Four players from Northern California have made the journey across the country to Atlanta for the National High School Championship this weekend. Having attended this tournament in previous years, I can safely say that the intense competition exceeds anything that we might find at the state level. Out of approximately 340 players in the top section, there are 13 masters, 14 rated 2100-2199 and another 20 rated 2000-2099.
In recent years, two underrated players from the Bay Area found substantial success: David Chock of Saratoga High School defeated an International Master in 2006 and sat alone in first place before losing on the top board in the final round; the "Wizard of Oz" Michael Zhong of Los Altos High School faced four straight masters in 2007 and impressively beat three of them to tie for first place! Whose turn is it this year?
The results from the first day include many of the upsets that are typical of this tournament. Three of the masters have drawn a game and one even lost--all against dangerous A players. Likewise, the four local players have had mixed performances so far.
- Mukund Chillakanti (1868, see photo by Shorman at right) has 2.0/2 after defeating two experts!
- Steven Zierk (2154) drew an A player in round 2 and has 1.5.
- Kenneth Law (1664) has 1.0
- Kartik Chillakanti (1706) has 0.5
Update on Saturday afternoon: Through four rounds, Steven has 3.0, Mukund sits at 2.5 (against four experts), while Kenneth and Kartik both have 2.0.