Highlights from I.S. 318 in Pittsburgh
By J. Shahade/E. Vicary   
May 20, 2008
I.S. 318 students Ameer Williams, Myles Foster and Lovedeep Singh

I.S. 318 of Brooklyn won the K-6 Championship section in the Burt Lerner Elementary Nationals (Pittsburg, May 9-11) , one a half points ahead of their closest rivals, Dalton. Elizabeth Vicary, who made Elementary Nationals predictions for CLO , says that before the tournament she thought 318 had a "reasonable chance to win it all", noting that her sixth grade students are "erractic and there's no way to know what's going to happen." Going into the last round, I.S. 318 had a 3.5 point lead over Dalton, but Vicary says: "I was terrified that somehow everyone would lose. But then Alexis Paredes drew quickly, assuring us of a tie, and soon afterwards Miron Sher was gracious enough to call me to say that one of his players had lost (preventing Dalton from tying) so we started celebrating."

I.S. 318 student Alexis Paredes scored 6/7

Alexis Paredes, the top board (1677), scored 6/7 and tied  for second place, but earned the fifth place trophy on tiebreaks. In round four, Paredes found a beautiful win against George Ruan:

Position after 1.Re6

Alexis played 1...hxg3 2.Rxd6 gxh2+ 3.Kf2 g3+ 4.Ke2 Rxd6 5.Nh3 Re6+ 6.Kd2 Rxh3 7.Qc2 Ne3 8.Qg6 Nc4+ 9.Kc2

Position after Kc2

9...Re2+ 10.Kb3 Rxb2+ 11.Ka4 b5#

Elizabeth says of Paredes, "I love his style: logical, creative and always thoughtful."  She also praised #2 scorer, Pobo Efekoro for his "limitless determination", explaining, "When he plays you can almost see the energy pouring out of him onto the board...very often he emerges from the opening completely lost, but he just sits there and wills himself to victory."
Myles Foster

Here are a few more game excerpts from 318 students Myles Foster (pictured above), who scored 4.5 and Miguel Garcia, who earned 4/7 (318 players Brittanie Uddin and Orlando Gonzalez also scored 4/7).

Foster-Poteat, White to Move

Myles Foster played 19.b4! and won quickly after 19...Bb6 20.cxb5 Na7 21.Re7  1–0 21...Rg8 22.Nf6+ Kh8 23.Nh4 1–0

Miguel Garcia

John Hughes-Miguel Garcia, Black to Move

The game continued 32... Rg8 33. Qf3 Bf6 34. Qh3?
Instead (34. Rfb1!  Rxg2+ 35. Kf1 Bh4 36. Rxh7+ Kxh7 37. Qh5+ Kg7 38. e6+ Bf6 39. Bxf6+ Kxf6 40. Qf7#- Vicary)
Position after 34.Qh3

34... Rxg2+ 35. Kh1 Rh2+ 36.Qxh2 Qe4+ 0-1

Miguel also tricked his coach by silently presenting his move in the following position, from his game against Edward Pinzon:

White to Move

 Elizabeth Vicary described the analysis session with Miguel,  "so he plays Qe2 here and I say, 'hey, why are you hanging your d pawn, why not Rc1?' He starts laughing because he's been waiting for me to say this and then I get the joke and realize if Qxd4 Rd1 traps the queen." Unfortunately for Miguel, Black played Qa5 here and went on to win.

When asked how she celebrated the 318 victory, Vicary told CLO that she was happy but too tired to celebrate: 

It's grueling to sit there for three days, looking at game after game,  It's not just that the days are unendingly long-- it's that you have to really think and analyze and be creative and not miss things. Also you have to talk: explain ideas, ask the right questions, make judgments about what the most useful things to say are. By the end I just want to be alone and lie still in a dark, quiet room.
If you want to know more about I.S. 318, check out Elizabeth Vicary's preview article on the Nationals, which details many of her coaching techniques. Also see the New York Times and New York Post articles on I.S. 318's victory in Pittsburgh.