Led by Girls, Team USA Triumphant in Santiago

USA took gold at the Pan-American Youth!

The XXIX Pan American Youth Chess Championships took place in Santiago, Chile, July 22 – 28.  Santiago is a densely populated city with 5.5 million people and sits in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range, approximately 2300 miles south of the Equator.  Since it is winter in the southern hemisphere, is was quite chilly but the USA players were quite hot!

Traveling to the event was a USA delegation of 57 players, 34 boys and 23 girls, accompanied by Head of Delegation Aviv Friedman and coaches IM Armen Ambartsoumian, IM Andranik Matikozyan and IM Kostya Kavutskiy, many parents and some private coaches.

There were 22 countries represented at the event. The host country had 203 participants, Peru sent 103 players and, as already mentioned, USA had 57.  A total of 640 players participated in the event.

Led by our girls, the USA players performed superbly.  Once the 9-round event had concluded, our players had earned four Gold, two Silver and six Bronze medals, as well as the Team Gold.  Although the girls made up 40 percent of our players, they won three of our four Gold medals and eight or our 12 overall medals in the main event!

Gold:  Omya Vidyarthi (U8G), Sophie Velea (U10G), Anne-Marie Velea (U14G) and Maximillian Lu (U16)

Silver:  Jed Sloan (U10) and Iris Mou (U10G)

Bronze:  Crystal Jiuzhou (U8G), Shawnak Shivakumar (U10), Sara Gupta (U10G), Rushaan Mahajan (U12), Ellen Wang (U12G) and Aasa Dommalati (U14G)

Medals were also awarded in the Blitz Championship and, once again, the USA girls led the way with five of our eight medals.

Gold:  Omya Vidyarthi (U8G) and Sara Gupta (U10G)

Silver:  Jocelyn Chen (U8G), Teja Pollard (U10G), Vyom Vidyarthi (U12), Gus Huston (U14), Aasa Dommalapati (U14G)

Bronze:  Aristo Liu (U16)

Omya had the distinction of being one of only two perfect 9-0 scores among the 12 championship sections in the main event.  The other player with a perfect score was Aleyla Hilario (U16G) of Peru.  Both players also participated in the Blitz and both won their respective division with Omya finishing 9-0, the only perfect score in the Blitz, so she was the only player in the event who finished 18-0 in the Pan Ams!!

Congratulations to all our 57 players who represented USA with distinction, and to the coaching staff who helped them throughout the event.  Our appreciation also goes to the parents who took the players to the event and to the hard work of private coaches who helped immensely with the development and preparation of many of the players.

Results for the main event may be found on chessresults. 

Results for the Blitz may be found on chessresults. 

The snow-capped Andes, 20 minutes before landing in Santiago.

Pre-tournament meeting of US Chess Delegation

The Polideportivo, venue of the 2018 Pan Am Youth, with the Andes on the background.

Playing Area

Omya – 18-0!!

Maximillian Lu came back from a first-round upset loss with seven straight wins and clinched the Gold!

Sophie Velea (black pieces), Gold in the U10 Girls!

Not to be outdone by her little sister, Anne-Marie Velea (white pieces) won Gold in the U14 Girls!



  1. What FIDE titles and/or norms were achieved?

    I’m thinking that Maximillian Lu (Under 16 Gold) may have been awarded the IM title?

  2. Jim – Good question, and I should have included that information in the article.

    U16 Open Champion Maximillian Lu would have received the FM title, but he is already an FM. He does get an IM Norm.

    U14 Girls – Anne-Marie Velea gets the WFM title. Aasa Domalapati would have received the WCM title, but she already has that.

    U12 Girls – For 3rd Place Ellen Wang would have received a WCM title, but she is already a WFM.

    U12 Open – For 3rd Place Rushaan earned the CM title.

    U10 Girls – Sophie Velea, Iris Mou and Sara Gupta all earned the WCM title. Sophie and Iris are already WCMs, but Sara does not have the title yet.

    U10 Open – Jed Sloan and Shawnak Shivakumar earned the CM title.

    U8 Girls – Omya Vidyarthi and Crystal Jiuzhou earned the WCM title. Omya is already a WCM but Crystal is not.

    The Table for Direct Titles is found in the FIDE website, at http://fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=199&view=article

    Direct titles are subject to minimum ratings as follows:

    GM – 2300 WGM – 2100
    IM – 2200 WIM – 2000
    FM – 2100 WFM – 1900
    CM – 2000 WCM – 1800

    This is only for direct titles earned at certain FIDE World, Continental and Continental Regional events and not for titles earned from norms (GM, WGM, IM, WIM) or rating (FM, WFM, CM, WCM). Players who earn direct titles and who do not have or have had the required minimum rating will get the title once the rating is achieved.

  3. I’m still waiting for complete details about the Pan-American Senior Championship which is scheduled to be held in the U S Virgin Islands in December.

    • I am also interested. There is absolutely no information about this event, other than month and location. Perhaps, Franc Quadalupe if he is reading this thread sheds some light on Senior event.

      • The Pan American Senior is scheduled to take place in St. Croix, December 7-15. However, no details have been announced.

        • I believe there is still the question of a tournament site. The usual site [the casino hotel] will still be closed from last year’s hurricane [Maria] damage. I have already booked my flights, but still have not arranged for a hotel on 12/6/18 in San Juan [morning flight on 12/7 to St. Croix] or a place in St. Croix either. I am thinking the island is small enough that I will not need a rental car while there.

    • As of today [August 22, 2018] there is now some information available on the USVI Chess web site regarding the Pan-American Senior Championship. Will there be an “official” delegation from the US? Can the USCF board designate those US players who do play as the “official” delegation? Anyone have any idea about this?

      • I’ve received a letter from the U S Virgin Islands Chess Federation. First of all it has a new mailing address: P O Box 26066 St. Croix VI 00824 for communication via “snail mail”. The website for reading the invitation and documenting all the registration documents is: http://www.usvichess.com. The member of the U S Chess National Senior Committee that might know more about a possible “official” delegation is David Grimaud. Jon Haskel who is active in the organization of “younger” age group events might also be knowledgable about this.

      • The website of the U S Virgin Islands Chess Federation is: http://www.usvichess.com . It has the information on the Pan-American Senior Championship available for downloading. For “snail mail” inquiries the new mailing address of the U S Virgin Islands Chess Federation is: P O Box 26066 St. Croix VI 00824.

      • Has anybody from the U S Chess National Senior Committee been contacted about this? I would be honored to be part of such a delegation.

    • The Aug 9th ChessBase writeup by Dejan Bojkov provided his perspective:

      “The only problem was the temperature. The event took place in the National Stadium. It was a spacious venue, but this extra space made it difficult for proper warming. The few heaters were highly insufficient to warm up the whole room. The players armed themselves with gloves, hats and coats, some were seen with blankets, but they were still suffering. It was winter in Chile…”

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