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.