Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational

I was given the privilege of directing the 2011 Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational Chess Tournament in Lubbock, Texas, from July 24-29, 2011. I am pictured above with Susan Polgar, Heather Young of Vancouver, WA, and her parents, Ron & Peggy Young.

The winner was the highest rated player, Apurva Virkud, from Michigan with a perfect 6-0 score. Mandy Lu, also of Michigan, and Chenyi Zhao of California each were presented with netbook computers for winning the under age 13 and under age 10 prizes respectively. Mandy also won the blitz tournament in a playoff over Evelyn Chen of Georgia.

There were four scholarships given to players entering the 11th or 12th grade. They went to Vanita Young of Pennsylvania, Cheryl Liu of Illinois, Sneha Chikkila of Arkansas and Dyhemia Young of California. Each scholarship is valued at approximately $40,000 for out-of-state students who will utilize the award for their full four years in college.

As a current resident of the Great Northwest, I was very interested in the results of the girls from my area. Heather Young of Vancouver, WA, who is home schooled and will be entering 10th grade in September, finished 18th out of 46 players. Most of the entrants were champions or co-champions of their respective states.

The Idaho representative was Savanah Naccarato of Sandpoint, who plays mostly in the Spokane scholastic events. Savanah finished in 9th place with a 4-2 score. She will be entering 9th grade in the fall and has begun study in recent months with Seattle chess coach John Graves. Unfortunately there was no Oregon participant this year.

Susan provided three days of intensive training for all of the participants. I was allowed to sit in on the sessions and am very impressed with the quality of play of the girls as well as the depth of learning that is available to them as part of the event.

Many thanks to Jeff Roland of Idaho who reformatted the cross table for the 2011 SPGI event to make it easier to read. It is located here.

Here is the ICA link for the 2011 SPGI story about Savanah Naccarato.

Here is the link for the Bonner Bee article about Savanah Naccarato

And, the follow-up story after the tournament.

Thanks to the interest and energy of Rusty Miller there should be some coverage soon in the Vancouver press concerning Heather Young.

An annual fund is in the process of being established, perhaps through Northwest Chess, to support travel expenses for each year's Northwest nominees (Washington, Oregon & Idaho). My suggestion is to call it the Dr. Ralph L. Hall memorial travel fund after one of the pioneers of scholastic chess excellence in the Northwest. Dr. Hall wrote position papers on the benefits of chess for children years before anyone else even thought about it.

More details of the event can be found on Susan’s blog

I will be tournament director for the Open Section (FIDE Rated) of the Portland Chess Club Centennial Open in August. Please stop by and say “hello” if you play in or visit the event. The tournament flyer is located here.