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:

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.

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.


Leave a Comment

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Announcements

  • US Chess Press