Flash Report: U.S.A. Takes Gold at XXXIII Pan-American Youth Chess Festival

645 players from 21 countries came to Chicago, IL for the XXXIII Pan-American Youth Chess Festival. The tournament, held August 12 through 18, was organized by the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation in conjunction with the International Chess School, the Confederation of Chess for Americas, and US Chess.

Of the 12 sections (six open sections and six female sections, ranging by age from under-eight to under-18), American players earned 11 gold medals. Only Mia Fernanda Guzman Garcia — the gold medalist in the Under-10 Female section — prevented the clean sweep.

In addition to Guzman Garcia’s gold, Canada and Peru also boasted several medal winners. Indeed, Peru had two individual silver medalists, while Mexico and Canada each had one. Canada also boasted three individual bronze medalists. These were the only three federations (besides U.S.A.) whose players won individual medals.



In the team standings, U.S.A. won the gold (with 58 points!), with Mexico taking silver ahead of Canada (five points each) on tiebreaks. Team scores were tabulated by awarding three points per gold medal, two per silver, and one per bronze. Due to winning an individual gold, Mexico took home the team silver medal on tiebreaks. Peru finished fourth in the team standings, one point behind Mexico and Canada.

This tournament is particularly prestigious due to the opportunity for medalists to earn direct titles. Most noticeably, American Kelsey Liu earned the WIM title. In all, 31 players earned new titles (in addition to several who already had the title they would have earned) across the 12 sections.

Additionally, FM Erick Zhao earned an IM norm for winning the Under-16 Open section and WFM Erin Bian earned a WIM norm.

The nine-round FIDE-rated tournament featured games played at the international classical time control of game-in-90-minutes with a 30-second increment starting from move one. Please check back later this week for annotated games from several of the medalists. (Update 8/25/2023: annotated games are available here)

For now, please see below for photos and norm information on medalists. (Note: for photo captions, please 'hover' your cursor over the photo.)

Under-18 Open

First: IM Robert Shlyakhtenko (USA), 7/9

Second: Hersh Singh (USA), 6½/9

Third: CM Max Rusonik (CAN), 6½/9

Titles: Singh and Rusonik each earned FM title


Under-18 Female

First: Kelsey Liu (USA), 7/9

Second: WFM Erin Bian (USA), 7/9

Third: Sahana Aravindakshan (USA), 6½/9

Titles: Liu earned WIM title, Aravindakshan earned WFM title

Norms: Bian earned WIM norm


Under-16 Open

First: FM Erick Zhao (USA), 8/9

Second: FM Santiago Zacarias Rodriguez (MEX), 6½/9

Third: Krish Bhandari (USA), 6½/9

Titles: Bhandari earned CM title (pending 2000+ FIDE rating)

Norms: Zhao earned IM norm


Under-16 Female

First: FM Zoey Tang (USA), 8½/9

Second: WFM Maria Teresa Jimenez Salas (PER), 7/9

Third: Angela Liu (USA), 6½/9

Titles: Tang earned WIM title, Liu earned WCM title


Under-14 Open

First: Sihan Tao (USA), 7½/9

Second: Isaac Wang (USA), 7½/9

Third: Leo Lin (CAN), 7/9

Titles: Tao earned FM title, Wang and Lin each earned CM title


Under-14 Female

First: Chloe Gaw (USA), 7½/9

Second: Blanco Maria Fernanda Herrada (PER), 6½/9

Third: Avery Yu (USA), 6½/9

Titles: Gaw earned WFM title, Herrada and Yu each earned WCM title


Under-12 Open

First: CM Ryan Sun (USA), 7½/9

Second: Yiding Lu (USA) 7½/9

Third: Aiden Q Liu (USA), 7½/9

Titles: Sun earned FM title, Lu and Liu each earned CM title (pending 2000+ FIDE rating for Lu)


Under-12 Female

First: Megan Althea Paragua (USA), 7½/9

Second: Rae Chen (CAN), 7½/9

Third: Jwalanthi Ram (USA), 6½/9

Titles: Paragua earned WFM title, Chen and Ram each earned WCM title (pending 1800+ FIDE rating for Ram)


Under-10 Open

First: CM Ethan Guo (USA), 7½/9

Second: Sharath Radhakrishnan (USA), 7/9

Third: Kyle Qiyu Dong (USA), 7/9

Titles: Radhakrishnan and Dong each earned CM title (pending 2000+ FIDE ratings)


Under-10 Female

First: Mia Fernanda Guzman Garcia (MEX), 7½/9

Second: Laura Qiu (USA), 7/9

Third: Ashley Qian (CAN), 6½/9

Titles: Garcia, Qiu, and Qian each earned WCM title (pending 1800+ FIDE ratings)


Under-8 Open

First: Sasha Milo Schaefer (USA), 7½/9

Second: Sriansh Katta (USA), 7½/9

Third: Yi Sha (USA), 7/9

Titles: Schaefer, Katta, and Sha each earned CM title (pending 2000+ FIDE ratings)


Under-8 Female

First: Abigail Zhou (USA), 7½/9

Second: Lillian Han (USA), 7/9

Third: Celine Chen (USA), 7/9

Titles: Zhou, Han, and Chen each earned WCM title (pending 1800+ FIDE ratings)