Friday, July 18

Hello from Agoura Hills

Yesterday, I took Amtrak south to the Los Angeles area for the Pacific Coast Open tournament. The venue is the Renaissance Hotel in Agoura Hills, which is a serene venue amidst rolling hills located about 35 miles northwest of downtown LA. As these photos show, it is a laid back and quite enjoyable place for a chess event.

Despite a long travel day on trains and buses, I played in the first round of the 4-day schedule last night. My opponent was Dyland Xue, a 15 year old from Michigan rated 2154. Check out this wild tactical fight in the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian, which I won after sacrificing an exchange and a pawn. Unfortunately, my roommates Sam Shankland (draw versus a 2200) and Michael Zhong (loss) didn't do quite as well. The first round of the 3-day schedule is in progress as I write these words, including Grandmasters Sergey Erenburg and Melik Khachiyan plus Northern California juniors Steven Zierk, Rohan Agarwal and Yian Liou versus Zhong (who reentered).

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