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2018 US Cadet - Day 4 report

Posted: 11 months, 2 weeks ago

by IM Vignesh Panchanatham

 

Heading into the final rounds of the US Cadet Championship, David Brodsky led the field by a point and a half. His closest competitor, Josiah Stearman, needed to score at least 1.5/2 and likely more to even have a chance at catching David.

In round 6, Aravind Kumar took control of the d-file against David and didn’t look back. With the help of some accurate tactical play, he went into a rook endgame two pawns up. Aravind ensured that David had no drawing chances and converted easily.

Josiah and Rayan Taghizadeh went into a Scandinavian position and traded queens quickly. In the queenless middlegame, Josiah used the open c-file to target Rayan’s pawns. Instead of losing pawns and playing passively, Rayan sacrificed a piece for four pawns. However, Rayan played too aggressively and was unable to sustain his pawn mass.

In a Sicilian, Gabriel Sam nullified Max Li’s kingside pawn storm with a prompt e5 push. Both players brought all their pieces to the kingside to continue attacking, but it was Max’s lack of cover and overextended pawns that gave Gabriel the decisive advantage.

Jason Wang and Akira Nakada’s Queen’s Gambit trickled into an even two bishops and knight endgame. However, a tactical slip by Akira allowed Jason to win a pawn. In the ensuing endgame, Jason slowly improved his position until he was finally able to convert into a winning pawn endgame.

After David’s misstep and Josiah’s win in round 6, the pressure was on everybody in the final round. With 3.5/6, Gabriel also had a shot to tie for first if David lost. The two leaders hoped to both claim clear first, while the rest of the field wanted to claim a share of the prize money. 

Josiah attempted to capture Jason’s g7 pawn, only to realize that it would require him to sacrifice a piece. Despite being down two pawns, Josiah played extremely actively to push Jason’s pieces back. Eventually Jason had to sacrifice an exchange and the two players reached a draw in the rook vs. two knights endgame.

Akira seemed to have equalized in the French Defence against David, but just as he was about to castle, he allowed a devastating sacrifice. Unable to take the piece, Akira attempted to resist, but David’s pieces were too coordinated for him to get any chances.

An early tactical mistake from Max led to Rayan quickly winning a piece and later the game. With not much to play for, Gabriel and Aravind agreed on a quick draw.

After a scare in the morning, David secured clear first with a win in the last round. Hampered by an unfortunate day 3, Josiah was forced to settle with clear second, and Gabriel finished clear third with a strong final day.

Congratulations once again to David for a very strong performance and to the rest of the players for some well-fought games.

Complete results are posted along with downloadable pgn file from: www.bayareachess.com/cadet
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See you next year: BayAreaChess is the official organizer of the 2019 US Cadet National Championship!