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December 23, 2009 > Newark youth excels at world championship

Newark youth excels at world championship

Submitted By Michelle Motoyoshi

What do you do if you've won four state championships, a national championship and a gold medal at the Pan-Am Youth Chess Championship? If you're chess prodigy Tanuj Vasudeva, you take on the world.

Last month, Newark resident Vasudeva, 8, son of Tarun Vasudeva and Bitophi Ghosh, participated in the World Youth Chess Championship in Antalya, Turkey. Representing the United States, he took home the silver medal.

Vasudeva, who has only played chess for three years, earned the silver by outscoring 129 other players from 50 countries by the end of the two-week tournament. His competition was extremely tough, even causing him to lose a match in the ninth round. But always a consummate competitor, Vasudeva came roaring back. He got a draw in the next round and through the daring move of sacrificing his pieces to force a checkmate, he scored a spectacular win in the last round.

The silver medal at the WYCC was only the most recent of several prestigious awards he has won this year. After his perfect score (9.0/9.0) at the Pan-Am games in Argentina in August, Vasudeva was awarded a FIDE Master (FM) title.

He is the youngest person ever graced with the title, breaking the record previously held by Grand Master Etienne Bacrot, who was 10 years old when he received the honor. World-renowned chess champion Bobby Fischer was 13 years old when he was awarded the title.

Another Tri-City resident who participated in the World Championships was 8-year-old Alisha Chawla, daughter of Sanjeev and Sunanda Chawla.

This is the second year Chawla has participated in the World Championships. She scored an impressive 7.0/11.0 in the tournament. Her score put her in a tie for 13th place out of 84 girls in the under-8 girls category.

Both Chawla and Vasudeva were part of Fremont's Weibel Chess program and were mentored by Newark Chess Club coach Ted Castro.

What's next for these young chess aces? Chess, chess and more chess. They are both scheduled to participate in the CalChess State Championships in Santa Clara next year. Keep tabs on Vasudeva's activities by checking out his blog at

To learn more about chess in the Tri-City area, contact Coach Ted Castro and the Newark Chess Club at For more information about chess and chess competitions in the Bay Area, log onto (Scholastics) and (Adults).

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