Erick Zhao Wins the 2018 American Youth Foundation Grand Championship

The Grand Championship tournament hall

This was our 2nd annual tournament on June 2-4 at the Renaissance Hotel at Sea World in Orlando, FL. We had 114 players competing in not only our main event on Saturday and Sunday but also our side events, including Friday night blitz and bughouse tournaments and a puzzle solving tournament on Saturday night. In addition, there was an Adult Fun Tournament on Saturday evening with 4 of our parents coming out and enjoying their 3-game quad tournament.

In our main event, our sections of Open, Under 1900, Under 1600, Under 1300, Under 1000, Saturday Under 700, Sunday Under 700, Saturday Under 400 & UNR, Sunday Under 400 & UNR, Saturday K/6 Non-Rated, and Sunday K/6 Non-Rated were played over two days with each section having their own time controls. Several players who competed are currently rated in the Top 100  in their ages in the USA. Players came from different states with California, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and Florida all represented.

Jamaican Club Leader Ryan Blackwood with students

In addition, a terrific club from Jamaica lead by Coach Ryan Blackwood came again this second year with a very strong contingent of high rated members. All competition was fierce with several upsets in each section of more than 150 rating points.

Erick Zhao won clear 1st in the open section. He was seeded #4 entering the tournament and had a great event, winning each one of his games and defeating seeds #1-3 seeds in the process.

Here is one of his favorite games from the tournament:

Here are the results with the names, the state or country they come from, and the scholarship award they won.

Open Section

1st Erick Zhao (FL) $800

2nd/3rd  – Jackie Liu (FL), Benjamin Chen (FL)  $450 each

4thAndy Yang (FL)  $250


Under 1900

1stGarret Liao (CA) $650

Under 1900 Champion Garret Liao

2ndNicholas Lyn (Jamaica) $450

3rdJayden Lang (FL), David Liu (FL), Jason Shen (TN), Donovan Wu (FL), and Andrew Xing (FL)  $50 each


Under 1600

1stAbhiram Pothuri (FL) $500

2ndDarren McKennis (Jamaica) $300

3rdJaden Shaw (Jamaica), Andrew Ye (FL), Kyle Pratt (FL), and Jolie Huang (FL) $50 each


Under 1300

1stArmani Dyer (Jamaica) $350

2ndJianlin Chen (FL) $250

3rdKevin Liu (FL) $150


Our Foundation’s upcoming tournaments are:

  1. 2019 American Youth Championship – January 20-21, 2018 at the Atrium Hotel in Irvine. CA.
  2. 2019 American Youth Chess Foundation Grand Championship – July 12-14, 2019 at Renaissance Hotel at Sea World in Orlando, FL
  3. 2020 American Youth Chess Foundation Grand Championship – June 31-July 2, 2020 at Renaissance Hotel at Sea World in Orlando, FL
  4. 2021 American Youth Chess Foundation Grand Championship – July 2-4, 2021 at Renaissance Hotel at Sea World in Orlando, FL

If you wish to see the USCF rating report for this year’s Grand Championship, please visit this link:

I want to thank our Tournament Staff of Steve Lampkin and John Marble who worked hard to make this and last year’s tournaments run smooth. Mr. Lampkin also provided a very nice bookstore with books and equipment for everyone’s needs.


The American Youth Chess Foundation was created in 2016 and granted 501(c)(3) status in January, 2017. The mission/goal of this Foundation is to help our nation’s youth help to pay for college expenses through winning scholarships competing in chess tournaments. If anyone wishes to donate, join our mission, or have questions, please reach out to Joe Hanley at [email protected] I hope to see you all at our upcoming tournaments.

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