Six Medals for USA in Mexico
By Abed Munoz   
October 5, 2009
Six Americans won medals at the 2009 North American Youth Championship in Mazatlan, Mexico. The United States came in second place in the final team standings, despite having only ten players out of 123. Four of our young talents won gold medals! In order of appearance in the photo above, Stuart Finney (1985) U-14, Deepak Aaron (2135) U-16, Kayden Troff (2174) and Winston Zeng U-8. Along with their gold medal, they earn the FIDE title of Candidate Master. Finally, they have the honor of representing the United States in the 2010 Pan American Youth Championship in Brazil in July.

Two other members of TEAM USA won medals in this tournament.


Rayan Taghizadeh (left in the photo above) won 3rd place in the U-8 boys.

The girls contributed to the tally as well.
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Emily Nguyen (left) from Texas won the bronze medal for the United States in the U-8 girls. WCM Claudia Munoz, next to her, came in 5th place in the U-12 girls. Madhu Karamsetty also proudly represented the red, white and blue!

The 10-member American team competed against Mexico and Canada for three days in a COMBINED event, meaning that boys and girls we paired together and not separate. However, for medal purposes the results were separated in both the boys and girls categories, which was against the technical information posted by the Mexican Chess Federation.

Last but not least, we must state that the Mexican Chess Federation (FENAMAC) did not provide medals to the winners of the three competing countries. This was a sore point not only with the Mexican players who at the end of the ceremony began to yell out, "las medallas" "the medals", but also for the Canadian and American delgation. The Delegation head of the three competing countries met with Mr. Raul Hernandez, President of the Mexican Chess Federation, to clarify this situation.

Mr. Hernandez stated that the Sinaloa State Sport's Ministry had made a financial cutback but that he would personally mail us the medals during the week.

Mr. Jorge Vega, President of FIDE America requested that we inform the United States Chess Federation and the Canadian Chess Federation, respectively, so that they could make the request to the Mexican Chess Federation.

Instead of medals we received paper certificates with misspelled names as well as incorrect categories. 
Beyond the issues mentioned, TEAM USA was extremely united starting from the parents and extending to the children and youth.

It was an honor to have led the American team from start to finish. Tomorrow, everyone heads home. Hopefully in 2010, this event can be held in the United States so that we can demonstrate the organizational skills that would make our continent proud.

See more photos and dispatches from Mazatlan on Claudia Munoz's blog.