Mezentsev Shines in Game 30, Game 60 Champs
By Salman Azhar and John Mccumiskey   
October 5, 2011
IM Vladimir Mezentsev
On October 1, 2011, a pleasant early autumn day in Santa Clara, California 300 players participated in three regular and two scholastic sections at the US Game 60 Championship.

The sixty-six players in the 1800+ section waged a pitched battle in an effort to win a National title earn the $700 first prize. Going into the last round, no fewer than five players had perfect scores of 3.0 and three others with 2.5 points. 

The first result of players with 3.0 points came late in the round with a hard-fought draw on Board 1 game between IMs Ricardo De Guzman and Emory Tate.  The next 3.0 game to finish was the Board 2 game between NM Christopher Von Krogh and IM Vladimir Mezentsev, with Mezentsev emerging victorious.  The last player with 3.0 points to finish their game was Daniel Liu who eventually lost to IM Raymond Kaufman giving Mezentsev a clear first place in the section.

In the 1400-1799 section, Maximo Fajardo and Daniel Ho plowed through the sixty-three player field to end up tied for first place with both players earning $500.50 each. Daniel Song, Robert Jertberg, and unrated Rasit Topaloglu  topped the seventy-three player field.  Song and Jertberg earned $500.50 for their efforts while Topaloglu won the unrated prize.

In the 600-999 scholastic section, Yousef  Azhar, David Brodkey, Jason Chang, Nathan Huang, Siddharth Srinivasan, and Atri Surapaneni shared the top honors in a 6-way tie. Weibel Elementary School won the team event.

The Under 600 section ended in a 3-way tie for top place between Henry Ma, Tarun Pasumarthi, and Katherine Xia. Weibel Elementary School won the top team prize.

The next day, the US Game 30 Championship on October 2 had an impressive turnout of 283 players, including 173 scholastic entries.  Several returned for a second day of chess after the US Game 60 championship the previous day.

Led by four International masters, a field of thirty-four players competed in the 1800+ section.  Class A players and Experts took their shots at the players at the top of the wall chart, with the titled players managed to avoid stepping on any mines.  
By the start of round 5, IM Vladimir Mezentsev scored four points, defeating IMs Anthony Saidy and Emory Tate who resigned with his king about to be mated in the middle of the board in a four-rook endgame.  IM Raymond Kaufman also fought off his opponents to be the only other play with a perfect score going into the last round.  The game was hard fought  with several spectators observing most of the game.  With little time left on the clock for either player, the smoke cleared from the chess board with Mezentsev and Kaufman agreeing to a draw.  Both men earned $335 for their efforts and shared the National Championship.  Mezentsev also hit the daily double, winning both the US Game 60 and Game 30 events on the same weekend!

In the 1400-1799 section, Gabriel Bick finished ahead of twenty-four other players with 4.5 points and earning $450 for his efforts.  Although he started eleventh ranked out of forty-nine players, 1253 rated Valentin Mestman finished with the only perfect score of 5.0 in the 1000-1499 section to earn $450 first place prize.  

In the 600-999 scholastic section, Amir Dhami and Anaiy Somalwar went into the last round as the only two perfect scores among 63 players. Dhami was able to retain his perfect record, playing with black pieces, to win the section.  Weibel Elementary School finished 2 points ahead of the second place to win its third team championship in three sections reported so far.

Sreyas Dhulipala, Reka Sztaray, and Katherine Xia tied for first place with perfect scores among 110 players in the under 600 section. Accelerated parings in the earlier reduced the number of perfect scores. Egan Middle School prevented Weibel from sweeping the team title over the weekend by winning the team championship.

The tournament was organized by Dr. Salman Azhar and directed by NTD John McCumiskey. You find the detailed results at You can find the complete results for the Game 60 and the Game 30 Champs and links to photographs at

Salman Azhar is the president of Bay Area chess. See details on the next major National Scholastic coming to the Bay Area, the US Junior Congress on October 29-30.