|Ashritha the Champion!|
Bay Area 14-year old Ashritha Eswaran won the US Junior Girls invitational with a score of 6.5 out of 9, finishing a full point ahead of her nearest competitor. Sponsors Frank and Jim Berry brought ten of the country's best young ladies to Tulsa, Oklahoma. There were seven USCF masters and eight held an international title, including a pair of Women's International Masters. All participants were ranked in the Top 30 of the country for women, regardless of age!
On the other hand, the round-robin was tightly packed, with less than 150 rating points separating top from bottom. There were no favorites. Anyone could beat anyone else. Indeed, each girl lost at least twice, and Ashritha was the only one not to drop three games! Perhaps it still came as a surprise that the lowest rated finished on top of the hill. (USCF rating report)
Congratulations to Ashritha, her parents, her dedicated coach GM Dejan Bojkov and the entire staff at NorCal House of Chess! In addition to the national title, she earned an invitation to the 2016 US Women's Championship. Readers may recall that she played in the 2014 Women's Champ, impressing spectators with her mature and aggressive play.
More information and photos in this article at Kasparov Chess Foundation website.
Most people would relax after such an achievement. Alas, Ashritha flew to Colombia the very next day, where she entered the Pan American Youth Festival. She already won the first three rounds while playing up in the competitive Girls-U18 division. Good luck!!
In related news, the US Junior Closed (for boys) kicks off next Tuesday in Saint Louis. The Bay Area will once again be represented by IM Yian Liou, who graduated two weeks ago from Monte Vista High School in Danville.