Daniel Fernandez Wins U.S. Class
By Franc Guadalupe   
July 23, 2008
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2008 U.S. Class Champ Daniel Fernandez
In the second round of the 2008 US Chess Championships (July 18-20, Houston, Texas) IM Daniel Fernandez had extra motivation to win -- He faced the young Denker and Texas State Champion, Warren Harper, who beat him in last year’s US Class.  Harper also happened to be the second seed, behind Fernandez, in this year’s event.  Daniel came out on top and that win propelled him to this year’s title.  Harper recovered from the loss and won his last three games to finish all alone in second place. 



Despite Harper's impressive string of wins, Fernandez was on fire as well, and he cruised to first place with 2.5/3. Having already disposed of the second seed Harper and the third seed, FM Michael Langer, Fernandez accepted a quick draw offer from Nick Schoonmaker in the last round to secure his victory and the $860 check. Fernandez played particularly entertaining game in the fourth round, against Deepyaman Datta.



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Daniel Fernandez, in his fourth round contest against Deepyaman Datta



The attendance at the event was great, with 188 players participating, and the competition was fierce. The 18 players in the Masters Division provided many exciting games, but so did the competitors in the other divisions.

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Warren Harper at the 2008 U.S. Class Championships



In the Expert Division, we had a three-way tie for 1st place between Jeffrey De Jesus, Anton Solovyov, and Ernesto Malazarte.  De Jesus claimed the Champion’s plaque on tie-breaks.  The Class A Division ended in a tie as well, as four players, Steven Chen (the winner on tie-breaks), Mitchell Powell, Mariano De Medina, and Frank Brack all finished with four points.
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Jeffrey De Jesus, co-winner in the U.S. Class Expert Section.

The top seed in the Class B Division, Dylan Scott James, was perfect at 5-0 and captured that title.  The other divisions also produced clear winners.   Stephen Rugh won the Class C, while the lowest rated player in the Class D division, Kyle Hecker, came on top of his higher rated opponents.  Kyle, a young teenager from Louisiana, was the only non-Texas winner and attributed his win to two chess camps he went to before this event.  This outstanding performance resulted in Kyle’s rating improving a whopping 147 points!  The Class E division was won by Robert Settles while Socaciu Gheorghe was an easy winner among unrated players.

Over a dozen prizes, courtesy of Saitek, were awarded.  Six-year old Celine Le was our youngest participant in the main event while Cole Erskine from Portala Valley, California traveled the farthest.  Cole talked his parents, both previously unrated players, into participating in the event and his dad,71-year old Don Erskine, proudly accepted the Saitek clock for being our oldest competitor.  Francisco Correa Mora, rated 728, beat a player rated 349 points higher to capture the Biggest Upset award.   Jean Troendle, President of Cajun Chess and yours truly organized the event.  Korey Kormick directed our Scholastic divisions and assisted me in the main event.  Jean also handled the computer work. 

U.S. Class Championships
Final Standings
For complete standings, go to the cajunchess homepage.

Masters
1. Daniel Fernandez- 4.5/5

2. Warren Harper- 4/5
3-5. Nicholas Schoonmaker, Mark Dejmek and Deepyaman Datta- 3.5/5
Expert
1-3. Jeffrey De Jesus, Anton D. Solovyov and Ernesto Malazarte
Class A
1-4. Steven Chen, Mitchell Powell, Mariano De Medina and Frank E. Brack
Class B
1. Dylan Scott James
Class C
1. Stephen I. Rugh- 4.5
Class D
1. Kyle J. Hecker- 4.5
Class E
1. Robert Settles-4.5
Unrated-
1. Socaciu Gheorghe- 5
K-2-
1. Ruifeng Li- 5
K-5
1. Andy Beams-5
K-12
1.Jeffrey Wu- 5