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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

US Chess Team Bags Eight Medals at Pan Am Youth!

Alexandra Kosteniuk's Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) 2013

Hi everyone, 
Front row: Jessica Regam, Maggie Feng, Shaileja Jain, Kevin Chor, Aasa Dommalapati, Naomi Bashkansky, Chase Frutas, Cole Frutas. Back row: Michael Khodarkhovsky, Aviv Friedman, Armen Ambartsoumian, Shyam Gandhi, Alvin Cao, Ethan Bashkansky, Shaurya Jain, Agata Bykhovtsev.

The Brazilian South-Western spa city of Pocos de Caldas was the venue for the 2013 Pan American Youth championships, held between July 25-August 1, writes FST & FM Aviv Friedman.
The president of the Brazilian chess federation, main organizer GM Darcy Lima and his able crew, once again did a fine job in running this multi-country event. We owe them a debt of gratitude for obliging our unique travel and accommodations needs!

Our delegation quickly acclimated at the comfy Golden Park hotel, up the hill from the convention center, where all the games took place. The steep circular road from the hotel to the hall was a slalom skier’s dream (or a mountain climber trainee’s going back up!), but the organizers thoughtfully arranged for a continuous shuttle to and fro.

As its name implies, the event is open for youth players up to age 18, from the American continents (19 countries were represented this year), divided to sectionals under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18 years of age – both for girls and open. Our delegation was smaller than previous years – 17 players plus parents, family members, and coaches. Team coaches were IM and FST Armen Ambartsoumian, FST Michael Khodarkovsky, and your narrator, who served as the head of delegation, while GM Dejan Bojkov and IM Andranik Matikozian came as private coaches.

Airfares were sky high, due to the Pope’s visit to Brazil at the same dates, and many chose the North American Youth, scheduled right after the event, in the much-closer Toronto, Canada. A 10+ hour flight (and more to some!), ‘complemented’ by a 4-5 hour bus ride from Sao Paulo is not for everyone! The silver lining in this cloud was that with a good coach to player ratio (even with a crammed schedule of 9 round over 6 days), we have managed to maximize our pre game prep sessions, and post game analysis ones. (Continue reading at the US Chess Federation official website)

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