The Panamercian U20 Junior championships were scheduled to take place in the middle of May. For various reasons the dates were moved to the end of June (21-28) and this gave a chance to my student Ashritha Eswaran from USA to take part in the event.
Panamerican championships gather together the players from both South and North America. However, it is not very usual for the North American players to participate at these events. One of the reasons is the distance. Another, I suspect is the language barrier. In most of the South American countries people hardly speak English.
This was not the case though in Paraguay. The organizer of the event Ronald Zarza Pelissier is a man of German origin and speaks fluently Deutsch. His English is also very good. Add to these linguistic advantages the pure will to help and you will know why Asuncion was a very successful host of the event.
The tournament took place in the offices of the ABC color downtown. The venue was easily accessible and comfortable.
Players from eleven countries took part in the women event. The top seed and experienced Ann Chumpitaz of Peru played steadily throughout the event and won the trophy convincingly with 8/9.
Ann is already an established player; she participated at the Olympiad in Istanbul. In general, Peru dominated the event. The silver was claimed by a very talented Mitzy Mishe Caballero Quijano. She scored 7.5/9. Just like Ann she did not lose a game. However there is an important difference between the two players. Chumpitaz played her last championship while Mitzy is only thirteen years old!
The charming Ivette Ale Garcia Morales took bronze. This is a huge achievement for her country and Ivette hopes that Mexico will show even better results in the future.
Ashritha Eswaran took good fifth place, which would not be too bad if we did not see her games. She missed plenty of points in completely won positions. We have a lot of food for thought after the event!
In the boy’s section the rating favourite Cristobal Villagra Henriquez (rated 2459)proved better than his opponents and won the title for Chile. Despite the draw in the third round and the loss in fourth he managed to calm down and win five games till the end of the event.
A curious moment happened during the price giving when Cristobal did not show in time to take his trophy. I thought that he is chasing a flight but it appeared that there was a much more important thing to do- he was watching the football match of his compatriots with Brazil…
In this section a pleasant surprise was the second place of Diego Blandon Villa of Columbia. Third was Giuseppe Leiva of Peru.
Both winners of the boys and girls event earned a GM norm. It is Cristobal’s second norm.
Chess in Paraguay is becoming more and more popular these days thanks to the efforts of their best player. GM Axel Bachman recently crossed the 2600+ rating mark. In fact not only crossed but sky-rocketed to the 2652 mark. Axel is a national hero in his country.
Another remarkable person is the third seeded in the boy’s section Guillermo Vazquez. He is good in there things. Chess, where he is an FM, mathematics (he’s heading for Olympics in South Africa after the Panam) and software. I am using the chance to express my gratitude to his parents for the wonderful barbecue evening that they organized for the players of the event. (A blitz tournament with prices also took place then!)
I would also like to thank Ronald Zarza Pelissier for the wonderful organization as well as to all the arbiters and organizers involved in the event.