K-12 Grade Championships Kick Off in Orlando

Hans Niemann didn’t bother to hide his ambition when faced with the cameras.

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After Thursday night, he only has seven games to go. The real work starts today at 1pm EST. Niemann, an International Master and the top seed in the 11th Grade Championship, went a combined 22-0 in the preliminary Bughouse and Blitz events on Thursday. Niemann and teammate Vincent Baker were a perfect 10-0 in the 33 team bughouse event. Four teams finished two points back at 8-2.

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Niemann then dominated the K-12 Blitz, going 12-0 and winning the event by a full 2.5 points. Three players – James Dill, Aria Hoesley, and Gus Huston – tied for second place with 9.5 points.

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Samuel He was the surprise winner of the K-6 Blitz. He, rated 1780 coming into the weekend, finished at 11-1 and won over a field of multiple experts and A players. Vaseegaran Nanehakumar and Nathaniel Mullodzhanov tied for second place with 10.5 points.

The Main Event
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The first moves of the K-12 Grade Championships are being made as this report goes to press. An initial count of 1782 players vying for trophies and glory at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, which (as things stands) represents an improvement over last year’s 1701 players. Top players include Niemann in Grade 11, Wesley Wang in Grade 10, Vincent Tsay in Grade 9 and new NM Brewington Hardaway in Grade 5. Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi is in the Grade 4 event, and at 1897 is seeded fifth. US Chess is providing live coverage of top boards throughout the event, and streaming Twitch coverage with GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez and US Women's Champ WGM Jennifer Yu beginning with round 5 on Saturday night.

Friday and Saturday Side Events

Guest Grandmaster Var Akobian gave a simultaneous exhibition this morning, taking on 20 players with ratings ranging from 520 to 2004. While Akobian ran the table, going a perfect 20-0, it wasn’t easy.

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Akobian will be in Veracruz B beginning at 2:30 to play blitz against all comers for two hours. The event will repeat tomorrow at the same time and place. Friday morning also saw the first in a series of seminars from US Chess. Executive Board member Ryan Velez presented a talk on “My First Tournament,” designed to answer any questions that newcomers to national events might have. He presents on “The Benefits of Chess as an Educational Tool” Saturday at 10am in Veracruz C. Akobian will follow Velez Saturday morning, giving a lecture in the same room at 11:30am.

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The ever-popular Girls Club is up and running. Head to the Laredo room today at 3pm for “Puzzles and Welcome” with US Chess Women’s Program Director Jennifer Shahade, and stick around for some crafting and chess instruction! The Girls Club is open all weekend, and special guests like Yu and WIM Carolina Blanco will be dropping by!

K-12 Chess Championships Quick Links: 

Information page

Twitter hashtag #k12chesschamps

PDF Schedule

PDF Newsletter

Live Games

Twitch stream

Twitter #K12ChessChamps

Pre-registered players in 13 sections and blitz

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