The 4th Silicon Valley Challenge took place on March 15 at the dance studios of the Century Arts Alliance Foundation. Despite a wide selection of chess tournaments in the South Bay, this event attracted 48 players ranging from master to novice. Although most of the participants were juniors, they competed not for trophies but for cash prizes. Thanks to the successful turnout, the total prize fund was increased to $700.
The 30 player Open section featured stiff competition at the top with 9 competitors rated 1800 and up. After four rounds of G/60, two players emerged from the fray with 4-0 scores: Fleford Redoloza rated 1897 (see photo at right) and this blogger. The perfect scores did not mean that the road to victory was easy. Redoloza, who got back into chess last fall after an extended break, defeated veteran expert Daniel Burkhard and two of the area's top K-6 players: Paul Richter (1988) and Alex Grossman (1720). On the other hand, I defeated three 1900s, facing especially tough resistance from teenagers Jay Kumar and Jeff Young, both who should reach 2000 by the end of the year. I intend to annotate the exciting last round game against my student Jeff and will post on this blog in a few days.
The other prizes in the Open section went to Jeff Young, Rohan Sathe, Jaydee Tenioso and Daniel Liu, all with three wins and one loss. The first three names should not surprise anyone, as they are all (under)rated above 1900. However, Daniel Liu came into the event rated just 1133 officially (1149 on the MSA website) and faced four straight opponents more than 400 points above him, beating three (including an A player) and losing only in an endgame to Sathe. He will gain over 200 USCF rating points for a performance rating over 2000! The funny story is that Daniel, the little brother of my student Rebekah, signed up for the U1400 section, but the sections had to be merged due to insufficient entries. Another player who had a good result yet didn't win a prize was 6 year old Tanuj Vasudeva (1547), who scored 50% against three A players and one B player. Daniel and Tanuj demonstrated that playing against stronger opponents is a win-win situation: either you gain rating points or experience--sometimes both!
Although those in the U1200 section had lower ratings, the competition among the 18 players was equally fierce. Congratulations to Kiarash Mavandad for winning with a perfect 4-0 score. William Weber, Vedaank Tiwari, Colin Ma and Vikram Vasan tied for second place at 3.0.
Thanks to organizer Charles Sun (see photo at left) and his always helpful parents for putting together another successful tournament. In spite of being a 10th grader at competitive Saratoga High School, Charles still finds the time to contribute to the chess community at least one weekend each year. The event ran smoothly and the venue in northeast San Jose was comfortable for both the players and the parents. Most, if not all, participants had a great time playing chess while indulging on extras such as complimentary croissants, chips, diet soda and water. Charles hopes to run another tournament when his school commitments allow. I'll be there!
Addendum March 20: The tournament has finally been USCF rated. Note that Daniel Liu's rating jumped from 1149 to 1372!