The best part of my job is sometimes I feel like the kids I teach are great intellectuals and I'm simply lucky to have met them. The fact that I am 32 and they are 13 is just a coincidence of life which allows me to be their "teacher."
So I went with 24 of them to Texas last weekend for the National Grade Championships. The eighth graders won clear first, beating an incredible team of 4 1800s taught by my first chess teacher, the wonderful Mike Feinstein. He taught me for maybe three months when I was eleven, and I still remember how much I looked forward to my lesson every week. He wrote me out some notes once on long yellow sheets of legal paper: what to do if you are down a pawn, what to do if you are down an exchange, etc. I read and reread them until the pages fell apart..
The sixth graders tied for second but got third on tiebreaks, and the seventh graders tied for third (fourth on tiebreaks). They also won both the K-6 and the K-12 blitz tournaments. I had an amazing amount of help: Greg Shahade selflessly volunteered his time; Yuri Lapshun, Fritz Gaspard, and Shaun Smith of Chess in the Schools also worked brilliantly, cheerfully and tirelessly. Yuri in particular is an analysis machine: by round seven I could barely see straight, but he was still going strong.
So here are a couple amusing chess moments from my top scoring eighth grader, Angelica Berrios (far right in the picture).
25.... Rxe3+ 26.fxe3 Qxh4+ 27.Kd1 Rf1+ 28.Ke2 Rf2+ 29.Kd3 Qe4+ 30.Kc3 Qc4#
And this I feel like is just a nice game overall, displaying Angelica's understanding, calm-headedness, and resilience.
Danny Chen 1883 - Angelica Berrios 1626
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 0–0 8.Nge2 Nbd7 9.0–0 Nb6 10.Bb3 Bf5 11.Ng3 Bg6 12.f4 h6 13.f5 Bh7 14.Nce2 Nbd5 15.Nf4 Nxf4 16.Bxf4 c6 17.Qd2 Bd6 18.Rad1 Bxf4 19.Qxf4 Re8 20.Qf3 Qd6 21.d5 Qc5+ 22.Qf2 Qxf2+ 23.Rxf2 Ng4 24.Rf4 Ne3 25.Rd3 cxd5 26.Kf2 Nc4 27.Bxc4 dxc4 28.Rxc4 Kf8 29.Rd7 Rad8 30.Rxb7 Rd2+ 31.Kf3 Rd3+ 32.Kf4 Rd2 33.Kf3 Rd3+ 34.Kg4 Rd2 35.Kh3 g5 36.Rcb4
I'm writing a Chess Life article about the tournament, which I'm excited about: I have a number of interesting interviews and quotes. My angle is "Scholastic Chess: Why Texas??" and in particular "How come every* talented scholastic Texan player is Asian?" It should be in the March issue.
* Sorry, "almost every"