Battle for the West was a Battle of the Bay

The conclusion of the US Amateur Team West Championship held in Santa Clara, California ended in dramatic fashion, featuring the chess version of the Battle of the Bay. Cross-town chess organizations Bay Area Chess and Berkeley Chess School fielded strong teams and they faced each other in the final day of the championship. These teams featured some of the very best scholastic players and coaches from the Bay Area, including IM Kostya Kavutskiy (BAC-1), FM Ezra Chambers (BAC  Knight Kings), FM Rayan Taghizadeh (BAC-1), NM Rochelle Wu (BCS Wu-Hoo!), NM Derek Wu (BCS Wu-Hoo!), NM Vinesh Ravuri (BAC-1), NM Derek O’Connor (BCS Knight Kings). just to name a few. After 3 days of play, with 65 teams participating, the final day saw Table 1 matchups that paired Bay Area Chess’ top team against the two teams from Berkeley Chess, BCS Wu Hoo in Round 5 and BCS Knight Kings in Round 6, respectively. After some exciting and dramatic matches featuring these top young players, it was BAC-1 team winning the 2019 U.S. Amateur Team West Championship title on tiebreaks over BCS Wu-Hoo!

IA Tom Langland, FM Rayan Taghizadeh, NM Vinesh Ravuri, Daniel Kou, IM Kostya Kavutskiy, Organizer Judit Szataray, Ph.D

Both teams scored 5.5/6 for the tournament, but BayAreaChess had a better tiebreak scores by the slimmest of margins.  In fact, the tiebreak scores are an excellent example that every game matters! In this tournament, it was a game from another match on table 2 that affected the tiebreaks, giving the 2-point lead for BAC’s team in the first tiebreaker score. Lineups for the Top 3 finishers: 2019 USATW Champions BAC-1 (avg 2194) 5.5/6 Board 1: IM Kostya Kavutskiy (2471) Board 2: FM Rayan Taghizadeh (2390) Board 3: NM Vinesh Ravuri (2242) Board 4 Daniel Kou (1673) 2nd Place BCS Wu-Hoo! (avg 2183) 5.5/6 Board 1: NM Rochelle Wu (2284) Board 2: NM Derek Wu (2201) Board 3: NM Bryon Doyle (2162) Board 4: Greg Lope (2085) 3rd Place Bright Chess King (avg 2194) 5/6 Board 1: NM Eric Li (2218) Board 2: NM Rui Yang Yan (2180) Board 3: Joshua Lu (2086) Board 4: Daniel Cheng (2050)

# Name Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Tot TB-US Amat.) TB-Game pnts Prize
1 BAC TEAM 1 2194 W33 W14 W3 W8 D2 W4 5.5 71.25 16.5 1st Place
2 BCS WU HOO! 2183 W25 W24 W10 W6 D1 W9 5.5 69.25 16.5 2nd Place
3 BRIGHT CHESS KING 2134 W48 W17 L1 W18 W16 W11 5.0 68.25 18 3rd Place

  The final First and Second place teams battled in Round 5 and played to a 2-2 draw. FM Taghizadeh had this nice win against NM Wu on Board 2:

[pgn] [Event "2019 US Amateur Team West Championship"] [Site "Santa Clara, CA"] [Date "2019.02.18"] [White "FM Rayan Taghizadeh"] [Black "NM Derek Wu"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [WhiteElo "2390"] [BlackElo "2201"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 c5 3. e3 Nc6 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Nbd2 Qb6 6. dxc5 Qxb2 7. Rb1 Qc3 8. Bd3 g6 9. Nd4 a6 10. O-O Bg7 11. N2b3 e5 12. Ne2 Qb4 13. c3 Qa3 14. Bg3 Be6 15. f4 e4 16. Bc2 Nd7 17. Ned4 Nxc5 18. f5 gxf5 19. Bd6 Bf8 20. Nxc5 Bxd6 21. Ncxe6 fxe6 22. Rb3 Qa5 23. Qh5+ Kd8 24. Nxe6+ Kc8 25. Qxf5 Kb8 26. Rfb1 Rg8 (26... Ra7 27. a4 Ka8 28. Qf7 Rb8 29. Qd7 Be5 30. Rd1 Qxa4 31. Rxd5 b6 32. Rb2 (32. Rb1 Qc4 33. Rc5 Rxd7 34. Rxc4 Na5 35. Rxe4 Bxc3 36. Ra4 (36. Rh4 Re7 37. Nf4 Rxe3 38. Nd5 Re1+ 39. Rxe1 Bxe1 40. Rxh7 Rb7 41. Nc7+ Kb8 42. Nxa6+ Kc8 43. Bf5+ Kd8 44. Rh8+ Ke7 45. Bc8) 36... Re7 37. Nf4 Rxe3 38. Nd5 Re1+ 39. Rxe1 Bxe1 40. Bxh7 Rb7 41. Nc7+)) 1-0[/pgn]
Going into the final Round 4, four teams were tied at 4.5/5.0: BAC-1, BCS Wu Hoo!, BCS Knight Kings and @Muru.The.Guru. BAC-1 team faced another team from Berkeley Chess School, the BCS Knight Kings with another balanced line-up of players. BAC-1 Captain IM Kostya Kavutskiy showed what professionalism and leadership means, overcoming a round 1 upset loss to Shaashwath Sivakumar (1956) to roll on to 5 straight victories in Rounds 2-6. His final round win against FM Ezra Chambers helped seal the victory, while other team members scored 1.5 points.
[pgn] [Event "2019 US Amateur Team West Championship"] [Site "Santa Clara, CA"] [Date "2019.02.18"] [White "IM Kostya Kavutskiy"] [Black "FM Ezra Chambers"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A65"] [WhiteElo "2471"] [BlackElo "2366"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. e4 g6 7. Nge2 Bg7 8. Ng3 O-O 9. Be2 b6 10. O-O Ba6 11. Bg5 Bxe2 12. Qxe2 Nbd7 13. f4 h6 14. Bh4 Re8 15. a4 a6 16. Rae1 Qc7 17. Qd2 c4 18. Kh1 Nh7 19. e5 dxe5 20. d6 Qc6 21. Nd5 exf4 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Ne7+ Rxe7 24. dxe7 Qe6 25. Rd1 Nhf6 26. Re1 Ne5 27. Qd8+ Kh7 28. Bxf6 Bxf6 29. Rxe5 1-0[/pgn]
In the final round, BAC-1 defeated BCS Knight Kings 2.5-1.5 and BCS Wu-Hoo! Defeated 2.5-1.5 to both finish in a tie for first, with BAC-1 taking the championship on tiebreaks. BAC-1 will now move on to play in the national championship. Team Captain IM Kostya Kavutskiy has now gone back to back with USATW victories, after his San Jose Hackers were awarded the championship title in 2018 after an ethics investigation. In the rest of the field, best under 2000 were the youngsters from Hopkins School, the Hopkins Hawks – X Factor. Along the other team members, Maurya Palusa scored important points finishing 4.5/6 on Board 2 for them. An up and rising new chess club, Bright Chess fielding many teams with great talents, their Bright Chess 2 team won the under 1800 category. Also winning the under 1600, under 1400 and under1200 categories were Check and Checkmate, Fallon Mustangs, and EVHS and Studygascar chess teams, respectively. Special categories of Elementary School team went to the Fort Knights and of High School team to @Muru.The.Guru while Top Club category went to BCS Knight Kings and Top College category was awarded to the Unusual Children’s Book, one of the 4 UC Berkeley teams participating at the 2019 USATW. Congratulations to all the teams that participated, and good luck to the Champions of the West as they look to bring the national championship title to the Bay Area. The event was a great success,  and was organized by Bay Area Chess, led by 2017 Organizer of the Year Dr. Judit Sztaray, and a top class TD staff that included 2016 TD of the Year NTD/IA Tom Langland and NTD/FA John Mccumiskey. Final results for the entire event can be found by following this link. Check out photos on Facebook here.

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