Home Page arrow Chess Life Online arrow 2012 arrow August arrow David Hua, 15, Wins Atlantic Open
David Hua, 15, Wins Atlantic Open Print E-mail
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim   
August 27, 2012
Washington, D.C. – When 15-year-old David Hua came here from Princeton, N.J. to compete in the 44th annual Atlantic Open held August 24-26, his primary focus was to play aggressively and avoid mistakes.

 “I had no real expectations,” Hua said.  

That style and approach helped catapult Hua into history as the youngest player ever – or at least in recent history – to win first place in the Atlantic Open, organizers of the event told CLO.

Hua took clear first place by scoring 4.5 out of 5 points.

“I don’t believe that I can recall anyone who was even close to that age,” said TD Steve Immitt, who ran the Atlantic Open from 1994 through last year and was on hand at this year’s event, which drew 310 to 320 players.

Immitt said he thought the next youngest person to win the Atlantic Open was Eric Most, who was 17 or 18 when he tied for first at last year’s Atlantic Open with IM Yury Lapshun.

Although this year’s tournament fielded only two GMs, two IMs and 20 masters, Immitt says the 4.5 out of 5 points that Hua scored was no easy feat.

To anyone who might downplay Hua’s victory given the relative absence of GMs and IMs, Immitt says, “I’d like to say to them: ‘You win 4.5.’”

As a matter of perspective, only five players were rated higher than Hua and one – Kevin Mo – was rated equally with Hua at 2325 when the tournament began.

Thus, from a strictly odds perspective, Hua’s first three victories against lower rated players were to be expected.

To wit, Hua defeated players rated 2098, 2073, and 2196, in Rounds 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

But in his last two rounds, Hua found himself paired against two titled players, namely, GM John Fedorowicz (2500) and IM Justin Sarkar (2483), respectively.

Hua drew against Fedorowicz in Round 4 and won against Sarkar in Round 5.

Hua remained humble about his draw against a GM.

“I wouldn’t applaud myself,” Hua said during an interview in one of skittles rooms after the tournament. “No need to get too excited about it.”

In his Round 5 game against IM Sarkar, Hua said he was able to exploit a mistake that Sarkar made with 15 … Rb8, subsequently costing Sarkar a pawn in the series of exchanges that followed.  


Hua is a protégé of GM Gregory Kaidanov, with whom he studies over the phone and Internet.  

By taking clear first in the Atlantic Open, Hua, a sophomore at Princeton High School in Princeton, N.J., pocketed a $2,000 prize. Hua told CLO that he would probably save his winnings for college. Hua also surpassed the 2400 rating barrier with his victory.   

Here is an interesting game from the U1900 Section. It ends with a combination that involved a Queen-sac.