Iowa Denker Candidates 2017
Arshaq Saleem is the 2017 Iowa Denker Representative
I was excited for the opportunity to watch the Iowa Denker/Barber Candidates tournament this year. I drove up with one of my students, Nathan Chen (1780), to support his efforts to become the Iowa Barber Representative for 2017. My goal was to take pictures and watch the battles.
This year the Denker section (Grades 9 - 12) was light with only 4 players able to participate. Of those 4 there was Joseph Wan (2240), Arshaq Saleem (2220), Sarah Carson (1571) and Mason (580). Well, its safe to say the deciding match in this section would be between Joseph and Arshaq. The first round had Arshaq playing white against Joseph.
I began to pay closer attention to their game after the 1st round of the Barber section. I was interested in doing some analysis with my students as most of them had finished their game rather quickly. We setup a board down the hall and out of sight and began our analysis session. Isabel and Owen were running back and forth to update our board.
I felt this match-up would a battle of preparation versus performance. My experience with both of these players was that Arshaq possessed the superior preparation while Joseph performed better under pressure. The only 2 wins I claimed against Arshaq came in the time scramble and I wouldn't say at all that I was better in either of those games it just so happened that I had strong enough preparation to get him into time trouble. In facing Joseph Wan I had better positions but they weren't winning positions so the losses I have taken to Joseph were due to his better performance under time pressure.
In short, I felt if Arshaq could achieve a winning position before his clock hit 5 minutes he would win and if Joseph could survive Arshaq's preparation then Joseph would win.
Here is the Game: