National Junior High Champs Kick Off with Blitz and Bug
By Shaun Smith & Matan Prilleltensky   
April 15, 2011
Danny Feng and James Black
Over 1000 players are registered for the 2011 National Junior High (K-9) Championship in sunny Columbus, OH. Players and coaches are pleased to be back at a popular venue, which enables the majority of players to contest their games in one room. The balcony area is a welcome perk, allowing parents and coaches to follow the action without disturbing the competitors.

The first day saw the eagerly anticipated side events: Blitz and Bughouse. Though traditionally considered previews of the showpiece, these competitions are hard fought in their own right. The bughouse event attracted 38 teams, with James Black and Danny Feng, from Brooklyn powerhouse IS318k, topping the field. The team appeared in crisis when one member accepted an early draw offer in the fourth round, to the deep consternation of his teammate. However, all was forgiven when “Black Feng” soared to 11.5/12, a full point ahead of their nearest competitors. 318k students have a history of dominance in the bughouse event: Look out for an upcoming instructional monograph (end of term project!) on this variant from WFM Elizabeth Vicary’s 8th grade class. Second was taken by David Kim and Randy Rivera, 8th graders from the same school.

The Blitz tournament drew many of the heaviest hitters here to play the main event. At the end of a long day, James Black replicated his earlier success, topping his rivals with a staggering 11/12, again (!) a full point clear of his closest pursuers. 
Among them were NM Justus Williams, NM Sean Vibbert, NM Joshua Colas, Danny Feng (James’ bughouse teammate!), Joel Ogunremi, and last year’s K-9 Blitz winner, Eldon Nakagawa. IS 318k completed an impressive double, outdistancing the second place team by a full 9 points.

The main event kicks off on Friday: Follow results on the official page and look for a midway CLO update as the leaders begin jostling for position. If today’s results set the tone, IS318k may like their chances of bringing hardware back to Brooklyn. Vela Middle School from Texas and Columbus Academy, OH (led by John Lodger Hughes) also figure to be in the mix.