NorCal House of Chess Kids Dominate National Chess Tournament in Orlando, Florida!
Close to 400 kids pushed pawns at the U.S. National Junior Congress Chess Festival held in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend of July 15th /16th (2023). Organized by Joe Hanley in cooperation with the United States Chess Federation (USCF), the event was held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Hotel. Eager players from eight U.S. states and three different countries flocked to compete at the prestigious event and try their hand at winning a variety of awards.
Northern California kids from the nationally-acclaimed Norcal House of Chess, a chess club located in Fremont, dominated the team awards at the National tournament, sweeping all of the fields they
participated in and taking home no less than 5 team trophies by the end of the event.
The tournament, which spanned two days and five games, witnessed tough games and hours of intense
play. The time control of the tournament, 90 minutes with 5 second delay (meaning that each player
had more than 1.5 hours on their side of the clock at the start of every round) meant that many games
lasted more than 3 hours, with 3 rounds on Saturday and 2 rounds on Sunday. Furthermore, with
multiple teams vying for the top prize, it’s safe to say the competition was fierce and ripe.
Spearheaded by their top-notch Coach, Ted Castro, a total of 22 players from Norcal House of Chess
traveled nearly 2500 miles to the other side of the country to test their mettle against some of the top
players in their age groups. Many of the players had little tournament experience, and were paired up against higher-rated players in hours-long games. Despite starting against the odds, however, this group of kids did not disappoint.
In the 8 & under division, Harshini Arun, Nikita Karthik, Zachary Li and Shanvi Vivek, all Fremont residents, amassed 5.5 points to bag the 1 st place trophy for the team!
In the 10 & Under section, Mowen Sun (San Francisco), Alexander Huang (Fremont) and Samuel Liu (Union City) tallied 6 points for the team to also win first place.
The 12 & under category was tricky since there were more teams who competed and much tougher individual competition. However, this was not enough to faze Fremont kids. Led by Ojas Parhar, who scored 3 points for the team and tied for 8th place, the team included Menaja Sathyaprakash, Rachita Vivek and Ayaan Rao (all Fremont residents). Together, the team won first place with a total of 7.5 points, toppling the second-place winners by a margin of three full points.
The 14 & under category was outshone by NorCal. Led by Grace Liu (who took home the 6th place trophy, scoring three points), Vivaan Parhar, Akshara Gelya, Tara Prem, Antony Niu, and Maximus Glenn bested the other teams to, once again, clinch the 1 st place trophy. All of them are from Tri-City.
The toughest competition of the tournament came in the combined section of 16 & 18-Under. However, despite facing teams with significantly higher-rated players, Tri-City kids were able to gain the win, as a result of impressive teamwork: Led by Tyler Ung from Union City (who tied for 7th place), Evelyn Zhao, Amar Dhami, Ryan Wong, and Palash Agarwal all from Fremont.
There were also a couple of kids who participated in the side events: Ayaan Rao, tied for 2nd in the
warm up scholastics in his section on Friday and Grace Liu who also tied for 2nd place in the blitz
tournament on Saturday.
In the end, preparation for the National tournament required hard work and serious dedication from
all participants, coaches, and parents alike, displaying an enthusiastic joint effort. Winning aside, the
tournament’s participants enjoyed two days of excitement and fun, from to-the-wire games to new
friendships to even “check”-ing out the vibrant city of Orlando.
Junior players of all ages and skill levels were able to walk out of the tournament with new insights
stemming from their wins and losses, triumphs and defeats, and victories and disappointments. Some
walked away without wins but with new ideas and motivation, and others were crowned victors of the
tournament. That is… until next year, of course.
article written by: Tara Prem, 14, Fremont Resident; Rising high school freshman going to The Harker School.
NHC students in Dubai! Several former NHC students are particpating in the WorldSchool Chess Tournament organized by Spain Pavilion. Former NHC students WCM Ashley Pang, Mauria Palusa, Saatvik Krishnan, Yesun Lee and National Master Kevin Pan!
BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO NHC student Yesun Lee. She won the Gold Medal at the North American Youth Chess Championships in Canada. She earned a title Woman FIDE Master. Yesun has attended several special group classes at NorCal and was taught by Coach Ted Castro. She also goes to Weibel Elementary and trained by coaches from Weibel Chess.
CONGRATULATIONS to NORCAL kids for winning 3 major divisions at the SUPER STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS last March 11 & 12, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.
NORCAL kids won the Team Championships for the K-6 Varsity, K-5 Varsity and the Kindergarten section!!!
KUDOS to NORCAL HOUSE OF CHESS students who dominated the recently-concluded National Junior Congress last January 21 & 22 in Livermore. In the team competition, we won 4 National Championship Team Titles (4 out of 6 sections that we participated in!).
In the TEAM competition, NHC students won the following divisions:
16-under (1st Place!)
Srivatsa Puranam, Aadya Mishra, Srichara Guddanti,
Daniel Vasilyev & Aiushe Mishra
14-under (1st Place!)
Nicholas Manuto, Ronit Pattanayak, Aditya Kumar,
Mihir Kinjawadekar, Mateusz Zielinski, Atul T.
10-under (1st place!)
Ujan Ray, Samik P. Ashley P., Saativk K.
Katherine P., Pranav S., Prathul & Rithvik
6-under (1st place!)
Asa Liu, Advay Bansal, Elizur Kirshner,
Brian Zhang, Sophiena Mendoza
8-under (5th place)
Yiyang, Krishna, Tanush, Eshaan, Rishi,
Guhan, and Leonardo
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF YOU! AWESOME JOB!