Kids Take 1st Victory: Atwell, Paragua Beat Nemo, Cramling

Kids Take 1st Victory: Atwell, Paragua Beat Nemo, Cramling

| 16 | Chess Event Coverage

The Kids, FM Rose Atwell and WFM Megan Paragua, defeated the Stars, WGM Nemo Zhou and WFM Anna Cramling in the first Kids vs. Stars match on Tuesday. 

With a combination of tactical awareness, endgame technique, and superior time management, Atwell and Paragua outscored the Stars by a 12-point margin. 

Match Scores - Final

Two popular streamers made up the Stars team. Cramling recently reached the milestone of one million subscribers on YouTube. She is also the proud inventor of The Cow Opening. Additionally, Cramling comes from chess royalty as her mother is GM Pia Cramling, the fifth-ever female grandmaster.

Nemo hosts one of the most watched chess streams on Twitch. She's aware of how strong kids can be, since when Nemo was a youth herself, she won gold at the World Youth Championship in the Girls Under-14 section. 

Two fierce prodiges represented the Kids team. Over the last two years, Atwell has risen steadily from expert to FIDE master. In the process, she's captured the number one spot for American females aged 15 by a nearly 150-point margin.

Paragua is fresh off double gold medals in the World Cadet Rapid and Blitz Championships in the Girls Under 12 sections. She's ranked fourth in blitz ratings for U.S. players under age 13 (regardless of gender)―and she towers over the girls-only version of this list by almost 300 points. Paragua also has strong chess-playing roots: her uncle is GM Mark Paragua

Match 1: Atwell vs. Nemo, Paragua vs. Cramling

The kids began with a 2-0 lead, each outplaying the Stars in time-scramble finishes. As FM Mike Klein described: "Youth has trumped subscriber count so far!”

Youth has trumped subscriber count so far!

―Mike Klein

In game two, Nemo struck back with an unstoppable kingside attack.

Paragua managed to take over the game vs. Cramling, finishing with a picturesque checkmate with just two seconds left on her clock. 

Throughout her match, Paragua displayed an ability to gain a massive lead in time, intensifying the pressure on her opponent.

Meanwhile, a shocking Botez Gambit Declined took place on Atwell and Nemo’s board.

In the final game between them, Nemo discovered a clever tactic. Yet, Atwell fought back, counter-striking and then rushing her pawns to promotion vs. the enemy knight.

In the last game of Cramling vs. Paragua, Cramling gained a commanding position with an octopus knight on d6. Could she halt her opponent’s sweep?

In the critical moment with just seconds left for each side, Cramling sacrificed her knight to go for glory.

The first matches concluded with a powerful lead in favor of the Kids: 8.5-2.5. Could the Stars make a comeback?

Match 2: Paragua vs. Nemo, Atwell vs. Cramling

The halfway break seemed to invigorate the Kids team. Showing no interest in respect for their elders, they started the next match scoring 4/4 between them. In game two, Paragua gained a potent edge by move seven.

Meanwhile, Atwell showed the power of the two bishops against Nemo. 

Just two games into each second match, Atwell and Paragua clinched victory, scoring 13-3. 

Despite losing the match, the Stars fought on, creating a few bright spots over the board. In game three, Nemo set up a deadly mating net against Paragua. 

In the same round, Cramling displayed incredible defensive endgame ability with just one second left on her clock.

Though Atwell wiggled out a victory in the end, Cramling had achieved a drawn king and pawn ending. Can you find how?

White to move and draw.

Position after 57...h5

With a final score of 18-6, the Kids finished with a 75% victory rate. Paragua shared the key to her success in faster time controls:

I feel like in blitz I have more confidence. I also practice a lot in blitz. I'm more confident because I know it's easier for my opponent to blunder, especially if I'm higher rated.

I feel like in blitz I have more confidence.

―Megan Paragua

On the Stars team, Cramling shared what brings her back to these matches after facing defeat:

Every time I lose in these matches like crazy... And then every time, there’s enough time to forget how strong these kids are! So every time, I’m like: ‘Okay, I’ve improved. This is the time. This is now the moment when I have improved, and I have a chance!’

Every time, there’s enough time to forget how strong these kids are!

―Anna Cramling

Serendipitously, a kid also overcame stars in today's Titled Tuesday.

Will FM Faustino Oro make an appearance in a future Kids vs. Stars match? What prodigies and stars would you like to see cross swords?

How to watch?
You can watch Kids vs. Stars on You can also enjoy the show on our Twitch channel and catch all our live broadcasts on YouTube. Games from the event can be viewed on our events page.

The live broadcast was hosted by FM Mike Klein and WGM Keti Tsatsalashvili.

Kids vs. Stars is a new series of matches between the generations of bright young talent facing your favorite stars and content creators. The players will battle it out in a team match. The kids will play each star six times in a 3+1 time control. The team with the most points at the end of this 24-game clash will win the match.

NM Vanessa West

Vanessa West is a National Master, a chess teacher, and a writer for In 2017, they won the Chess Journalist of the Year award.

You can follow them on X: Vanessa__West

More from NM NM_Vanessa
Nakamura Unstoppable vs. Nihal, Naroditsky Overcomes Sevian's Comeback

Nakamura Unstoppable vs. Nihal, Naroditsky Overcomes Sevian's Comeback

Sevian Stuns Firouzja; Nakamura, Nihal, Naroditsky Advance

Sevian Stuns Firouzja; Nakamura, Nihal, Naroditsky Advance