Inland Chess Academy
~ by James Stripes ------ See pictures on Inland Chess Facebook.
Cataldo School prevailed over Libby to win the first place team trophy at the March Madness youth tournament. Cataldo's top four players scored 14.5 to Libby's 13.5. Libby earned the second place team trophy. Host school, Saint George's (9.5), finished in fourth, half a point behind the home school group from Hope Lutheran (10.0), the only other team to beat Libby in the 2016-2017 season. Shaw Middle School (7.5) was the only other team with four players. In addition to these five schools, nineteen other schools were represented by the 53 individuals who competed in three sections.
GSL individual champion, Alex Herron (4.5), made a rare appearance at a Saturday K-12 scholastic event and won the trophy for first place in the top section. Mathew Wasson (3.5) held him to a draw in a round four battle that had a dramatic finish. With both players running low on time, yet still notating their game, Herron pressed with a bishop against a knight in an ending where each side had four pawns. Both contestants missed winning chances in the complex struggle. In the end, Herron ran out of time, but Wasson lacked sufficient material for checkmate. Wasson finished in fourth place, earning a medal.
Varun Ambalavanan (4.0) won the trophy for second place in K-12. Connor Gosselin-Harris (4.0), who beat Wasson in round five, settled for a medal because Ambalavanan had stronger tie-breaks. Both players lost only to Herron. Arnav Wadikar (3.5) also took home a medal. Other trophy winners in K-12 were Orrin Keener (3.0), first in grade six; Mia Sponseller (2.5), first in seventh grade; Ryan Lamb (2.5), top eighth grader; and Drew Lindh, (2.0), first in high school. Also, Dylan Boyle won the trophy for biggest upset in the section. Noah Brody won a book as the highest 3.0 not earning a trophy or medal.
Ben Barrett (50) had the only perfect score in the event, winning first place in K-5. Paul Michael Leaver (4.0) won the second place trophy in that section. Grade level trophies went to Cole Knapton (3.5), first in grade four; Per Sande (3.0), first in third; and Isaac Fuchs (3.0), first in fifth. Michael Monek's 551 point upset won the trophy for biggest upset. A medal was awarded to Mike Mitchell, whose 432 point upset was the second biggest of the event. Connor Simonds (3.5) also won a medal. Adrian Rooney (3.0) had his choice of a book.
In K-2, Matthew Hou won the first place trophy with 4.5. Zihan Wang (4.0) was second, prevailing over Joey Maestas (4.0) on tie-breaks. Maestas won first in second grade. Brendan Monek (3.0) was first place in kindergarten. Owen Worsfold (2.5) won the trophy for first in grade one. The biggest upset trophy in the section went to Ethan Lanctot (2.0). Brenton Leaver (3.5) won a medal and Reagan Heller (3.0) won a book.