US Takes Gold at 2019 PanAmerican Youth

The United States delegation secured the first overall (combined) place at the recently concluded 2019 PanAmerican Youth Championship in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The overall finish was powered in part by a sweep of the Girls U10 section, where Omya Vidyarthi, Crystal Gu and Abbie Wu finished first overall, second, and third respectively. Omya’s 7.5/9 score went unmatched, while Crystal and Abbie’s 7.0 was a half point ahead of the field.

Other notable performances by Americans included Gus Huston’s victory in the U14 Absolute section. Gus, also scoring 7.5, secured the FIDE Master (FM) title in addition to his “gold” finish. Neeraj Harish managed a stunning 8.5/9 to run away with the U10 Absolute division, while Anh Nguyen also took clear first with an 8.0/9 score in the girls U14.

Maximillian Lu (7.5) and Roshan Idnani (7.0) went first-second in the U16 Absolute and the Velea sisters, Anne-Marie and Stephanie, took third place each in the U16 and U12 girls divisions.

In the top overall category, the U18 Absolute section, FM Christopher Shen managed a second place finish on 6.5, while FM Shunkai Peng finished barely out of the podium in fourth place just a half point behind.

The tournament itself was held at the Sheraton Guayaquil hotel and organized by the Ecuador Chess Federation. The American delegation met some difficulty as it was split between two hotels – the Sheraton itself and the Courtyard by Marriott. Despite the logistical problems and the difficult playing conditions – mostly associated with a very cramped playing hall – the American team kept high spirits throughout the event, convening after each round in two team rooms off the hotel lobby for game review and preparation for the next round.

The coaching staff was led by Head of Delegation Aviv Friedman and Assistant Head of Delegation GM Elshan Moradiabadi and featured some of America’s top coaching talent, including previous Olympiad coach GM Alex Lenderman. In total, 52 players represented the United States across the various divisions.

The next stop for the American team is in Weifang, China, for the World Cadet Championship. Team USA will look to replicate its PanAmerican success against teams from across the globe in U12, U10, and U8 Absolute and Girls divisions.

Complete standings from the 2019 PanAmerican Youth, including downloadable game files:

Games from the PanAms


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