Tournaments happen for all kinds of reasons.  In the case of the Reach for the Sky Tournament, the Suresh family sponsors the event to celebrate and honor their son, Sid’s, love of chess tournaments.  Their generous sponsorship allows us to run this event for free, and even to offer generous prizes of Amazon gift cards of $60, $40, and $25 in each of 3 sections – Open, Under 1000, and Under 600.

This year the overall turnout was similar to last year, but the Open section was much smaller than the previous year.  Players like Steve Conner and Vasishta Tumuluri could not join us for gameplay, but were with us in spirit.  Although he couldn’t compete, Steve was able to come and check in on us part way through the event, so he was with us in spirit and body.

The Open section had 7 players with several returning from last year’s event.  Joe Mucerino, who has played in my events for as long as I have run events (and whom I have known since high school), took first place with a 4-0 score.  Tanay Parripati took sole second place with 3 points.  Four players then tied with 2 points: up-and-coming players Vahini Sadhu Venkata (3rd on tiebreaks) and Paul Ke Ma,  Mana Singh (who has been a chess parent for over a decade now), and Eric Frohman (who, like his son Ethan, was playing in his first event.)  Nicole Yu, playing up a section, finished with 1 point.

The Under 1000 section had only 8 players, similar to the 9 it had last year.  This year the section was won by Ryan Carr who finished 3.5 – 0.5, drawing the 3rd place finisher Siddarth Sankar, who finished 3 – 1.  In second place, also with 3 points, was Max Leung.  Nishant Valamkonda (playing in his first event) and Kevin Kennedy both scored 2 points.  Felix Feng and Kalyani Puranikmath both scored 1 out 4, and Vibhore Jairuth, (whose sons played in the Under 600 section), finished with a 0.5 – 3.5 score.

 The Under 600 section had 19 people!  Tony Yu, little brother of Nicole, scored a 4 – 0 result to earn first place.  Viraaj Jairath scored 3.5 – 0.5.  Rithik Rao, Joseph Durham, and Achintya Puranikmath all scored 3 – 1, with Rithik taking third on tie breaks.  Subang Nettem was the only person with 2.5.  Scoring 2 out of 4 (a great success for some, a little disappointing for others), was this whole group: Hannah Lu, Wen La Ma, Sreenevasan Sudeep, Arul Chintha, Aaron Varam, Aadya Tati, and Jaarun Jairath.  Minqi Li scored 1.5 – 2.5 in just 2 rounds in her second tournament.  All the players with 1 – 3 scores are provisionally rated, most with just a tournament or two of experience, and will undoubtedly improve.  They are Alex Lau, Daanya Sankar, Ethan Frohman, and Saiphanindra Tumuluri.  Snigdha Tumuluri, playing in her first event, scored 0.5 – 3.5.

The Reach for the Sky Tournament exists because of the wonderful generosity of the Suresh family.  However,  I would be remiss if I did not also thank Alec Khmelnitsky who assisted me as tournament director; Kasyap Tumuluri and his mother, Vidya who assisted me in readying the basement space for play, and the Gupta family who gave us the space to run the event.  This event will always take place on a weekend close to the 7th of November and, thanks to the generosity of the Suresh family, we look forward to November 4th, 2023, our next opportunity to Reach for the Sky.