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  • Kevin Xu

Kevin Xu and the Barber Experience

This year, the Barber tournament of K-8 champions was held in the Madison Marriott West, right outside of Madison, Wisconsin. After qualifying to represent Idaho, I had set a goal to do better than 21st place that I got last year. Despite the fact that I got 26th this year and did not accomplish my goal, it was a great experience. I had lots of fun, mainly from either goofing off with my friends or playing bughouse and blitz. I played and met kids from across the country, including my friend Raghav from Florida. As far as my tournament games went, I beat a 1500 from Utah, a 1500 from Hawaii with a bishop sacrifice (which is shown below) and a 1700 from Mississippi. I lost to Arthur Guo, who won the national K-9 junior high championship in April as a 6th grader, a 2000 from Delaware and a 2100 from Pennsylvania.

This is my game against the 1500 from Hawaii. I am black and it is white to move. White had messed up his opening and black already has a big advantage. Black’s threat is Ne4 (for example, if white tries to attack on the kingside with 1.g4??, black plays

1… Ne4 2. Nxe4 Qxa2 and wins (3.Nc3 Qa1+ Nb1 Qxb2# (or Bxb2#)).The game continued:

1. Qf2? (Apparently the computer thinks 1.Qe1 Ne4 2. Bd4 is best but black is still in a much better position) Ne4! 2. Nxe4 dxe4 3.a3 Bxb2+! (The main reason I played Ne4) 4.Kxb2 Rab8+ 5. Kc1 Qxa3+ 6. Kd2 Qa5+ (Other moves such as Rfd8+ are also winning) 7.c3 (7. Ke2 Bc4+ and 7. Ka1 Qa1+ 8. Kd2 Rfd8+ are also losing for white) Rb2+ 9.Ke1 Rxf2 (I could’ve kept attacking but I just wanted to immediately win the material and play the resulting position). I won after another 10 moves.

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