The fight for this year's came down to the final tournament in Reno, the Western States Open, with FM Daniel Naroditsky ahead by 45 points. Steven literally needed to pull off a 2700 level performance, which is exactly what he did by beating one Grandmaster and drawing with two others. I predict these two teenagers, both now rated above 2420 and ranked in the top 15 of the country under age 21, will compete neck and neck again in 2010.
Here's a summary of Steven Zierk's many chess achievements. (Photo at top by Shorman.)
- Current ratings: 2420 USCF and 2359 FIDE.
- Earned SM status in November 2009.
- Earned FM title in July 2009.
- Earned NM title in July 2008.
- Best tournament of life at 2009 Western States Open: 2700 performance!
- 1st GM scalp: Beat super GM Loek van Wely at 2009 Western States Open.
- 1st IM scalp: Beat IM Ricardo DeGuzman at 2008 CalChess Labor Day.
- 1st NM scalp: Beat NM Albert Rich at 2007 Silicon Valley Ch. while rated 1623.
- Represented CalChess at 2008 Denker Invitational.
- CalChess Scholastic Champion for K-3 in 2001, K-8 in 2007 and K-12 in 2008.
- Big $$$ at World Open: 2nd U2000 in 2007 and 3rd U2200 in 2008.
- USCF rating jumped +556 in 2007 (1549 to 2105), including +384 over first 3 months.
- Break from competitive chess--2002 through 2006.
- Won U1400 in 2001 World Open at age 7.