Sunday, May 18

Stunning Upset in Round 1 of CalChess Scholastics

(This is the position after move 12 of the round 1 game between Avinash Kumar and Danya Naroditsky. White to move. What would you play here?)

State and national level scholastic tournaments are a hotbed for upsets, and the annual CalChess Scholastics are certainly no exception. However, nobody could predict that the top seed and defending champion in K-12 would lose in the first round. Congrats to Avinash Kumar (1552) of Saratoga High School (see photo) for the upset of the year against World U12 Champion FM Daniel Naroditsky (2329).

Click on this link to view the game in Chess Publisher's game viewer. Black's position began falling apart with 11... d5, although after 12.exd5 cxd5 13.Nxd5 exd5 14.Qxd5 he still could have played Be7 15.Qxa8 Qxf4+ 16. Kb1 O-O with some compensation for the material lost in the form of a bishop pair. Would it be enough? We will never know because Danya slipped with the catastrophic blunder 14... Rb8, allowing mate in 3.

However, Danya is a well-known fighter. Despite the obvious disappointment and having very little to play for unless all of the results go his way, he did not withdraw. Good luck!

1 comment:

qxpch said...

Wow! Of course, upsets are normal in scholastic tournaments, but still... a 1500 player beating a WORLD CHAMPION... he's going to have something to tell his friends for the rest of his life. And I think that it's great that he didn't chicken out, either from the first sacrifice or the second. Against someone rated so much higher, it would have been easy to get scared. But it's helpful to keep in mind that when you are much lower-rated than your opponent, your best chance for an upset actually lies in tactics.