US Junior Congress Smashes Records
By Aditya Kumar   
November 21, 2011
Congress_113.jpgA record-setting 370 scholastic players from states across the country came to play in the National Junior Congress hosted in the Santa Clara, California on October 28th-30th. The tournament was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, a spacious site that has been used for many large-scale tournaments in the past; the tournament was the first national scholastic event in the area since 1994.

Unlike last year’s grade-level format, this year’s Junior Congress consisted of seven sections based on age group: 5 & Under, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18.

The top twenty players in each section received a trophy and the top ten teams received one as well. Apart from the 5 and under section, which played its five G/30 rounds on Saturday only, and the 6-7 group, which only played its five G/30 rounds on Sunday, all other sections played six G/75 games with three on each day. A blitz tournament was held on Friday evening and a bughouse championship was held on Saturday evening. 

Bingjie Liu dominated the 16-18 section with an undefeated 5.5 streak, only allowing Arthur Liou, third place, a draw in the last round. Samuel Bekker led in the 14-15 section, with a perfect 6-0 score, sweeping through all of his games.

Vignesh Panchanatham won the 12-13 section with a perfect 5-0 score, taking a bye in the fifth round; 11-year old Panchanatham’s age did not stop him from playing up and winning the section! Like Vignesh, 9-year old Rayan Tagizadeh played up into the 10-11 section and topped the section, winning all of his games, 6-0.Milind Maiti followed suit in the pool of winners with perfect scores, scoring an impressive 6-0 in the 8-9 section.  Both Advait Budaraju and Ben Rood won the competitive 6-7 section, each with a perfect score of 5-0. 

Chinguun Bayaraa won the 5 and under section, also scoring a 5-0, making him the third Bay Area Chess Team player to win in his section.The Bay Area Chess Team won the 0-5 team championship, along with the 6-7 championship, and 14-15 championship – a total of three first-place titles won by the teams. In the 8-9 group, the NorCal House of Chess scored the team championship, with a near-perfect score of 21.5. The Foster City Chess Club earned first place in the 10-11, and the Liu Chess Club was at the top of the 12-13, with scores of 18.5 and 17.5, respectively. The 16-18 Division had a tie between the Mendota Chess Club and the Coalinga Chess Club, each with 13 points.  Bay Area Chess blitz teams followed suit with their tournament counterparts, also winning three sections: 5 and under, 6-11, and 12+. 

Praveer Sharan won the 8 and under blitz championship with a perfect score of 8-0. Leyton Ho led the 9-11 blitz with 7-1 and Matt Stecklow won the 12+ blitz, with yet another perfect score of 8-0. The team of Bing, Brett, Lie, and Wong won the bughouse championship with a score of 8.

The tournament was directed by Senior TDs Richard Koepcke and Tom Langland, and National TD John McCumiskey, and organized by Dr. Salman Azhar.  Results for the tournament can be found here; USCF ratings here.