The Grade Nationals are back at the Coronado Springs Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida. This is my first time at this venue, but it’s definitely not the first time the Grade Nationals have been held here. Personally, I like this venue a lot- there’s a lake planted in the middle of the resort (I heard that an alligator was seen in it today- a Disney attraction!?), which you can take a walk around, and the space is laid out in such a way that’s conducive to walking outdoors. Sometimes at these events, you can spend three days without going outside, but at the Coronado that’s not a danger.
The first two rounds feature lopsided matches rating-wise, and as far as I could see, there were no upsets on the top boards. Some of the younger sections have a clear front runner who is one to two hundred+ points higher rated than the nearest competitor. That is the case with Grade 3 (Nico Chasin, 2038), Grade 4 (Maximillian Lu, 2172), Grade 5 (Daniel Hung, 2094). In the older sections, the top seeds are not far removed from the rest.
An interesting section to watch? Grade 8. The first board there is Emily Nguyen (2201, Texas), and there are actually 4 girls in the top 10 seeds (two from New York and two from Texas)! Would be great if one of our well-informed readers could tell us when was the last time a girl won a Grade Nationals, but hopefully it will be this year.
Three rounds coming up on Saturday will show us who will position themselves to win the Championship! Stay tuned!
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