2015 North American Junior Championships

by Qiyu Zhou
8/14/2015 – This event was staged in the multicultural city of Kitchener, Canada from July 26 to 30, and attracted 65 players from around North America to compete in the open section and girls section. Neither of the top seeds placed with a medal. One of them, Qiyu Zhou, sent us a lovely report. We dug into her background and pulled up some inspiring material that left us speechless. | Photos: John Upper and Penny Yu

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2015 North American Junior Chess Championships

The second North American Junior Chess Championships was held in the multicultural city of Kitchener, Canada from July 26 to 30, 2015. This tournament attracted 65 players from around North America to compete in the open section and girls section respectively, among them the reigning U12 Girls WYCC champion WFM Jennifer Yu (USA) and U14 Girls WYCC champion WIM Qiyu Zhou (Canada). With the first place receiving an IM title and a GM norm, the stakes were quite high. Perhaps surprisingly, neither of the top seeds placed with a medal. The open section was won by IM Kesav Viswanadha, and the girls’ section by WFM Agata Bykovtsev.


Panorama view of the playing hall

The host city of Kitchener has been a proud supporter of chess beginning with the Outdoor Chess Program that places permanent chess tables outside of City Hall throughout the summer. The city works with the KW Chess Club to ensure that there is someone at the tables to help players, and to teach new players about the game.

What is better than chess on a quiet summer afternoon?

The playing venue was in the Crown Plaza, which had spacious rooms with fast internet connection (a real must for most chess players), a swimming pool, a bowling alley, a mini-golf course, and a fitness centre. The hotel was the ideal location for a chess tournament!

FM Jason Cao and WIM Qiyu Zhou battle it out on the bowling alley…

... proving chess players can be competitive both off and on the board and still have fun!

Our youngest players in the open section were 11-year-olds R. Idnani (FIDE rating 1821) on the left
and CM Taran Idnani (FIDE rating 1967 ) on the right from the US. Do they look like twins?

The youngest girl, Sheena Zeng (left, FIDE rating 1621) from the USA is also 11 years old, scoring 2.5/9

The floor is a perfectly okay place for chess too, especially when there are only
a few minutes to prepare for the next round!

WCM Apurva Virkud (FIDE rating 2064) from the US played in the open section,
finished with a respectable 4.5/9

12-year-old FM Awonder Liang (FIDE 2404) scored 6.0/9, half a point short of a medal

The winner Kesav Viswanadha (left) and second place finisher Varun Krishnan met in the fourth round

Game Analysis

An interesting ending happened in Round six, between Zhu Hong Rui and the winner.

White had one move here that holds the position together. Can you find it?

[Event "2015 North American Junior Ch"] [Site "Kitchener"] [Date "2015.07.29"] [Round "6.3"] [White "Zhu, Hong Rui"] [Black "Viswanadha, Kesav"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2193"] [BlackElo "2367"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2R5/pp3kpp/2n5/3r1p2/8/2p2PB1/PP4PP/R5K1 b - - 0 24"] [PlyCount "11"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 24... c2 25. Rf1 $2 (25. Rc7+ $1 Kg8 (25... Kg6 26. Rf1 Rd1 27. Bf4 {White prevents promotion and wins the game.}) (25... Ke8 26. Re1+ Kd8 27. Bf4) ({Even } 25... Kf8 {doesn't work} 26. Rf1 g5 27. Bf2 f4 28. Bc5+ Kg8 29. Ba3 $1 { followed by b3.} Rd1 30. b3) ({And if} 25... Kf6 26. Rf1 g5 27. f4 $1 Rd1 28. fxg5+ {important tempo} Kxg5 29. Bf4+ $18) 26. Rc8+ Kf7 27. Rc7+ {draw by perpetual.}) 25... g5 $1 {completely preventing Bf4, which was White's only way of preventing c1Q.} (25... Rc5 26. Bf4 {and White is winning}) 26. Rc7+ Kg6 27. Be5 (27. Bf2 f4 28. Bc5 Rd1 {simply wins}) 27... Rd1 28. Rg7+ Kh6 29. Bf4 gxf4 0-1

Prize winners: Agata Bykovtsev (winner of the girls’ section), Terry Song (third place), Kesav Viswanadha (first place), Varun Krishnan (second place), Kimberly Ding (fourth place in the girls’ section), together with our organizers and arbiters from left to right: Hal Bond, Stephen Wright, Michael von Keitz and Partick McDonald.

Agata Bykovtsev also received her WIM title and a GM norm…

While IM Kesav Viswanadha won a GM norm

Terry Song from Canada won third place and received the FM title and an IM norm

Final Standings (Top 15)

Photos: John Upper and Penny Yu


WGM Qiyu Zhou [pronounced Chee-you Jo], born in 2000, is a Canadian chess player who has competed for team Canada at the Women's Chess Olympiad since 2014 and who won the Canadian women's championship in 2016.


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