Saturday, June 22

Exciting Finish at US Junior Invitational

Bay Area U12 World Champions IM-elect Sevian versus IM Naroditsky.

 Final Standings
  • 6.5 Daniel Naroditsky
  • 6.0 Sam Sevian and Luke Harmon-Vellotti
  • 5.5 Victor Shen 
  • 4.5 Kayden Troff and Yian Liou
  • 4.0 Robert Perez and Jeffery Xiong
  • 3.5 Atulya Shetty
  • 0.5 Sarah Chiang
(All photos have been borrowed from CCSCSL.)

The surprise of the tournament: FM Harmon-Vellotti.
Round 9:  The 2013 US Junior closed on a high note for the three talents from the San Francisco Bay Area.  The top seed and favorite Daniel eliminated all suspense by calmly obtaining a pleasant position as black in the KID.  On move 32, his opponent Robert blundered his queen--for the third time in the tournament.  Congratulations Danya!  Luke could have shared first with a win, but his monarch was stranded in the center in a French.  Just as it appeared Jeffery might even score an upset, the Idahoan forced a perpetual.  The precocious IM-elect Sam left nothing to chance versus tail-ender Sarah, picking up a swift point with the Nimzo-Indian.  Sam shared 2nd place with Luke, an impressive performance for a 12 year old!  The match-up of the second and third seeds Victor and Kayden went in favor of white in a positional Gruenfeld.  And on the last board, California kid Yian beat Atulya in a game that meant little more than pride and rating points.    

FM Yian Liou
Round 8:  The pressure mounts as the tournament nears its end.  The most important game involved two California boys, white sitting in first place and black struggling to get back to 50%.  Daniel obtained a pleasant position in the "Spanish Torture," but Yian held on with creative and resourceful defense.  The inevitable draw allowed Luke to once again move into a tie for first.  He calmly pushed Robert off the board in the Najdorf, advancing passed pawns on both rook files.  Victor essayed the Berlin defense against Sam, and they split the point after move 40.  The Texas youngster Xiong tested Kayden in the Benko gambit, earning an easy 30 move draw.  On the last board, Shetty sacrificed a piece for three pawns in the Queen's Gambit exchange variation and slowly asserted the power of his connected passers.

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