Last year on our website, we featured a story about a very talented young Connecticut chess player, then 6th grader Jack Grills, who tied for 1st in the under 1800 section in the 2015 Philadelphia Open and earned $3,250 for his victory! We had seen nothing like that in over 25 years of being involved in scholastic chess. It is true that records are made to be broken, but we did not think we would see anything like that for another 25 years. Well, believe it or not, another very talented young Connecticut chess player, 7th grader Bryan Weisz, only slightly over a week ago (March 23-27) won the under 2000 section in the 2016 Philadelphia Open and garnered $4,750 for his triumph!
“For me it was as Yogi Berra once said, ‘déjà vu all over again,’” said Michael Zadorozny, the coach of both Jack and Bryan. “As the final round was approaching and with Bryan reporting one victory after another, it seemed like a dream. It still feels like a dream. I’ve been teaching scholastic chess since 1988 and I have never seen or heard of anything like this anywhere.”
Bryan actually lost his first game and decided on his own to re-enter the tournament. What that means is that a player can drop out of a tournament after an initial loss and come in with a clean record. He still had to play all 7 rounds, which means he would end up playing 8 games in total rather than 7 – a grueling ordeal, but Bryan had a goal in mind. “I decided that I wanted to win money in this tournament,” explained Bryan. “So, I made the decision by myself to re-enter, but I knew I’d have to win at least 6 games out of 7.”
He did better than that: he won 6.5 points out of 7 possible. One of those games was a marathon 102 move game against an adult from Mongolia! “He shook hands with me at the start of the game, but he wouldn’t shake hands with me after the game was over,” Bryan said.
“I asked Bryan after he won his last game to describe to me how he won the event and he simply said, ‘I don’t know!’”, said Michael Zadorozny. “Well, after reviewing his games, I could see that he played very consistently and very smartly throughout the tournament. He was alert to all his opportunities and to possible counter-attacks and pitfalls. And that’s how one wins tournaments.”
What is Bryan going to do with such a fabulous first prize? “I’m not sure”, said Bryan. “I’ll probably put it in the bank. Maybe I’ll help some people.”
With this tournament win, Bryan achieved a rating of 2037 which will put him in the top 30 in the United States for his age. Bryan thus joins the ranks of great scholastic players coming out of the State of Connecticut. Along with Jack Grills, there is also Maximillian Lu who became the youngest master in US history last year at the age of 9.
I should point out that Bryan played a tournament game against me at the beginning of March and won! I made one slight error and Bryan relentless exploited it. I couldn’t help thinking back to a certain very young Hikaru Nakamura (current US Champion and one of the world’s top 5) who defeated me almost 20 years ago. May Bryan have the same success!
Congratulations to all these young geniuses. They are making Connecticut proud!
Bryan has also been greatly involved in many NECA chess classes. Bryan has attended advanced chess for multiple years and an after school chess program at Kings Highway Elementary School. His constant participation during chess class has helped his progress tremendously.