Three Juniors Split Denker Championship

by Ira Lee Riddle
From Chess Life, January 1989 with permission.

The 1988 Arnold Denker Tournament of High School Champions ended up in a three-way tie with Vivek Rao (Pennsylvania), Robby Adamson (Arizona) and Ilya Gurevich (Massachusetts) all scoring four points out of five at the Swiss system tournament, run in conjunction with the 1988 U.S. Open in Boston. A record 38 players took part in the event’s fourth incarnation.

Rao and Gurevich were paired in the final round; Adamson was paired against Jesse Kraai of New Mexico, who was tied with Rao and Gurevich after four rounds. After Adamson won and Rao and Gurevich agreed to a draw, they waited for the results on the next two boards to see if there would be three, four or five co-champs. The other games ended in draws, and only tri-champs were crowned.

Rao drew in round one, when he found himself in time trouble against Andy Berger (Missouri). Running from one end of the floor to the other to also play in an Action Chess side event can create problems. When asked if he were playing in another side event the next day, Rao commented, “I may be stupid, but I’m not dumb.” He easily won his next three games to tie for first after four rounds.

Adamson lost in the second round to David Wright (Indiana), then roared back with two wins to put himself just behind the co-leaders.

Gurevich was forced to begin with a half-point bye, as he was flying home from Romania, where he had just taken second place in the World Under-16 tournament. He won his next three games to put himself into a three-way tie after four rounds, and drew against Rao in the final game.

W: Robby Adamson
B: Jesse Kraai
1988 Denker Tournament of High School Champions

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Qc7 11. Bd2 Ngf6 12. O-O-O e6 13. Qe2 Bd6 14. Nf5 O-O-O 15. Nxd6+ Qxd6 16. Ne5 Rhf8 17. Bf4 Nd5 18. Bg3 Qb4 19. Rd3 N7b6 20. Rhd1 f5 21. c4 f4 22. Rb3 Qa5 23. Bh4 Qxa2 24. Ra3 Nc3 25. Qc2 Qxa3 26. bxa3 Nxd1 27. Bxd8 Black Resigns

Sicilian Defense: Richter-Rauzer Variation
W: FM Ilya Gurevich
B: FM Vivek Rao
1988 Denker Tournament of High School Champions

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O h6 9. Bf4 Bd7 10. Nxc6 Bxc6 11. Qe1 Be7 12. Kb1 Qa5 13. f3 Rd8 14. Bc4 b5 15. Bb3 Qc7 16. a3 a5 17. e5 dxe5 18. Qxe5 Qxe5 19. Bxe5 O-O 20. a4 b4 21. Ne2 Nd5 22. Bxd5 Bxd5 23. b3 Rc8 24. Rd3 Rfd8 25. Rhd1 f6 26. Bd4 Bc5 27. Nf4 Kf7 28. Bb2 Re8 29. Nxd5 exd5 30. Rxd5 Re2 31. R5d2 Rce8 32. c3 Rxd2 33. Rxd2 Re1+ 34. Ka2 Ke6 35. h3 h5 36. Rc2 h4 37. cxb4 Bxb4 38. Ba3 Bxa3 39. Kxa3 Rg1 40. Rc5 Rxg2 41. Rxa5 Rg3 42. Rb5 Rxh3 43. a5 Rh1 44. Kb4 Ra1 45. f4 draw

Rao, the highest-rated player in Pennsylvania, has been accepted at Harvard University. Adamson is a senior in high school in Tuscon, Arizona, and plans to attend law school. He twice won titles in the National Junior High School Tournaments. Gurevich, an FM at 16, is a junior in high school. He also plans on a college education, but his plans are undecided at the moment.

The surprise of the tournament was 8-year-old David Peterson of Austin, Texas, who won the Texas Junior Championship ahead of 25 high school students and many junior high/elementary students. David tied for first at 4-1 and then won a double round-robin playoff. He is the highest rated junior in Texas, and could conceivably be in the tournament for a total of 11 years!

Two Knights Defense – Wilkes-Barre Variation
W: Darryl Terrell
B: David Peterson
1988 Denker Tournament of High School Champions

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 Bc5 5. Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6. Kf1 Qe7 7. Nxh8 d5 8. exd5 Bg4 9. Be2 Bxe2+ 10. Qxe2 Nd4 11. Qd3 Ne4 12. Qxe4 Qf6 13. g3 Bxg3+ 14. Kg2 Qf2+ 15. Kh3 Nf3 16. Qa4+ c6 17. hxg3 Ng5+ 18. Kh4 Nf3+ 19. Kg4 Nd4 20. Rh5 g6 21. Rxe5+ Kf8 22. Qa3+ Kg7 23. Nxg6 hxg6 24. Qe7+ Kg8 25. Qh4 Nf3 26. Qe7 Nxe5+ 27. Qxe5 Qf1 28. Nc3Black resigns

The tournament was directed by NTD Ira Lee Riddle of Warminster, Pennsylvania, who was assisted by Larry Schmidt. Funding was provided by the USCF.


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