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2018 US Cadet - Day 2 report

Posted: 9 months, 2 weeks ago

by IM Vignesh Panchanatham

 

On the first full day of the 2018 US Cadet Championship, both rounds were filled with exciting games. Out of the four games in each round, only one was drawn, bringing the total number of decisive games in the tournament so far up to 8.

In round 2, Jason Wang’s minority attack helped him go a pawn up against Max Li, but after Max sacrificed an exchange, the tables turned. Black’s attack became extremely strong, and eventually Max got two pawns for the exchange and converted the resulting endgame. 

Josiah Stearman achieved a solid edge with white against Aravind Kumar and attempted to squeeze for a long time. Josiah’s good knight vs. bad bishop position was helped by his opponent’s time troubles in both time controls. Eventually, Josiah converted a tricky pawn endgame for the full point.

Rayan Taghizadeh jumped out to a quick advantage after some opening tactics. His strong pawn on c6 was eventually stopped, but only when his opponent, Akira Nakada, sacrificed a piece. Rayan pushed a second pawn all the way, and Akira’s attempts to queen his own pawns were easily thwarted.

After multiple trades, Gabriel Sam and David Brodsky ended up in a queen and knight vs. queen and bishop endgame. David pushed for an attack, but when his king got too exposed, he got out with a perpetual. 

In round 3, David and Rayan, the two top seeds were matched up. In a Ruy Lopez, Rayan made a mistake with black and was unable to recover. He attempted to make the most of his position by trading a queen for two rooks, but with two extra pawns, David was able to convert. After the loss, Rayan said, “I haven’t played in 5 months so I’m a bit rusty.”

Josiah equalized quickly against Akira and even gained a slight edge with black. However, Akira underestimated the strong g5 pawn push that won Josiah a pawn at the cost of exposing his king. White’s attack fizzled out and then Josiah made the most of Akira’s inaccuracies in the resulting rook endgame. Despite two losses, Akira said, “I’m feeling pretty optimistic even after facing two strong opponents today. My calculation is good, I’ve just been making a few blunders here and there.”

 In a game with many twists and turns, Aravind faced Max with the white pieces. Aravind pushed many pawns on the kingside, but was unable to put too much pressure on the black king. Max counterattacked on the queenside, but his attack also fizzled out, leaving him with a misplaced knight. That knight was then sacrificed for two advanced queenside passed pawns, and Aravind eventually had to give it back to stop the pawns. In the resulting rook endgame, Max was up a pawn, but overpressed, and Aravind was able to win a rook.

During the lone draw of the round, Gabriel was unable to achieve an advantage with the white pieces. There was still a lot of opportunities, but both players decided to conserve their energy for the rest of the tournament with a peaceful result.

After three rounds of play, Josiah holds the sole lead of the tournament with a perfect 3/3. He is trailed by David with 2.5/3 and then Rayan, Gabriel, and Aravind are all hoping that those two falter to catch up with 1.5/3.

 

The next rounds will be at 10 AM and 4 PM on Saturday, July 14. Spectators are welcome at the office to follow game onsite in person!

Follow along live with http://www.calchess.org/dgt/USCadet/index.htmlor download PGNs after each round at bayareachess.com/cadet. Check out the BayAreaChess Facebook page for pictures, videos, and updates! Come back tomorrow to read the report from the third day.