ACA Beasts Take U.S. Amateur Team Playoffs
By Jerry Yee   
March 22, 2009
The ACA Beasts won the Amateur Team Playoff

The 2009 U.S. Amateur Team Playoffs held March 21 on World Chess Live were filled with excitement, drama and even a dose of madness that the month of March usually reserves for college basketball.

In the end, after a day of thrilling chess that included sudden death tiebreaker matches to decide the semi-final and championship rounds, the West team, "ACA Beasts!" came away with this year's U.S. Amateur Team National Championship by defeating the South team "My Girl Is Pissed!"! Ed- The South called themselves this because the Amateur Team Championships were held over Valentine's Day weekend.

The West team was led by 17-year-old NM John Daniel Bryant (stepson of 2008 U.S. Open Champion IM Enrico Sevillano), talented young experts 14-year-old  Michael Yee, 15-year-old Vincent Huang and expert Santy Wong. Ironically, Santy is a current Florida resident who moved from Los Angeles only 8 months ago. Due to rating limits, Wong replaced Sevillano this year, so this was especially sweet for Sevillano as his team finished 2nd in the 2007 USATW, missing an opportunity to participate in the playoffs that year.

In the championship round, boards 1 and 4(Bryant and Wong) lost their games which put young teens Yee and Huang in "must win" situations. Incredibly, both boys won endgames in which they had knight vs rook along with pawn advantages. From there, the "ACA Beasts!" won the 15-minute sudden death match 3-1.

Also noteworthy was the 3.5/4 undefeated performance of Michael Yee (also my son) in the four matches today. Huang just won the Southern California High School state championship last week. Both Yee and Huang are top students of IM Armen Ambartsoumian and his American Chess Academy (ACA). ACA's string of success in recent tournaments is truly a tribute to Ambartsoumian's talent as a world class chess coach and is a sign that ACA will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. Here is a win from yesterday each from Huang and Yee.



This year, the event moved to the World Chess Live website from ICC. The transition was not without some minor issues but in the end the event delivered the kind of excitement that national championships are famous for. I come away from the event with the lasting memory of the "ACA Beasts!" running out of the Chess Palace tonight...screaming, yelling and celebrating their very first National Championship title.

International Arbiter Carol Jarecki directed the U.S. Amateur Team Playoffs, which was held on World Chess Live. If you are a USCF member, you are eligible for six free months on WCL- be sure to sign up if you haven't already.