The legal age to win money in the Nevada casinos is supposedly 21, but that didn't stop three Northern California juniors from hitting the jackpot at the Far West Open chess tournament. The lifetime achievements of 6th grader FM Danya Naroditsky have been well chronicled, and still he managed to elevate his chess game to a higher level. Joining in the youth wave were a pair of talented 9th graders: Steven Zierk and Rohan Agarwal.
- Danya: tied for second place (behind GM Khachiyan) with undefeated 4.5/6 ; 2600+ USCF performance rating ; beat IM Mezentsev for first IM scalp ever ; drew GM Kudrin and GM Yermolinsky for first two GM draws ever ; cracked 2300 USCF rating to become the top rated junior in CalChess
- Steven: tied for second place at 4.5/6 and top U2200 by a full point ; 2400+ USCF performance rating ; beat WIM Tuvshintugs (2289) and drew FM Strugatsky (2450)
- Rohan: scored a solid 3.5/6 including win against Bryant (2314) and draw against Aigner (2271)
Three of my eight students won major money by finishing in the top two of their rating division. I already mentioned Danya and Steven. The other big winner was Yian, who took second place in the A section with 4.5/6 (behind San Francisco's own Evan Sandberg). Way to go! Two other students each finished with a score of 3.5/6: Nicholas in the A section and Samyukta in the B section. Finally, Alan only scored 2.5 points in the difficult Open section, but gained rating and a lot of experience from playing masters.
As you may have already noticed, I drew as black against Rohan in the last round to finish at 3.5 out of 6--a disappointing result considering that I was much better or even winning in both of my last two games, but lost one and drew the other. Both my USCF and FIDE ratings will drop about 6 or 7 points from this tournament. I really wish that I had beaten someone rated over 2050, but my pairings were not kind. I will need to play better next weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma!
I plan to work on the final report for Chess Life Online sometime on Tuesday. Look for it! (Edit: This report won't appear until Thursday. Sorry, I've been busy in between major chess tournaments.)