Valor Mexia ‘perfect’ at chess tourney

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Ethan Pinnock, 9, of Lihue, left, and Byron Gray, 10, of Kalaheo, match strategies during the Kauai Community Chess Tournament on Saturday at the Lihue Public Library.

Thirty players competed in the first Kauai Community Chess Tournament at the Lihue Public Library on Saturday. Half of them entered the youth section for grades K-8, and the other half entered the adult section for grades 9 and up.

At the end of the day only one player was left standing with a perfect 4-0 score: Valor Mexia, a ninth-grader at Kauai High School.

In second and third place, both at 3-1, were his KHS teammates Leland Kai Villenueva and Takeshi Komar. These students only lost to their teammates and outplayed all the adults in the section.

In the non-high-school men’s division, Kurt Inkvin, Doug Wolkon and Bo Kamala took the gold, silver and bronze medals. In the women’s division Sommer Kamala, Juliana Pinnock and Genna Wolkon finished first through third.

The competition in the youth section was fierce and fast, with every player giving up at least one game to another player.

Scoring 3-1 each were gold medalists Eyva Wolken (grades K-2), Ethan Pinnock (3-4) and Max Wolken (5-8). Silver medalists were Rayna Wolken (K-2), Jaitha Srikanth (3-4) and Linnea Ellis (5-8).

Bronze medals went to Winslow Gray (K-2), Janavi Srikanth (3-4) and Hannah Havland (5-8).

In the Friday evening “simultaneous exhibition,” state co-champion Damian Nash took on 18 people at once, making the rounds as each player contemplated their next move. He ended up with 14 wins, three draws and one loss.

Earning a USCF tournament standard chess board for winning his exciting game was Mark Lowry of Kapaa.

The winner of Saturday’s tournament, Valor Mexia, never allowed Nash any chances and safely held a quiet game to draw, also earning a new chess set.

Dan Abapilla offered a draw in a very dangerous position, which Nash accepted.

Chad Badgett, who tied for third with Nash in the 2017 Hawaii State Championship tournament, drew his game easily.

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