Drama at the Florida State Scholastic Chess Championships
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Drama at the Florida State Scholastic Chess Championships

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Last weekend, I was lucky enough to participate in the 2023 Florida State Scholastic Championships. My performance was mediocre and uninteresting, so I decided to not write about my games. Instead, what I will be writing about is much more interesting.

During the closing ceremony where winners were announced and presented with their respective trophies, one instance stuck out like a sore thumb. When the winners from the K-5 section were announced, something strange happened. More specifically, when 3rd place Akeras Overlingas was presented with his trophy, he didn't accept it in a conventional manner. [Note: This video comes from his family's own YouTube Channel]

As far as I heard, he said 

I don't agree with the TD's decision because of the lower rated player violated the rules and was talking with someone and won first place

basically insinuating that the winner of the K-5 section was receiving outside help during the tournament. This is a serious accusation, and in this blog, I will attempt to cover both sides of the story to my best ability. For the sake of the winner's privacy, I will refer to them as 1st Place Kid. 


1st Place Kid played Akeras in round 4 of the event, with both having perfect scores up to that point. Their game is going to be broadcast live on a DGT board allowing others outside the playing hall to spectate the event's top players and boards. Additionally, the DGT boards have no time delay, unlike events such as the K-12 Nationals, making real-time assistance more accessible. Previously, these two players have clashed on multiple occasions, twice in the blitz tourney the night before the game in question, and another time around 1.5 years ago. In the blitz tourney, Akeras claimed to have "crushed" 1st Place Kid, beating him twice in a row, while in the game 1.5 years ago, 1st Place Kid beat Akeras in a classical time format.

The Top 3 Finishers of the K-5 Blitz Tournament

Going into the game, Akeras's family had also claimed to have been suspicious of the child due to their previously mentioned classical encounter. This triggered his father to even bring a metal detector and insist TD's to scan every player leaving the tourney hall.

The photo comes from this video

The TD's OBVIOUSLY denied this request and the denial resulted in a verbal altercation between Akeras's father and NM Bryan Tillis leading to increased tension over the game. So with all of this history and drama even before the round, how did the game go? Well, 1st Place Kid pulled a 300-point upset, taking the lead in the tournament.

The game to me seemed quite run-of-the-mill. Black simply pushed for a win in a drawn position, which exposed himself and led to a loss.

After the loss, however, accusations of unfair play came flying from the Overlingas side. Below is what Akeras claimed happened during the game:

- 1st Place Kid peeped his head outside once and spoke to someone. This was their main point, as they said the person outside could have informed him of any good moves to play. He was said to have only done this once, and the only words the TD heard were "I can not talk to you right now"

- 1st Place Kid went to the bathroom 10 times. Basically, I guess assuming that suspicious activity was going on in the bathroom

- 1st Place Kid lost to Akeras "badly" in the blitz tournament preceding the round but he played "very well" in their game together. 

This evidence is what their grounds for accusing 1st Place Kid were. After the game, they decided to appeal the game to the TD's, but with no success.

The objection to the appeal made by the Overlingas side was likely because tournament directors had a very different story about what happened. The TD's claimed:

- 1st Place Kid's family friend peeped inside the door and asked how his game was going, and 1st Place Kid did NOT poke his head out the door. In response, 1st Place Kid put up 2 fists and said "I can't talk to you".

- 1st Place Kid did not go to the bathroom 10 times, rather he stood up 10 times. The TD had seen that Akeras was making notes every time his opponent stood up and therefore likely counted it as going to the bathroom. In fact, even before the round began, the tournament directors had informed the players on the DGT board that if they wanted to go to the bathroom, they MUST consult a TD who will escort them. The TD's did not recall escorting 1st Place Kid to the bathroom anywhere close to 10 times.

So as a result of the denial, after the tournament, Akeras pulled a Magnus Carlsen and announced his suspicions for everyone to hear in the aforementioned video at the beginning of this blog. The suspicions have also warranted a 2 part series where Akeras and his father discuss cheating in scholastic tournaments.

They accused 1st Place Kid of cheating in these videos 1 2 and explained why

In response to these public attacks against 1st Place Kid, I know of at least 3 groups/organizations who are currently filing ethics complaints against Akeras Overlingas and his father. As far as I have seen from their complaints, they want them punished for:

- Accusing other players of cheating without any basis. (The "without any basis" can be contested in my opinion, but it is clearly without sufficient evidence)

- Returning the Trophy and sharing a video of it, accusing 1st Place Kid of cheating. (verified)

- Recording players without consent and intimidating players during tournament games. (I can attest as I myself and many others were victims of this)

- Carrying a metal detector to the tournament and (allegedly) scanning opponents without parental consent.

- Some other stuff that doesn't relate to this situation

This story is still developing and unfortunately, since none of us besides the players know the true story, that's all I can cover about this. 


I am 100% on the side of 1st Place Kid. In my opinion, I think Akeras lost fair and square against 1st Place Kid, but instead of taking the loss, he used barely sufficient evidence to begin an all-out attack on 1st Player Kid's character. This entire drama is very sad in the first place and I hope Akeras and his family learn their lesson from this situation.

Final Thoughts

All in all, this could have been easily avoided, but pride does many things. That's all I can say about the topic for now, so thanks for reading and have a nice day! Thanks for reading!

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