There have been three community chess tournament on Kauai this year. What do they all have in common? Despite a different group of players at each event, there is one obvious answer: Kauai High School 10th-grader Valor Mexia won them all. With three wins against the tough Wailua Chess Club members and a draw against tournament veteran Chad Badgett in the final round, when the dust settled Mexia stood alone on top with 3.5 points out of four. Saturday’s victory gives him a record in 2019 of 11 tournament wins, 1 draw and 0 losses.
Fellow KHS 10th-grader Joe-Ansel Puplava finished in a second-place tie at 3-1, along with Owai Kaneali‘i and Benjamin Fernandez of the Wailua Chess Club. Ethan Pinnock won the medal for the best player under age 15 with a 2-2 finish.
After the awards ceremony, Tournament Director Damian Nash took on six of the top finishers simultaneously, giving them a chance to play the reigning state co-champion.
Playing with the black pieces, Valor Mexia lured Nash into the dubious “Fried Liver Gambit,” which Nash gleefully accepted. After a wild game, Nash’s deep experience with the line prevailed, handing Mexia his first and only loss of the year. Mexia had previously drawn Nash in a simultaneous exhibition game in February and again in a head-to-head encounter in April.
Nash went 6-0 in the exhibition after converting a small endgame advantage against Frank Ho‘oikaika from the Wailua Chess club.
For more information about weekly chess classes and chess tournaments at the Lihue Public Library, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Garden Island
Source: The Garden Island