An 11-year-old boy from Eagan won nearly $8,000 in Las Vegas over the holiday break, and luck had nothing to do with it.
Samrug Narayanan finished first in his division at the North American Open chess tournament and pocketed $7,903 for the win. In the tournament held from Dec. 26-30, Samrug went undefeated with six wins and a draw.
The sixth-grader at Black Hawk Middle School played in the “Under 2100” division, an extremely strong grouping that includes players ranked at about the 95th percentile of all U.S. Chess Federation tournament players.
Samrug is a fast-rising player who is ranked 13th for his age group in the U.S., and last year played on the U.S. team at the World Youth and Cadets Chess Championship held in Greece.
Samrug wasn’t the only Narayanan to come home with prize money. His brother Saumik, 17, a senior at Eagan High School, finished in 15th place in the same “Under 2100” division, which had 138 players. He won $50.
Another Minnesota player, 16-year-old Andrew Tang of Plymouth, also claimed a top prize at the Las Vegas tournament. He won the Blitz, or speed chess, side-event, finishing ahead of several grandmasters, and collected $500.