Although major upsets shook up many other sections at the CalChess Scholastics, that was not the case in the 4-6 Varsity when the top four seeds all finished in the top five spots. Rated nearly 200 points above anyone else and ranked #6 in the country for age 10, Yian Liou took his seat at the top board on Saturday morning and stayed there throughout the weekend, taking clear 1st place. He did surrender a half point in round 5 against friend and second seed James Kwok. This draw allowed Aamir Azhar to take the lead going into the final round, but not unexpectedly, Aamir lost to much higher rated Yian in the battle for 1st place. Nonetheless, Aamir managed to squeak ahead of James on tiebreak points. The final person to tie for 2nd place with a score of 5.0 was James' school teammate Jerry Wu, who improved his rating by 100 points with a strong result.
I am proud to say that it is a real pleasure working with all three kids: Yian, James and Aamir. In particular, I have watched Yian grow up from a shy 8 year old rated about 1200 to an outgoing and confident 10 year old rated over 1900. If he didn't live in the shadows of Danya Naroditsky and Nicholas Nip, there's no doubt that Yian would be the local star. Fortunately, Yian has the opportunity to study with Danya, Nicholas and other elite Bay Area kids at the series of Grandmaster seminars sponsored by the Mechanics' Institute.
Final Standings of 4-6 Varsity
- 5.5 Yian Liou (1939) -- $50 gift certificate
- 5.0 Aamir Azhar (1596) -- 1 year ICC extension
- 5.0 James Kwok (1750) -- 1 year ICC extension
- 5.0 Jerry Wu (1464)
- 4.5 Neel Apte (1588)
- 4.5 Thomas Gonda (1470)
- 4.5 Kevin Zhu (1577)
- 4.5 Kunaal Naik (1366)
- 4.0 Suraj Nair (1250)
- 4.0 Nathan Zhang (1372)