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GM Irina Krush on Orlando so Far Print E-mail
By GM Irina Krush   
December 14, 2014
The 2014 Grade Nationals are in full swing! I am in Orlando as a guest of the USCF, and I've already completed most of my planned activities: a simul on Friday morning, a two hour session of 'play all comers in blitz' on Friday afternoon, and a lecture on Saturday afternoon. On Saturday, I also partnered with ChessKid.com to do a puzzle race with kids, to see who could complete their Tactics Trainer puzzles faster. The final event on my agenda is live commentary with IM Denny Rensch for Magnus Carlsen's simul on Sunday at 1 PM EST hosted by Play Magnus and Chess.com.

Play through Irina's favorite win from the simul: 


As it turned out, a number of the kids who showed up to play me in the blitz session on Friday are among the best in their section. Without knowing who they were at the moment, I played Chinguun Bayaraa, at 2029 the top seed in the third grade section, and Christopher Yoo, the top seed of the second grade. Chinguun sat down and blitzed out the Rubinstein variation against the Nimzo Indian with the confidence and speed of a Nakamura! It was clear this child had played a lot of blitz. Later on, I got a chance to observe him playing (always on the first board) and he has a distinctive board manner: so focused and intent on the board, the defining marks of a serious player. In round four, he defeated a very talented boy who often plays at the Marshall Chess Club in NYC, Robert Shibata. Will he continue his winning ways on the final day? Stay tuned to find out!

The Orlando Nationals are divided by grade, from K-12, but to me, the most interesting sections are the second and third grade. In these sections you can really find the best kids in the country for their age group. Since chess is becoming a younger and younger game, in a few years, the best kids are going to be busy becoming IM's and GM's and will probably be eschewing scholastic tournaments for stronger competitions, but at the second grade level, scholastic tournaments are the standard venue of competition. This year four players enter the 6th round with perfect scores, three of them from NY. Lucas Foerster-Yialamas will be playing his friend, Adi Murgescu, while Nico Chasin is paired with Arthur Xu from Illinois. The final day will reveal the champion in this tight race! Can't wait to see how it turns out!