New Champs Crowned in Orlando: Vilenchuk, Brown & Williams, Gologorsky
August 3, 2011
Michael Vilenchuk & Harold Winston of the US Chess Trust, Photo Melinda Matthews
17-year-old Michael Vilenchuk of Ohio convincingly won the Denker tournament of high school champions in Orlando with 5.5/6. In addition to the prestigious title, Michael earned himself a scholarship to University of Texas at Dallas, an important incentive to the incoming senior. Michael told CLO that he felt winning his second game of the event against Nicholas Karas of California was a key moment in the event: "It brings confidence to get off to a good start"


Despite the hectic tournament schedule and ample opportunities for socializing, with the help of his friends Michael said he was able to prepare intensively for each of his final four games. Michael pinpointed four people in particular who "seconded" him: Jonathan Doran, Jake Miller, John Gurczak and Emily Tallo. Congrats to Michael, who wasted no time in celebrating his victory and entered the six-day schedule of the US Open. See full Denker standings here and USCF rated results on MSA.

The Barber K-8

Dewain Barber with co-champs Michael Brown & Justus Williams
Michael Brown of California and Justus Williams of New York tied for first in the 1st annual Barber K-8 tournament of champions with 5.5/6 each. Justus and Michael drew in the penultimate round. In order to assure they'd keep pace with each other, they both had to win their final games. Both thrived under pressure and pulled out full points. Justus's game featured an interesting material imbalance of two rooks vs. two bishops and some extremely dangerous pawns.


Michael Brown nursed an endgame edge into a decisive advantage. The game actually ended in checkmate, a couple moves after the crushing 58...Rxd2.


Justus told CLO that his favorite win was against recently crowned Cadet co-champ Arthur Shen of New Jersey.

See full Barber K-8 standings and the official website for more details.

The US Junior Girls Open
The second annual US Junior Girls Open saw a surprise finish. Elena Andreeva of Russia had been leading the way for most of the event.

Elena Andreeva, Photo courtesy Monroi

In the final round she  needed just a draw to clinch the title. However, the determined Jessica Regam of PA took the full point after an opening mishap by Elena. Allowing 9...dxe4 is bad because the simple 10. Nxe4 fails to ...Nxe4 11.Qxe4 Qa5+, picking up a bishop:


Rachel Gologorsky, Photo courtesy Monroi 

This upset allowed Florida's own Rachel Gologorsky to capture the title with a win over Katherine Wu. Here is one of Rachel's wins, a quick Sicilian victory over Danitza Vazquez of Puerto Rico. (Danitza was featured in a recent US Chess Scoop video.)


Congrats to Rachel and good luck to all the competitors in the US Open! (Rachel is also playing in the six-day) See full US Junior Girls Open standings here.

Coming soon: An engaging personal account by Melinda J. Matthews on taking her son and two other players at the Denker.