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Results are in at 2nd Online National Invitational Championship Print E-mail
By IM Daniel Rensch   
June 23, 2013
The final results are in for the 2nd Annual National Online Inviational Championship! This event once again brought together many of the nation's best youth chess players to compete for the only existing "online" chess championship title.

Currently this event, co-sponsored by ChessKid.com and the United States Chess Federation (USCF), is the only event of its kind and it "fills a void" for America's strongest scholastic chess players, who rarely receive opportunities to take part in elite, Round Robin style tournaments against the best players of their respective age groups.

In fact, it isn't normally until the most talented youngsters in the U.S. reach the ages of fifteen and sixteen (maybe 13 and 14 for the brightest stars) that the "best of the best" even begin receiving invites to events like the U.S. Cadet and U.S. Junior Championships.

Though it's not to say our child chess prodigies have it rough when it comes to being challenged, it is true that playing invitational only events like the ChessKid.com Online National Championship demand a higher level of focus and overall stamina from these youngsters, something all great players must eventually develop to compete with the world's best. When comparing Round Robin events to other open scholastic "swiss tournaments", it's clear to see that the best players play down for the majority of the event, only to get a couple games against the strongest competition of their age if they manage to surive the onslaught of potential upsets.

Providing kids as young as 6 and 7 with the opportunity to play in strong, exclusive tournaments of this nature will prepare them for the future, and hopefully give them the tools they need to represent America well when taking on the world's strongest players at events like the World Youth and Pan-American Chess Championships. It is for these reasons that ChessKid.com is proud to organize this event, Chess.com is happy to host the live games, and the USCF is proud to honor the winners as National Champions.

Without further adieu, the winners and standings from each respective section:

Ashritha.jpgGirls Under 13 Champion: Ashritha Eswaran - California

Ashritha was the clear favorite in her section, holding a 50 point rating advantage over the 2nd highest rated player in the field, and she didn't disappoint! She won the section by a full point margin, and seemed to show poise and maturity beyond her years. Check out one of her games and also watch a video interview with Ashritha in CLO National Open coverage.


Girls Under 13 Section - Final Standings

Name    State    Rating    Pts
Eswaran, Ashritha    CA    2121    6
Wang, Annie    CA     2070    5
Ulrich, Rachel    WI    2010    4
Feng, Maggie     OH    2020    3
Yu, Jennifer    VA    1934    3
Arab, Kiana    AZ    1956    2½
Devagharan, Devina    TX    1880    2½
Nguyen, Emily    TX    1904    2

checa.jpgUnder 12: Nicolas Checa - New York

Also the "on paper" favorite in his section, Nicolas won a big game in round 6, grinding out a long, king and pawn endgame to secure the victory. This big win practically clinched the section heading into the last round!


Under 12 Section - Final Standings

Name    State    Rating    Pts
Checa, Nicolas    NY    2241    5½
Vasudeva, Tanuj    CA    2117    5
Liu, Bovey    TX     2181    4
Zheng, Andrew    MD    2171    3½
Lu, Albert    CA    2151    3
Szabo, Marcell    WA    2058    3
Naguleswaran, Annorjan    OH    2063    2
Xie, Luke    OH    2076    2

yip.jpgUnder 10: Carissa Yip - Massachusetts

The young and talented Carissa managed to "beat out the boys" in the Under 10 Section with an amazing last round victory as black. Her resourcefulness and creativity will surely be trademarks of her chess style for years to come. Carissa finished with a score of 5 points, half a point ahead of the field.


Under 10 Section - Final Standings

Name    State    Rating    Pts
Yip, Carissa    MA    1908    5
Stearman, Josiah    CA    1927    4½
Ge, Anthony     CA    1869    4½
Paul, Justin    VA    1893    4
Krishnan, Ajay     CA    1853    3½
Gu, Brian    TX     1928    2½
Hawthorn, Charles    TX    1795    2
Perkins, Joaquin    CA    1770    2

balaji.jpgUnder 8: Balaji Daggupati - California

The youngest players saved the best for last! With the games in every other section having finished, the final round saw the top seeded Kevin Chor (in a must win situation as black) defend a bad position for three hours to eventually reach a knight and pawn ending with great winning chances. Under time pressure however, Kevin was met with great defense from Balaji. Multiple mistakes of "ending inexperience" occurred from both sides, but in the end, the young Balaji finished his incredible tournament by defending Kevin's passed pawns, holding the draw, and securing the national title!


Under 8 Section -  Final Standings
Name    State    Rating    Pts
Daggupati, Balaji    CA     1549    6
Chor, Kevin     AZ    1822    5
Vaidya, Atreya     TX    1684    4
Ni, Maggie     TX    1738    3½
Rishith, Susarla    CA     1739    3½
Wu, Logan    TN     1749    2½
Zhu, Harvey     TX     1668    2½
Hawthorn, Henry    TX     1630    1

We thank David Petty (the PinkHamster on ChessKid.com), Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn, International Master John Bartholomew, FIDE Master Todd Andrews and BrotherJosh for their exciting coverage on ChessKid.com/TV! Special thanks to David Petty and all the volunteer Tournament Director, Proctors and Parents who made this event such huge success once again!

Look for a full recap by FM Mike Klein in the October issue of Chess Life for Kids!

ChessKid.com would also like to give special thanks to the following Clubs / Organizations who went out of there way to help us with hosting and tournament directing during this event:

1. Unity Chess Club (Rick Smouse and Pedram Atoufi)
2. Dallas Chess Club
 (Luis Salinas)
3. Memphis Chess Club (Aaron Smith + others)
4. Nor Cal House of Chess (Ted Castro)
5. Panda Chess Academy (Jeffery Ashton)
6. Ashburn Chess Center (Herky Del Mundo / Scott Knoke)
7. Boylston Chess Club (Nathan Smolensky)
8. Beyond Chess Club
 - San Gabriel (Ben Deng, Sarah Lu)
9. Seattle Chess Club (Fred and Carol Kleist)
10. Berkeley Chess School
 (Elizabeth/Stephen Shaughnessy)"   

See the original story on chess.com, where you can also find more games.