New year, same teams on top
By Jack Peters, International Master
February 22, 2009

Maybe chess is predictable. The U.S. Amateur Team Championship West uses a rating limit that supposedly gives more teams realistic chances to win, yet the same teams finish at the top every year. Even the tournament’s shift to a new location (Woodland Hills) had little effect, because a normal turnout of 46 teams and 201 players participated.

Four teams tied for first place with match scores of 5-1. On tiebreak, ACA Beasts! (John Daniel Bryant, Michael Yee, Vincent Huang and Santy Wong) edged OC Chess Club (state champion Alexandre Kretchetov, Takashi Iwamoto, Krishna Kaliannan and Michael W. Brown), Yellow Is Mellow (Joel Banawa, Cau Duong Lee, Takashi Kurosaki, Jonathan Soo Hoo and Stewart Yanez) and ACA Chess Club (state champion IM Enrico Sevillano, IM Andranik Matikozyan, Robert Feldstein and Michael Ambartsoumian).

The top two teams, with largely the same lineups, had tied for first place in 2007, when tiebreaks favored OC Chess Club.The “ACA” in team names refers to IM Armen Ambartsoumian’s new American Chess Academy. Two other ACA teams took prizes for best junior and best under-1800 teams.

Sevillano scored 5-1 to take individual honors on Board 1. He also won in 2007. On second board, Matikozyan, the 2008 winner, scored 6-0. Other leaders: John Williams, 5-1 on Board 3; Jonathan Soo Hoo, 5 1/2 – 1/2 on Board 4; and John Anderson, 4-2 as best alternate. Voyage to the Bottom of the Pairings was voted best team name.

The Scholastic Amateur Team Championship attracted 33 teams. Beyond Challenge (Adrian Chang, Albert Lu, Justin Tay and Harrison Chen) took first prize on tiebreak over Troy High (Albert Young, Di Ai, Sangmook Johnny Jung and David Kim). Both teams won all four matches.

Here is the full article.

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