|Posted: 7/10/2013 | Updated: 7/10/2013 | Photo|
Seven students participated in Master Camp in the second week. Ivan Ke continued his studies, while Justin Lee became a true member of the group (he attended the master camp infrequently during the first week). Also the experienced Nicholas Cardenas and Ashwin Anbu attended the lessons. Our old friends, Sasha and Nick Konovalenko who moved to Michigan a year ago came back to attend the camp as well. Nikita Popov, a rookie, decided to participate too. The group looked very balanced and only Justin aroused some worries because of his young age. It was difficult to imagine that he would successfully compete with others in chess and, even more so, in outdoor sports. To make a long story short, it was difficult for him, but he was able to perform very well. In fact in certain chess activities and outdoor sports he did even better than some of his elder classmates. A great difference in age did not prevent him to display what he was capable of at chess board and at the soccer field.
As usual, the rated tournament included 5 rounds. Since there were 7 participants, the element of luck was present: everyone except Sasha and Ashwin received a free point (buy) according to the computer drawing. Thus Nicholas Cardenas who received buy in the last round won the tournament even though he scored the same number of points as Sasha and Ashwin – 3. It’s apparent that Nicholas is already an experienced player who is quite knowledgeable. However sometimes he cannot withstand the pressure and makes bad mistakes. Ivan Ke (highest rated participant) also scored 3 points. Ivan is yet to fulfill his great potential. However, it is obvious that he has a great talent and can become a really strong player. Sasha played confidently as usual without gross mistakes. However, she was not lucky enough because Ivan and Nicholas Cardenas demonstrated their best play against her. Ashwin did not take advantage of his opportunities and lost position with great advantage against Nick Konobvalenko. Ashwin was the only one who beat Nick Cardenas and really competed for the first place. These 4 students were a bit stronger than the other three and therefore did better in the tournament. Nick Konovalenko plays very erratically. He is always ready to sacrifice material. Actually this trait is a virtue if a sacrifice is dictated by the position’s features.
But Nick’s sacrifices in the majority of cases are random and are not justified by the positions in which they are undertaken. Thus he puts himself at disadvantage right from the start. This is quite surprising because he does care about the result of his games and gets upset when he loses. Nikita Popov is still somewhat outshined by his elder classmates and it is sometimes difficult for him to keep his concentration till the end of the game. Besides he does not have enough knowledge of the opening theory. But of course, he can catch up. What is most important he is gifted and very interested in the game. The youngest participant – Justin, finished last having scored half a point. However, there is no reason for him to get upset because he has a great future. Actually he fought on equal terms against everybody and did not get points only because of his lack of experience. However his great chess talent is apparent.
The traditional blitz tournament extended throughout the whole week with each participant playing 18 games. Ivan Ke and Sasha Konovalenko competed for the first place. In the end Ivan won with 15 points. Sasha lagged a point behind. Cardenas scored 11.5 points, Ashwin – 7.5 points. Nick scored 5.5 points, Nikita -5 points, Justin – 4.5 points.
Just the same as during the first week, Ivan Ke was best at problem solving. The problems included tactical positions, complicated puzzles, and 2-3 move checkmates. Ivan excelled in all types of positions leaving in total the second place winner Sasha far behind. Interestingly enough the third place was captured by young Justin who left everybody else behind including nick C (4th place). Also a new nomination came into existence this week – for the best analysis of your own game. In fact analyzing games is a great asset for a player that enables him or her to penetrate chess positions and, ultimately, understand chess better. It’s a difficult and painstaking process that is particularly difficult for children who usually do not like to examine the nuances. Naturally this process was difficult for our students as well, especially for Justin who did not quite understand what was expected out of him. However, all students in their own way did their job. The students were expected to find the most apparent mistakes and identify the critical moments in their game. No great analysis was presented and we decided to award the prize to Nikita who spent the most time analyzing.
Interesting events took place outside. Sasha (the only girl in the camp!) was better than all of the boys, and captured the first place. Even Ashwin could not compete with her and got the second place. Nikita demonstrated a good physical shape and got the third place. The last place was captured by a seven year old Justin who, by the way, ran faster than some of his elder classmates.
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