Pan American Championships in Cali

by Dejan Bojkov
7/10/2015 – The Pan American Championships took place in Cali, Colombia. It was a tournament with a tough schedule - nine rounds in six days - that was not made any easier by heat and humidity. But for GM Dejan Bojkov and his long-time students Ashritha and Aksithi Eswaran and Chenyi Zhao it was a success. They won three medals and won one of the three won gold with 9.0/9.

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Success at the Pan Am

The playing hall

Right after the end of the US-Championship for Girls U20 in Tulsa we took the flight to Cali in Colombia. The Pan American championships (for boys and girls under 8-18) were about to begin on the next day, 28 June, and to end in a flash on 3 July.

The Pan American championships are the very tough tournaments which gather together the best kids from North and South America. Nine rounds of classical chess are planned for six days and a blitz tournament is somehow squeezed in the schedule. Besides the right to be named champions of the Americas and the nice trophies, the winners of each section receive the right to participate at the world championships for free and the top three players in each section can earn FIDE titles.

Cali is a beautiful city on the south-west side of Colombia. People are very nice and helpful. It is however, quite hot and humid throughout the whole year. Therefore, the choice of the venue was somewhat surprising and rather unfortunate. The stadium where the tournament took place was anything but comfortable. There was no air-conditioning at all, not enough restrooms but as a compensation-plenty of noise. The organizers explained later that they have conducted a similar event previously and that everything was fine as the weather co-operated...

It was hot and humid in Cali - even the artificial cat in the park was in peaceful mood.

Cold and welcome: the pool

I was in Colombia as a coach of my long-termed students- the sisters Ashritha and Aksithi Eswaran (aka The Squirrels- because they are tricky) and Chenyi Zhao (the Chipmunk- to be separated by the Squirrels and slightly less tricky of yet.)

The winning team (from left to right): Aksithi Eswaren, Dejan Bojkov,
Ashritha Eswaran, and Chenyi Zhao

The tournament results were excellent for our team. As the end of the tournament coincided with my birthday, the girls tried to give presents and all took medals.

The big squirrel Ashritha Eswaran shared the first place with 7.5/9 and took bronze on tie-break. Taking into account the fact that she played in the group under 18 at the age of 14 and after the exhausting USA girls championship this was not bad at all. She is now officially a WFM and had earned a WIM norm as well.

Ashritha Esrawan

The little squirrel Aksithi Eswaran decided not to trust any tie-breaks and just in case won all her games - 9.0/9 for Aksithi in the under 10 group. She was the only player who did not drop any point throughout the event from all the participants in Colombia. One might think that she would be happy with her result, right? But on the way back Aksithi told me that it was a pity I had to travel with her sister to Tulsa (for the USA girls championship) the week before and we did not have time to prepare. Puzzled, I asked: "Why, you think you can improve on that 9.0/9 result you made?" "No, but I could have played better games," was the answer...

9.0/9 - Aksithi Eswaran did not take much chances.

Chenyi Zhao surprised everyone including herself. She scored 7.0/9,
shared 2-3 and took another bronze for USA and WCM title.

Overall team USA broke its previous record and bagged ten medals (five gold's) but this was not enough for the overall team standing. Team Peru proved better as usual, and the third place went for Colombia.

The US team

The next championship will take place in Montevideo, Uruguay.


A building in colonial style

Modern building

Palm trees in the middle of the city

Grey church, grey sky

A creek in the middle of the city

Things you see in the museum...

Things you see in the park...

Golden articfacts in the museum


Dejan Boikov posing in front of a picture of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez,
Columbian Nobel Prize winner for literature

Gabriel Garcia-Marquez

Pictures Aleksey Pershin

All winners and results: Chess-results

Dejan Bojkov, born in 1977, is a Bulgarian GM who qualified from the Sports Academy of Sofia as a trainer, a profession which he has followed in various countries. After his work as a trainer in Kavala (Greece) he trained ex World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova. Bojkov regularly reports for and In 2009 Bojkov was champion of Bulgaria and member of the Bulgarian team at the European championships. Bojkov is the authorof a number of popular ChessBase DVDs and in cooperation with Vladimir Georgiev wrote the book "A Course in Chess Tactics" (Gambit 2010).


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