World Youth Championship - Here I Come!

I am now on the countdown for the World Youth Championship.  I leave one week from today!!!  It seems like not too long ago that it was forever away and now it is only a week!  I have had a lot of people asking me if I am excited.  The answer is definitely!!  I have worked SOOO hard these last few weeks to get ready and I am feeling pretty good about my preparation.  I think I have had more lessons in the last week from both of my coaches than I have had in the last month before that and I have several more planned for this week.  And I have definitely played a lot more tournament games recently!!  I am now 24-0 in my over-the-board “preparation” tournament games.  I appreciate everyone in Utah who has helped me prepare and has given me some good strong games!!

From the United States, we have a record number of participants this year according to USCF National Educational Consultant, Jerry Nash (and the guy in charge of organizing the whole thing for the US—I wouldn’t want his job).  Here is what he said, “With 40 players and a total of 104 delegates, this has to be a US record for attendance at the World Youth! These players - and their families(!) - have worked hard throughout the year for this opportunity and I have no doubt that the experience they will gain from an event of this caliber will have an impact even beyond their chess endeavors in the years to come. " GMs John Fedorowicz (who will also report for Chess Life Magazine), Sam Palatnik and FIDE Senior Trainers Michael Khodarkovsky, IM Armen Ambartsoumiam and FM Aviv Friedman will coach and lead the team. 

Here is a list of the participants from the United States (the ones bolded and italicized are the official representatives):

U8 Girls  
Annie Wang
Kaavya Ramesh
Emily Nguyen
Joanna Liu
U10 Girls   

Devina Devagharan
Reve Singh
Nicole Zlotchevsky
Samritha Palakollu
U12 Girls  

Simone Liao
Alice Dong
Apurva Virkud
Mariya Oreshko
Margaret Hua
U14 Girls   

Sarah Chiang
Jessica Regam
Claudia Munoz
U16 Girls  

Anna Matlin
U18 Girls  

Anjali Datta
U8 Boys  

Aravind Kumar
Awonder Liang
Rayan Taghizadeh
Praveen Balakrishnan
U10 Boys 

Samuel Sevian
Tommy He
Jeffery Xiong
Jonathan Chiang
Vignesh Panchanatham
Cameron Wheeler
U12 Boys  

Kayden Troff 
Christopher Wu
Joshua Colas
Kapil Chandran
Dachey Lim
Justus Williams
Kesav Viswanadha
Allan Beilin
U14 Boys  

David Adelberg
Atulya Shetty
U18 Boys  

Steve Zierk
Jeffrey Haskel

To be named as the US Official Representative, you had to be the highest rated player in each category as of the USCF April Supplement.  I am excited to go with the other kids from the United States.   Several of them are already my friends and I am sure many more will be by the end.  It will be lots of fun (even with the intense pressure of playing in a World Championship J)!!

This past weekend, I played in the Utah Open Championship to celebrate National Chess Day.  It went over 2 days with 5 rounds.  I had to take a bye in the third round because we went to my good friend’s (Lauren Trieman) Bat-Mitzvah.  I won all my games giving me clear first with 4.5 out of 5.  The best part was the $200 prize money and bonus trophy…..oh no, that is not right…..the funnest part (funnest is a word!!  It was added to the dictionary this year…pretty sure…could be wrong) was playing chess….yeah, that’s it.  Now I will have money to buy DS games to keep me entertained on the 19 hour flights and souvenirs for all the people who have said that I have to bring something back to them from Greece!

My puzzle for this week comes from my final game of the tournament: