a four-way tie for first place.



Both games are missing the last few moves because both players went under five minutes in each game. 

In the end, NM David Adelberg from Scottsdale, AZ took the (correction from earlier version) 1st place trophy on tiebreak and shares the title of National K-9 co-champ with Kevin Bu, Michael Omori and Zaroug A. Jaleel.

The K-9 Championship team standings were extremely close going into the final game.  IS 318k went in to the last round with a one point lead over Vela Middle School from Brownsville, TX and a 1.5 point lead over Odle Middle School from Bellevue, WA. In the end, Vela Middle school took first place by scoring 2.5 points in the last round.   IS 318k led the section throughout the tournament by essentially using their school's "B" team.  In the last round they fell short as they failed to convert several important final round games, including James A. Black versus Lillia Poteat, from Columbia Grammar, NY and Myles Foster's last round game versus James Ukoli from Vela Middle School.


If IS 318k had scored a win in either of these or several other of their last round games, they would have pulled off a historic feat- winning both the K-8 and K-9 Championships.  Does anyone know if that has ever been accomplished?   

With that said, my congratulations go out to the players and coaches from Vela Middle School who played an amazing last round.  In an incredible scene, their top four players were all sitting next to each other in the last round, and won two head-to-head games versus IS 318k to secure the title.

Vela students in yellow in the last round

K-9 Championship Winners:
1st Place: David Adelberg, 6-1, Mountainside Middle School (Arizona)
David Adelberg

2nd Place: Kevin Bu, 6-1, Central Middle School (Minnesota)
3rd Place: Zaroug Jaleel, 6-1, Lexington High School (Massachusetts)
4th Place: Michael Omori, 6-1, Lakeside School (Washington)
5th Place: Megan Lee, 5.5-1.5, Odle Middle School (Washington)
6th Place: Michael Chiang, 5.5.5-1.5, Horace Mann (New York)
7th Place: Andrew Freix, 5.5-1.5, Thomas Jefferson High School (Virginia)
8th Place: Kevin Chandra, 5.5-1.5, Clark High School (Texas) 

First Place Team: Vela Middle School (Texas), 18.5 points
Second Place Team: Odle Middle School (Washington), 18 points
Third Place Team: IS 318k (New York), 17.5 points 
IS 318's K-9 team

K-9 U1250
1st Place: Sethroy Kaplan-Turner, 7-0, Minneapolis Jewish Day School (Minnesota)
First Place Team: Rockway Middle School (Florida), 18.5 points
Second Place Team: MS 15x (New York), 18.5 points
Third Place Team: IS 318k (New York), 17.5 points

K-8 U1000
1st Place: Rory Li, 6.5-.5, Kellogg Middle School (Minnesota)
First Place Team: Capitol Hill MS (Minnesota), 19 points
Second Place Team: Parkside JH (Illinois), 18.5 points
Third Place Team: Rockway Middle School (Florida), 18 points

K-8 U750
1st Place: Kevin Xiong, 7-0, Metcalf (Minnesota)
First Place Team: Metcalf (Minnesota), 23 points
Second Place Team: Seward Montessori (Minnesota), 20.5 points
Third Place Team: Rockway Middle School (Florida), 19.5 points 

K-9 Unrated
1st Place: Jonathan Coffin, 6.5-.5, Monticello MS (Minnesota)
2nd Place: Jake Camacho, 6.5-.5, Andover HS (Minnesota)

First Place Team: Washington Parks Academy (Michigan), 21.5 points
Second Place Team: Nellie Stone Johnson (Minnesota), 20 points
Third Place Team: John Glenn Middle School (Minnesota), 18 points

Access complete standings and results here
, and the MSA USCF rated results report here. Also look for reports on the National High School Championships and All-Girls Nationals next weekend , in Columbus, Ohio.

Photo Gallery
Linda Diaz from Columbia Grammar 

Albert Peraza from MS 118

Jehron Bryant

Chess-in-the-Schools team MS 118

Derek Sachs

Nathan Lee

Lilia Poteat vs. James Black

Pobo Efekoro

PS 279 from Chess-in-the-Schools