Imagine that you sit at the board and your opponent barely is tall enough to see the pieces on the other side of the table. His rating over 1500 is a whopping 250 times his age, which must be some sort of record even for the scholastic hotbed known as the Bay Area. While most youngsters his age practice penmanship on large sheets of paper in school, he neatly records his moves in a chess scorebook. However, it is the smile that intimidates you (thanks to Mark Shelton of ChessDryad for the photo). How can you beat this 6 year old tactical monster? After 20 moves, he wins a pawn. Then a piece. You suddenly realize that you have just been Tanuj'ed!
Rated more than 200 points higher than any other kid his age in the country, Tanuj Vasudeva picked up his first national title today at the Bert Lerner National Elementary Championships in Pittsburgh. He won all seven of his games in the K-1 section against opponents from Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois and New York. Tanuj shared the top honors with Roland Feng of Washington State, who also finished at 7-0. I predict, given his talent and love for chess, that this is the first of several national titles for Tanuj.
The honor roll of CalChess juniors to win or tie for first place in the annual USCF national scholastic championships each spring keeps increasing. Recent winners include Michael Zhong (2007 K-12), Gregory Young (2007 K-9), Rahul Desirazu (2006 K-5), Nicholas Nip (2006 K-3) and Daniel Naroditsky (2005 K-3).
Unfortunately, the other local kids who travelled east were not quite as successful. Kyle Shin came closest in the K-5 section, losing in the final round with a share of 1st place at stake. He still earned the 14th place trophy for 5.5/7. Alisha Chawla (K-1) and Armaan Kalyanpur (K-3) both finished with the respectable score of 4.5/7 while Allan Beilin (K-3) forgot to pack his chess brain for the flight. Click here for the USCF ratings report.
Every four years, the three spring nationals (High School, Junior High and Elementary) are held under one roof on the same weekend. SuperNationals IV is scheduled for April 3-5, 2009 at the vast Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee. If there is a chess heaven, this may be it. I expect a decent sized delegation from Northern California to attend, including teams from Saratoga High, Mission San Jose Elementary and St. Mark's School. Mark your calendars now!