Monday, September 28, 2009



Well, what can I say? I cannot believe that we did it!

In less than 30-days not only did we assemble a team to represent the United States, but it will be properly uniformed and well-organized. We also had the privilege to assist the Canadian team in their own endeavor, thus, creating harmony between our federations.

Last but not least, we were cordially assisted by the Mexican Chess Federation President, Mr. Raul Hernandez, in order to iron a few details.

Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. we will be driving from the U.S.-Mexico border to Mazatlan:

1. 7:00 p.m. Monclova, Coahuila
2. 9:30 p.m. Saltillo, Coahuila
3. 12:30 a.m. Torreon, Coahuila
4. 4:00 a.m. Durango, Durango
5. 10:00 a.m. Mazatlan, Sinaloa

The following picture, was taken by yours truly this summer between the state of Durango and Sinaloa - 11,000 feet, while on vacation.
Our next blog entry will be in Mazatlan, Mexico.


I must take a minute to recognize two families within this NAYCC 2009 team that worked hard to get uniforms for TEAM USA.
1. David Gilchrist from Marion, Illinois
2. Dan Troff from a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah
David, is one of two original members of the 2007 team that participated in Aguascalientes, Mexico, actually his son Ian was the one that competed. That team had uniforms paid for by a parent in the team, Mr. Mark Shein of New York, whom we continue to be grateful.
In this 2009, David took it upon himself to work on the uniform issue, and I cannot thank him enough because it was during the time when I was working closely with the USCF on forming the team. David had an design and a sponsor that seemed a done deal; however, as those of us who work with sponsors know - it is not always a sure thing. David did everything he could and then some more.
The Troff family came into the scene when it seemed we were not going to make it. Dan and his wife quickly worked out a solution, after each parent voted on the issue - we reached a concensus.
Team concept means that everyone works for the common good, both the Gilchrist and Troff family deserve our appreciation, a standard was set for the NAYCC 2010 - to be played in New York.
By the way, I was extremely impressed with Kayden Troff's blog:, I would invite every member and our countless readers to look at his blog. Upon returning from Mexico, we the Munoz will make a financial contribution to Kayden's career and I would invite everyone to do the same.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I know you were waiting for an Antonio Banderas look alike but instead you got me and the woman next to me is not one of my daughters - she is my wife. I know, I'm a "crib robber" but you can't blame a guy for marrying someone younger, I call it "a blessing". Leaving all joking aside, I want to thank each one of you for putting up with me and my endless emails these last three weeks, I promise that once this is over, you will only get one additional email from me - a thank you note.

We are Abed and Claudia Munoz. We have been married for almost 15-years, we own are own business and we homeschool at the same time. We are a Chrisitan couple who enjoys serving God and raising our children. I am a marketing major, public speaker and a business consultant. My wife is an English teacher and basically puts up with me.

Both Claudia and I will be at the airport waiting for the arrival of both the American and Canadian teams. This picture should help you identify us. However, we will not be alone.

This is Faith and Claudia Munoz, our daughters. Faith, although still in Junior High, wants to attend Harvard when she finishes high school, she loves to sing and do crafts. She has an excellent writing talent. She will be at the airport with us waiting for your arrival. The other girl in the picture is Claudia, the chess player. She is a 6th grader, she loves chess, then chess and also some more chess. She is an extremly happy girl and loves to say "I am sorry," constantly. She will also be at the airport welcoming the delegations.
Both our daughters are perfect bilingual and will assist you with any language needs, especially Faith, who has been assigned to go with any parent that will be leaving the hotel in order to provide translating services. My wife also will provide translating services for any parent that requires help because once the tournament starts, I will be focusing on the players.
We are happy to be a part not only of your life but also of the lives of the entire American and Canadian delegation. We believe that as our children get older we will build lasting friendships.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Every American and Canadian team members have emailed or called to report their travel information to us for logistical purposes. Guess what the information showed?

50% of both TEAM USA AND TEAM CANADA will be arriving on the same flight!

Six American parents with children and two Canadian parents with children will all meet at the same boarding gate in the United States. For security reasons we will not mention the city nor the flight, but you parents know what I am talking about.

1. Abol Taghizadeh - United States
2. Nam Nguyen - United States
3. Miriam Istafanous - United States
4. David Zeng - United States
5. David Gilchrist - United States
6. Dan Troff - United States
7. Janak Awatramani - Canada
8. Amanda Sui - Canada

However not to be undone, Pardha Karamsetty with two adults and two children will be arriving 25-minutes before "THE HAPPY 50%" straight from Texas.

But, an American and Canadian parent and chessplayer will be arriving the night before straight from Mexico City:

1. Ashok Aaron - United States
2. Anna Jin - Canada

So who is the last member of both the American and Canadian delegation to arrive?

1. Steven Finney and son - United States

For the first and last American to arrive at the airport in Mazatlan, you will receive a free pick-up from your head of delegation PERSONALLY - no taxi for you but a ride in our vehicule at no charge - that would be Ashok Aaron and son as well as Steven Finney and son.


We want to welcome TEAM CANADA as they get ready to participate in the North American Youth Championship 2009, next week in Mazatlan, Mexico. Although the team is not the largest of the three North American nations, it is the bold heart and the passion to win on the chessboard that will count.

We want to thank the Canadian Federation for contacting both Beatriz Marinello and myself in order to assist with the registration process.

Surname Name Category FIDE Federation

Zhang Yuanchen U-8 Open 2611902 CAN
Awatramani Janak U-10 Open 2608359 CAN
Fu James U-12 Open 2611090 CAN
Liu Jiaxin U-8 Girl 2611872 CAN


I am requesting that both American and Canadian team members email me as soon as possible with the date of departure, airline, flight number and time of arrival at the Mazatlan International Airport, so that we can be at the airport to receive you as stated before. We want to make sure of your arrival and placement in a taxi so that I can be ready to receive you at the hotel lobby for registration. I know that you have sent this information to me before, however, we received such a large quantity of emails in the past 3-weeks that gathering this information makes it difficult at this moment. Therefore, I request the four bits of information in order to make your arrival smoother than what it will be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


If this is what you have at home, a standard North American grounded electrical socket, then I advise you to bring an adapter for your laptop, because in some Mexican locations...

a standard North American non-grounded socket is used. An adapter is only a couple of bucks and can be purchased in any hardware store. Better safe than sorry.
Abed Munoz
USCF Head of Delegation


I am about to give you an inside look into the Mexican chess system in order to explain their selection process to compete in the North American Youth Championship 2009. As you travel within the international chess system, you will see a diversity of national systems. Due to the fact that we have dual citizenship - both American and Mexican - we can explain first hand how the Mexican chess system works because our daughter Claudia, was a product of this system until she represented the United States in the North American Youth Championship 2007 and was registered with FIDE as an American.


All sports belong to the federal government through the Sport's Ministry - CONADE. There is no debate in Mexico as to whether chess is a sport or not, it is a sport and it is mostly funded by the federal, state and local governments. Since CONADE does not know chess or the chess world, they have the Mexican Chess Federation, just like the Canadian Chess Federation and the United States Chess Federation. Except, the Mexican Chess Federation (FENAMAC) is subsidized by the government. This is why the NAYCC 2009 that originally was scheduled for the University of Texas Brownsville in the United States, but due to scheduling conflicts was not able to be carried out, was so easily granted to Mexico - their federation backed by the Mexican government made it easy for them. Since the tourism industry was hard hit by the swine flu outbreak in the spring, it is easy for the government through its national chess federation to chose a major resort for its playing site. During the tournament, the Mexican government through its various departments will be pumping the press with news, we will be the news - foreigners arriving in Mexico for a major international chess tournament. Their are a total of 38-recognized sports in Mexico, completely funded by the government through its national federations and monitored by their state governments and state federations. Their main goal is to supply players for the national team.

Having said what I have stated, a child in Mexico who has proven himself at the national and international level - through medal winning - receives a financial subsidy directly from the government through a monthly deposit to their bank account. For every medal won at the National Olympics, in chess there are a total of 5-medals to be won per category in the g/90, g/30 and g/15 events, both by girls and boys only categories and mixed as well, the chessplayer and the coach recieve a financial deposit for 9-months continually. For a medal won at the Pan American Youth or World Youth, the amounts could go up from $1,000 dollars to $3,000 dollars per month for nine months for both player and coach. When the minimum salary in Mexico is about $300 dollars per month, both delegations must understand how a 10-year old child making $150 dollars per month for 9-months for having medaled at the National Olympics is an incentive. Upon winning the National Olympics, most states in Mexico place the player on a "high performance" program under training by a FIDE master at no expense to the parent.

The NAYCC 2009 is a tournament for the Mexican player in which to demonstrate to the local, state and national authorities, through results, that he should receive sponsorship from these entities. That is what both American and Canadian delegations will face - Mexican players with a desire to prove themselves.

Now the right column on this blog, where Claudia's achievements as an American playing in the Mexican system are more understandable. She went through this entire system three years in a row, and qualified to the National Olympics.


In September there is an elimination chess tournament in every school in the nation to choose two players per category. In October, those two players per category play an elimintation tournament in a citywide tournament, two advance to regionals. In November, two from regional eliminate themselves to advance to state. In December-January, two from state eliminate themselves to advance to Pre-Nationals to play the champions and co-champions of four Mexican states which are grouped by regions - three advance to the National Olympics. In the National Olympics the top 26 players in the entire nation, by performance and not by rating, are assembled to fight to make the national chess team that will represent Mexico in the Pan American Youth Championship. As stated before, in Mexico, ratings are not important because there are few rated tournaments, numerous non-rated but few rated tournaments. In this NAYCC you will find low Mexican ratings - but do not be fooled becaue their selection process was long and proven. In the National Olympics, the gold medal winner is the official representative of Mexico with his entire expenses paid for, the second place to fifth place winners qualify but they must seek their funding by their state and local governments.

Therefore, the entire selection process to participate in a Pan American Youth begins in September and finishes in May - here is the kicker, the entire system I just explained to you is fully paid for by the local, state and national government. The chess player pays nothing. However, every child in the nation had the opportunity to participate regardless of income or region in the nation.


The Mexican chess player that placed better in each category automatically qualifies to the World Youth Championship, which is fully paid for by the government.


The Mexican Chess Federation decided to reward the winners of each category for both boys and girls (who won the gold medal) at the Mexican Open 2009 in Toluca, Mexico with an all-expense paid trip and participation for the NAYCC 2009. However, like in all countries, the Mexican Open is not where the strongest players participate because of its nature of it being an open and the player having to pay their expenses. Their Mexican ratings are low in these groups, however, to the American and Canadian delegations, during your participation in Mexico - remove your "rating is all " thinking or serious upsets will occur.

The players that both delegations should be more concerned with are those that did not go to the Mexican Open but rather are the top 5-place winners at the National Olympics who participated in the Pan American Youth or are going to the World Youth Championship. Those 5-players per category have a rating difference of about 300 to 500 points per category. Those names are listed to you below as links. Mexico sent a small delegation to the Pan American due to the swine flu in Argentina, but promised their players to go to the World Youth Championship in Turkey.

The names provided to you at this moment are the winners of the Mexican Open and thus official representatives of Mexico for the NAYCC 2009


1. Liahut Vallen, Ingrid Yusse (1012) 4.5/6


1. Sandoval Mercado, Carlos (1498) 6.0/6


1. Romo Herrera, Ibarrola Mari (1043) 6.0/6


1. Otamendi Munoz, Gilberto (1036) 6.0/6


1. Luna Medina, Mariana (1451) 5.0/6


1. Cano Castaneda, Ricardo (1728) 5.5/6


1. Sosa Montejo, Roxana Guille (1354) 5.0/6


1. Guzman Murillo, Jesus Alejandro (1398) 6.0/6


1. Aquino Flores, Angelica Maria (1731) 5.0/6


1. Navarrette Garcia, Alan (1927) 5.5/6


1. Mejia Salinas, Lluvia Angelina (1526) 5.0/6


1. Sosa Encarnacion, Josue (1725) 5.0/6











Tuesday, September 22, 2009


We had an "off-day" yesterday as we were attending several situations in our business on a busy Monday, yet we appreciate the questions coming into our "bureau" for answering.

1. Is the taxi at the airport pre-paid or do we pay the taxi when we arrive at the hotel?
The airport taxi is pre-paid in order to avoid the trampling of tourists, so their fee is paid at a booth. My wife Claudia Munoz as well as my teenage daughter Faith will be receiving the American and Canadian Delegations at the airport on October 1, 2009. For those that have participated in international tournaments, you know that never has a Head of Delegation or an assistant ever waited on you in an airport - we are to break that mold. Because we realize that their is a language issue, Claudia my wife, will be at the airport to receive you and make sure that you get on the correct taxi with clear indications to the driver. I will be at the hotel lobby waiting for both delegations. We had always stated the things we would do differently if we ever were in the position to head a team, now is our chance. We hope that the standard we set will forever be followed by other delegations. The only family we might not be able to provide airport service is for the parents of Deepak Aaron who arrive on September 30 at 8:50 p.m. We also should be arriving on the 30th, but after a long 20-hour drive from the U.S.-Mexico border. I might be to knocked out to get out to the airport. By the way, the picture of the vehicule you see above, it is called a "PULMONIA". Those carts are the taxis used in Mazatlan, however, from the airport to the city, you will probably ride in a regular vehicule.

2. What is the hotel website address?

3. Will Monroi annotators be allowed in the tournament?
In 2007, the tournament itself was broadcast by Monroi, however only the top 3 boards were transmitted. I would believe that in this tournament as well Monroi's can be used. I will probably know more about this after the technical meeting on October 1, 2009.

4. Is my son allowed to give a souvenir to his opponent prior to the game?
In 2007, we saw a Canadian girl, who later went on win the gold medal, give her opponents a souvenir prior to the first move. We thought greatly about that generous act because it was a lesson in international chess. Our children will have the opportunity to interact for several day with children from other nations. Irregardless of the policies and politics of our three countries with each other, our children are free of those politics. I would not only suggest BUT HIGHLY ENCOURAGE that every player on both American and Canadian teams buy an inexpensive gift to give as a token of friendship to their opponents. The Canadian girl, whose name I believe was Alexandra, she gave her opponents a post card with her name, email address and messenger. I would notice the smile that her opponents would give when they received such thoughtful gift. Since that day, we have followed Alexandra's example. In the Pan American 2008, our daughter purchased some postcards from Texas to give as a friendship token to the 9-competitors from South America and the Carribean she faced. When she was invited by GM Susan Polgar to the Susan Polgar Invitational 2009 at Texas Tech University, we were asked to bring a gift indicative of our state to be given to the first round opponent, so Claudia brought a can of PACE PICANTE SAUCE, which she gave to the representative of Vermont. So, I would HIGHLY ENCOURAGE you as parents to bring this up with your children - it is a friendship seed which will sprout into long lasting friendships in international chess.

Tomorrow I will be posting the names and ratings of the official players of Mexico for this NAYCC 2009.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Should we bring a laptop or will we have trouble getting it through customs?

If you have a laptop, travel with it. You will not have trouble passing it through customs.

Will it be safe to carry around our laptop and/or leave it in our hotel room?

I would not leave the laptop in the hotel room; I would carry it with me at all times. If you are leaving the room to enjoy the city, leave it with another American that will be staying at the hotel.

Will the hotel have internet connectivity and is there a cost?

The hotel has wireless internet in the entire facility, meaning the rooms, the lobby and the restaurant. You must ask for the password as you register. There is no additional cost for usage of this service.

If we don't bring a laptop are there computers available at the hotel with internet connectivity so that we can communicate back home through Skype or email? Is there a cost?

The hotel does have some computers available at no extra cost; however, it is my experience that with so many competitors, parents, and coaches – you can forget that.

Are there beaches located close to the hotel?

The hotel is located in front of the ocean.

What will be best for parent meal choices? If the official representatives are being fed buffet style then is it possible for the parent to also eat at the buffet? What is the cost?

It is my understanding as I have spoken with the hotel that the food is included in the hotel price. You see, hotels are inexpensive in Mazatlan and the competition is fierce. Therefore, there are numerous offers and choices.

Are there restaurants located nearby?

The hotel is located in “EL MALECON” which is the ocean front; there are numerous restaurants and other hotels in our location.

We have been told that it is very easy to get sick in Mazatlan by drinking the water? How do we avoid problems in this regard and what are the alternative options that are safe? My son probably won't play very well if he has five days of soda pop.

Mexico has always gotten a bad rap concerning the water issue, but in reality it’s the same throughout Latin America. In the hotel room there is bottled water and you can also purchase bottle water in any convenience store. It is inexpensive. Always drink bottled water not because it is Mexican water but simply because you want to avoid your son or daughter excessive bodily changes due to climate and water.

We have been told that there is a fee to leave Mexico. Is this something that is part of the fees and taxes with our airfare or is this a separate tax that must be paid? How much is this fee?

Any and all fees and taxes are already included in your airfare. Some countries do charge to enter their country but it is done simply because the United States does the same; therefore, those countries feel compelled to act like they are treated. You will fill out a customs declaration while in flight, but it is provided to you in English. In our personal situation, because we live in a border city, we never fly into Mexico, we simply drive; however, as a child a recalled flying every summer to Mexico from Chicago, my hometown, and the one or two page forms we had to fill out.

What is the best way to communicate back home? Internet, pre-paid phone cards?

This is an excellent question. Due to the fact that Mazatlan is a major resort, it’s actually in the top 10 in the world, American cell phones work properly there. Call your cell phone provider to inquire on charges when you use your cell phone in Mazatlan and what is the cost per minute and codes to dial. During the last North American Youth Championship in Aguascalientes, Mexico, several parents used their cell phones in Mexico. Internet is also a great way to communicate back home. You can buy Mexican calling cards in any convenience store in Mazatlan. You can also call back home from your hotel room, they will simply bill you on your credit card in the hotel at check out.

If there is more than one person from your country in your section of the tournament will you eventually meet up with them as an opponent if you both do well, or do they strictly keep members of the same delegation from playing one another?

In some categories in our delegation there is more than one player. There is a possibility that two team members could face each other according to their performance. In a case such as that, I will never as Head of Delegation pressure a parent to offer a draw or manipulate a result. Not only is it unsportsmanlike but unethical.

Is there a registration list of the other players (not from our delegation) so that we can see what the competition is shaping up to be?

We have a list of the Canadian team, which will be posted in this blog, not for reasons of preparing against the Canadian team but because Ms. Beatriz Marinello requested to Mr. Jorge Vega – President of FIDE America that the team registration lists be posted in their website. However, I can basically tell you who Mexico’s official representatives will be since they had a national tournament in order to choose their official representative. I will explain this later.

Are there other activities besides the tournament for which we will be participating as a group?

No, there are no other activities during the tournament; there is not a blitz tournament or a bughouse event like in the United States.

Can we use our Visa Card locally in Mazatlan for credit card transactions or do we need cash or traveler's cheques?

Mazatlan is like an American city outside the continental United States. That should explain everything. Whatever we have in the United States they have in Mazatlan, they simply speak more Spanish. Mazatlan depends on foreign tourism; therefore it is a city that caters to foreign tourism. With this answer I clarify that you can use your credit cards. I have not seen traveler’s cheques in such a long time, but credit cards are used and accepted in Mexico.

Do we need to convert our cash to pesos? Where is the best place to do so? Where do we convert it back when we return?

You can exchange your dollars into pesos at the airport or at the hotel. It is always better to pay with pesos than dollar because outside the airport they will take your dollar at a less devaluated rate. When we enter Mexico we always exchange dollars for pesos. There are numerous currency exchange businesses all over Mazatlan to exchange your dollars to pesos or vice versa. IF YOU USE YOUR CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD AT AN ATM MACHINE TO WITHDRAW MONEY – YOU WILL RECEIVE PESOS AND NOT DOLLARS. The pesos you receive will be at the going rate of exchange for that day.

What type of local cuisine is recommended?

The same Mexican food you eat at home is what you should stick with until someone can explain to you what other dishes contain.

What type of foods or shops should we avoid so that we stay healthy?

Avoid street vendors. Avoid buying “gold” or “silver” from street vendors unless they are established businesses.

What is the best way to travel around the city?

Remember golf carts? Those are the cabs used in Mazatlan; they are called “PULMONIAS”. You will see them all over Mazatlan. From the airport to the hotel you will travel in a regular cab, but once you are in the city of Mazatlan, you will see hundreds of golf carts used as taxies. They are really cool!

Since this is the North American Youth Championships then does this mean that this will limit the participation to Canada, the US and Mexico or will their be participants from further down in South America that will attend?

Excellent question! Actually in the North American Youth Championship there are 4 countries according to FIDE – Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas. Why the Bahamas? I do not know, but in 2007 they were supposed to show-up yet a delegation never appeared. I think sometimes that they do not even know they are part of this event. Their flag was printed in the 2007 information kits. Could a player from the Central American or South American Zone participate? Yes, they could but two things have to happen: Mexico as the organizing country would have to invite a country and FIDE would have to approve the invitation. In the Central American Youth Championship celebrated in July, Mexico was invited to participate. An excellent player by the name of Hermes, in the under-12 boys, with Pan American and World Youth experience represented Mexico in the category mentioned. He was the only competitor from Mexico to participate and he ended up winning the Silver medal. Yet for him to participate, he had to waive his right to participate in the North American Youth Championship 2009. As of this time, I am unaware that Mexico has invited another country since the Central American Zone already had their championship and South America will be hosting their Championship while we are in Mazatlan, however, theirs is longer in duration.

How does the strength of U.S. participants in these types of international tournaments typically stack up against Canada and South America?

In the 2007 NAYCC, the U.S. team was made-up of 11-players of whom four won the gold medal, one won the silver and we also had a bronze. The U.S. got a clear sweep of gold medals in both the under-8 boys and girls, under 10-girls, and under 18-boys. The silver came in the under-12 boys and the bronze in the under 8-boys. Canada sent a team of six members, but only one girl won the gold medal in the under-12, if I am not mistaken. Mexico won everything else.

Is the US dominant as evidenced in the Pan American games or is one of these other countries or regions fairly strong?

In my opinion, the United States would be more dominant in both North America and the Pan American Youth Championships if more children participated. We do not have representation in the under-10, 14 and 18 girls and 18 boys. It makes it hard for the United States to win the overall championship with such absences in those key categories. Canada’s contingent is even smaller and is more focused on the younger categories, this leaves Mexico with the opportunity for a clean sweep of three medals per categories in which neither the United States and Canada contest them. One cannot use the excuse that the tournament was organized at the list minute, in the 2007 edition, the information was posted five months ahead of time, the result? The same amount of chess players representing the United States as this time – 11. Furthermore, upon returning to the United States, in several tournaments, when parents found out my daughter had the WOMAN CANDIDATE MASTER Title – some would get upset and demand to know how we got the title! We simply stated that our daughter was the gold medalist for the United States in major international zonal tournament; they had the same opportunity to compete as we did, yet we participated when no one wanted too. However, at the same time, the United States is getting ready to participate in the World Youth Championship 2009 in Turkey next month, so it is completely understandable. In the last NAYCC, a certain delegation called us “AMERICA’s B-team”. We all laughed.

Are there local laws, customs or curfews of which we should be aware?

No curfews in Mazatlan. Regarding customs, I will explain several in our first team meeting in Mazatlan.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


After 61,617 hits from 116-countries, our Spanish language sister blog,, celebrates its one year anniversary today. Twelve months ago to the day, we created Claudia's first chess blog, in Spanish, as a natural informative blog in order to cover her progress, at that time, as an American playing in Mexico.

Since that day,, gained strength as we focused on issues not only pertaining to Latin American chess but also, politics, sports, national and international events. With the alliances we have made with numerous other blogs in Mexico and South America, we are able to cover numerous events almost in real time.

We thank the loyal readers and followers of, for following us now here in,

Friday, September 18, 2009



We want to thank Mr. David Zeng for providing us with the link concerning the VISA requirements (if any), for parents with foreign passports that are not U.S. Passports, entering Mexico:

We applaude Mr. Zeng for this home run hit that simplified our life.


After speaking with the hotel a few minutes ago, they state there is no in-house hotel shuttle service from the airport to Olas Altas Inn. After inquiring about the cost of a taxi, from the airport, I was told it is about $250 to $300 pesos - yes, pesos not dollars. The rate of exchange is $12.00 pesos for one $1 U.S. dollar. This morning in Mexico as I was by the international bridge in Acuna, across from Del Rio, Texas, I saw it at $13.00 pesos for $1.00 U.S. dollar, but the excahnge rate is always higher in the border region because of the enormous financial transactions conducted in both countries.


The cancellation policy. If it is 72-hours prior to the event, no penalty whatsoever. If you wait 24-hours before your arrival, the penalty will be the cost of one night stay.

I learned this from my wife's account in the 2008 Pan American Youth Championship. IF THEIR IS A SPECIAL DIET THAT YOU REQUIRE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW NOW. Mexico is a meat-based diet; therefore, if their are any dietary conditions that are need, let me have them now via email.
Any more questions lets ask them now so that I may find proper answers to all of the them :)
Abed Munoz
USCF Head of Delegation


As of 1:28 a.m. (yes, I do sleep once in a while) these are the confirmed players both official representatives and additional players that will represent the United States in the NAYCC 2009. If you are an additional player that is not on my list, you might be on Mr. Chuck Lovingood's list, please send me an email just so that I may post your child's name on this list.

We had on official representative withdraw from the team in the under-10 girls; however we have three additional players enter the under-12 and under-8 boys.

We welcome these new additions to Team USA.

Girls Under 8 :

Emily Nguyen (official)

Girls Under 10:

No representative

Girls Under 12:

Claudia Munoz (official)

Girls Under 14:

No representative

Girls Under 16:

Madhu Karamsetty (official)

Girls Under 18:

No representative

Boys Under 8:

Winston Zeng (official)

Rayan Taghizadeh

Boys Under 10:

Ian Gilchrist (official)

Boys Under 12:

Kayden Troff (official)

Jeevan Karamsetty

Andrew Istafanous

Boys Under 14:

Stuart Finney (official)

Boys Under 16:

Deepak Aaron (official)

Boys Under 18:

No representative

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (G90/30 second increments)

October 1 - Arrival of Delegations (You must arrive)

October 2 - Technical Meeting 8:00 a.m.

October 2 - Opening Ceremony 9:00 a.m.

October 2 - 1st round 10:00 a.m.

October 2 - 2nd round 5:00 p.m.

October 3 - 3rd round 9:00 a.m.

October 3 - 4th round 2:00 p.m.

October 3 - 5th round 7:00 p.m.

October 4 - 6th round 9:00 a.m.

October 4 - 7th round 2:00 p.m.

October 4 - Award and closing ceremony 8:00 p.m.

October 5 - Departure of Delegations

NOTE: For the official representatives, the organizers begin providing lodging October 1, 2009. Also, the organizers are in charge of providing meals to the representatives, buffet style, the supper meal of October 1, 2009 until breakfast of October 5, 2009.

1. Will there be shuttle service and how far is the airport from the hotel?
I will check with the hotel in order to find an answer to this question. Give me 24-hours and I will have an answer. The airport is located 30 minutes from the hotel.
2. Will there be someone at the airport that speaks English to receive me?
I will be at the hotel receiving every members of the American and Canadian Delegations, already Mr. Raul Hernandez - President of the Mexican Federation, requested my bilingual assistance. However, if my wife travels with me, I will probably have her waiting for every American and Canadian at the airport in order to make sure that you arrive safely. My wife, also named Claudia, is well known by the both the NAYCC 2007 and Pan American 2008, U.S. teams. She is also a perfect bilingual as well as my two daughters. You will not be left stranded or alone.
3. I am not a U.S. citizen and I have a foreign passport, will I need a VISA to enter Mexico?
For those who might not know, we live right on the U.S. - Mexican border. Our family has dual citizenship, we have a residence in Del Rio, Texas and one in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, right across the Rio Grande. Our business, "ASESORIAS ACADEMICAS" is located on the Mexican side of the river. Our company provides bilingual support service to American companies operating along the Mexican side of the border. Tomorrow, we will stop by Mexican Immigration and ask them what requirements are needed for foreign nationals that are NOT AMERICAN citizens. However, we need a list of nationalities because every situation is different. If you are in this situation, just send me an email with your country of origin so that I may inquire personally on the international bridge. If you hold an American passport, you simply land and clear customs.
4. I am a Canadian citizen and my country Canada recently required that Mexican nationals have a VISA to enter my country, does this mean that I will require a VISA before hand to enter Mexico as reciprocity for my government's policy towards Mexico?
This question can only be answered by the Mexican Embassy or Consulate in Canada. True, in July the Canadian government did for the first time impose an entry VISA for Mexican citizens entering Canada. Usually, governments retaliate under reciprocity, we are unaware if Mexico has taken this stance. We advise that you inquire with a quick call to the Mexican Embassy in Canada, just to be on the safe side.
5. Should I land in an alternative city and drive to Mazatlan?
This subject is very touchy for us who live on the border because we live in an area relatively crime free on both sides of the international river. Yes, there is violence in Mexico just like there is violence in the United States and Canada. Felipe Calderon, Mexico's President, is on a crusade to dismantle the drug cartels that are sending tons of drugs to a more that willing buyers market in the United States. The fighting is based in certain areas of the country, primarlly in the states of Chihuahua, Michocan, Baja California Norte and Tamaulipas. The Mexican military presence in those areas are overwhelming in order to keep stability. We have traveled in the last 24-months all over Mexico and have never encountered any violence of sorts. However, we know the country and the language. We know the areas to avoid as well. Therefore, we advise you NOT to land in an alternative airport and then proceed your journey to Mazatlan. We, the Munoz family, will be traveling to Mazatlan by land; however, our vacations was in Mazatlan this July and we experienced no delays or happenings of sorts.
6. What is the cancellation policy on the hotel?
Simple, don't cancel! Just joking, I will have an answer in 24-hours.
7. I will be taking additional family members. What is the policy there?
You pay the hotel difference.
8. Who is going to tell the organizers that my son or daughter is an official representative?
Once Beatrice Marinello registers us with the Mexican Federation, they will know, however, I will inform the hotel in the next few days as well. Any other problems and we will deal with them on the ground in Mazatlan.
9. Where do I pay the $50 dollars to register?
In Mazatlan when you arrive at the hotel, I will be waiting for you so that you pay the registration fee.
Last but not least, we have been complimented by several of parents for coordinating this team. We consider it an honor to assist the USCF parental family and we hope this will be the beginning of many more trips in the future. On August 31, 2009, at 6:00 a.m. I came across the information on this tournament, I quickly notified the USCF only to be told on September 4, 2009 - that the USCF would not participate due to time constraints, however, they stated that they would support us individually as participants.
Those that know me understand that "no" is not a part of my vocabulary. I decided on my own to post the tournament information on our blog and then I proceeded to send a massive 100-plus email to everyone on our database, starting with 17-year old GM Hess to 9-year old WFM Simone Liao. The email was directed to every coach and former USCF Head of Delegation that has traveled abroad representing the U.S.A in the last 24-months.
Later that Saturday, I noticed the USCF posted the tournament information on their website. I decided immediately to send an email to the Canadian Federation about the tournament as well. During that weekend, I sent the tournament information to numerous blogs nationwide in order to stir interest. Daily, Chuck and I would call each other to keep the information flowing until I was asked to become the USCF Head of Delegation.
Prior to this, I spoke with Mr. Russell Harwood, the past Head of Delegation of the 2007 team, in order to ask him to lead us once again. As many know, he is the Chess Program Director at the University of Texas Brownsville, however, he was unable to participate but did recommend me based on the assistance we provided in 2007. Also, Beatriz Marinello recommend us due to the assistance my wife gave in the Pan American 2008 team with her Spanish-speaking skills.
So why are we doing this?
We do it because I have two daughters, one who occasionally plays chess and the other one who dreams chess. I want them to see in us parents, as they grow-up, that everything can be achieved if you simply put your heart into it.
My daughter Claudia told me today as she heard me speaking with a parent over the phone, "Dad, I'm proud of you." Then she proceeded to hug me as well as my daughter Faith.
That is why we are doing this :)
Believe me, your kids are also proud of what you are doing for them right now.
We also wanted to demonstrate to the USCF family, that we the parents, must help the federation with our endeavors. We cannot expect our federation to do everything for us. If we parents, unite our efforts with our federation, we can further assist the endeavors of our children.
In conclusion, I must recognize the USCF for reversing their decision once they saw the large amount of interest in this tournament, especially, KUDOS to Chuck Lovingood who after taking over Jerry Nash, as Scholastic and FIDE Director, completed this monumental task while being sick.
Abed Munoz
USCF Head of Delegation