Junior High Champs Heat Up
By Shaun Smith + Matan Prilleltensky   
April 17, 2011
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Safal Bora

The action is heating up at the 2011 National Junior High (K-9) Championship in Columbus, OH. The underrated Safal Bora upset Kevin Cao and Reynaldo Perez, Jr. with smashing attacks to take the sole lead in the K-9 Championship with a perfect 5-0 score.  The A player from Michigan won his last two games with the black pieces to top a star-studded field entering the final day.  Two players trail by a half-point -- NM Justus Williams and John Lodger Hughes-- and a large group of players at 4-1 are lurking in the shadows. Bora will be looking to replicate his recent success in his first game tomorrow against John Lodger Hughes.  However, with a large group of the nation’s top K-9 players in position to move up, tomorrow’s action should be exciting.



White had a chance to equalize or even get a better position with 18.Qxe7 followed by Nc6 check. However, after missing this shot Perez lost quickly due to a few inaccurate moves.

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Justus Williams

 After giving up an early draw, NM Justus Williams’ form improved as the second day went on. Here is his 5th round win versus Tian-Shun Jiang:



The team championship now sees a clear leader, but nothing is decided: IS 318k, led by NM Justus Williams, holds a 3.5 point lead over Ohio’s own Columbus Academy led by John Lodger Hughes.  If both players do their part in round 6, NM Justus Williams and John Lodger Hughes could meet in the final round to determine both the individual and team championships.
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John Lodger Hughes

 The K-8 section featured a perfect score logjam heading into Saturday’s final game: NM Joshua Colas, James Black, and Brian Li were the rating favorites in the undefeated group.  However, when the dust settled in a very competitive section, three players remained perfect--- James A. Black, Tip Wolfe, and Gavin McClanahan.  McClanahan took down the section’s top seed Joshua Colas in a tough 5th round
game.



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Colas versus McClanahan
 
James Black who is coming off his Blitz and Bughouse wins is playing some great chess and won a tough 5th round game against Matthew Fishbein.



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James Black

 The K-8 Team Championship also sees IS 318k-the NYC Chess-in-the-Schools powerhouse in the lead in the team competition.  The Brooklyn squad has a 2 point lead over a few schools including Moody MS led by 5-0 scorer Tip Wolfe.   A possible matchup between Black and Wolfe could play an important role in determining the K-8 Team winner. Also stay tuned for pairings and results at http://www.uschess.org/tournaments/2011/jhs/.