Oregon Juniors at the Oregon Open

The Oregon Open is a strong three-day tournament held each year over Labor Day weekend. This year, there were 90 players divided into two sections: Open and Reserve (U1800). Most of the players were adults, but twenty Oregon juniors braved the long days and tough competition on their last weekend of summer.

Over the years, Oregon juniors have earned the respect of the adult players by performing very well in events like the Oregon Open. This year the tradition continues.

Five Oregon juniors played in the Open Section. Calvin Parnon (Corvallis), Steven Witt (Hillsboro), David Wen (Corvallis), Maxwell Sun (Corvallis) and Ben Pikus (Beaverton). David, Max, and Ben were eligible to play in the lower-rated Reserve section but opted to “play up”. It takes guts to “play up” when you know that there’s a good chance that all your opponents will be higher-rated than you. You may not win as many games as you would in a lower section, but your play will improve faster than it would playing weaker opponents. And by playing up, you may well beat some very strong players — a taste of things to come as you continue to improve. Exhibit A at this year’s Oregon Open is Maxwell Sun (Corvallis). He beat Life Master and 2009 Oregon state champion Carl Haessler. Great job, Max! He finished with 2.5/6, tied with Steven Witt (Hillsboro, 11th grade) for first place among Oregon juniors. David Wen (Corvallis, 9th grade) had a rough first day. In the first two rounds, he had to face two opponents who were each rated about 300 points higher than him. After starting out 0/2, he finished with four draws against four higher-rated players for a final score of 2/6, just a half point behind Max and Steven. At USCF 1442, Ben Pikus (Beaverton, 9th grade) was by far the lowest-rated player in the Open Section, so he knew he was in for a difficult tournament, but he played great and scored a 527 point upset. Calvin Parnon (Corvallis, 10th grade) has gone from unrated novice to #2 junior in the state in just a few short years. On Saturday he notched his first win against a chess Master.

A total of 47 players competed in the  Reserve Section, including 15 Oregon juniors, whose results are summarized in the table below.

Name Score Rating Before Rating After
Dillon Murray
4.5
1465
1574
Aaron Pikus
4.5
1518
1553
Gabe Skoro
4
1366
1496
Jeremy Coste
4
1236
1477
Dhruva Chatterjee
3.5
1508
1517
Liam Booth
3
1331
1375
Venkat Doddapaneni
3
1036
1218
Leo Sun
3
1021
1130
Hansen Lian
2
1298
1262
Praveer Sharan
2
1333
1244
Pranav Sharan
2
1191
1199
Marshal Xu
1.5
908
976
John Mitchell
1
Unr.
1225
Abhinav Brahmarouthu
1
Unr.
1132
Neal Aditya
1
596
594

Most notable performances include a breakout tournament for Dillon Murray (Gresham, 9th grade), who tied for second at 4.5/6.0 and has been on a tear this summer.  Oregon HS champ Aaron Pikus also tied for second.

Gabe Skoro (Portland, 7th grade) had been less active the past year or so than in previous years, but he had great performances at both the Centennial Open and the Oregon Open this summer.

Jeremy Coste (Portland, 7th grade) has not played in Oregon scholastic events, but he has now earned his initial established USCF rating of 1477, which puts him near the top of Oregon middle school players.

Venkat Doddapaneni (Portland, 7th grade) is one player who understands that the quickest path to improvement involves playing against strong competition. That path can be frustrating at times, but Venkat’s courage is now showing up in his rating — he scored 3/6 and picked up nearly 200 points!

John Mitchell (Klamath Falls, 5th grade) and Abhinay Brahmarouthu (Portland, 7th grade) both picked a very tough event for their first USCF-rated tournament, and both won games against strong opponents.