Thursday, July 24, 2014

Northwest well represented in 2014 SPFGI

View of the stage from above at 2014 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational

A portion of the following article by the author of this blog will appear in the October, 2014 issue of Northwest Chess magazine.

Four girls from the Pacific Northwest region participated in this year’s Susan Polgar Foundation Girls’ Invitational held on the campus of Webster University in suburban St. Louis. Olga Cheraphkin of Washington finished with four points to finish in a 7th place tie in the six round 56-player event. Olga lost only to top scholarship winner Kimberly Ding of New Jersey and rising star Natassja Matus of Minnesota. Olga teamed with Katya Davis of New York to tie for first place in the bughouse side event.

Olga Cherepakhin of Washington (left) makes her first move against Kimberly Ding of New Jersey at the start of their blitz match

Carmen Pemsler of Idaho also finished with a plus score (3.5 – 2.5) while Lauren Mei Calora of Oregon, playing in her first USCF-rated event, scored two points. The other Oregon resident, Andrea Botez, officially represented Canada and finished with an even score. Carmen played solidly throughout, losing only one game in the main event. She was one of the top finishers in the blitz tourney with 8-2, only a point out of clear first and good enough for a second place tie. All for NWC girls fared well in the blitz, finishing with a combined 24.5 – 15.5 record.

Andrea Botez of Happy Valley, OR, was actually the Oregon state girls champion, but accepted her invitation as Canadian rep (since her family has duel citizenship) so that another Oregon girl could participate. State scholastic coordinator Carl Haessler selected Lauren Mei Calora to fill the Oregon vacancy.

Additionally, Savanna Nacarrato of Sandpoint, ID, was selected for the special TD exemption this year. Due to schoolwork and other activities she has not had much time to practice chess this past year, so she graciously deferred rather than take up a spot in the field that could go to someone better prepared. As a result, Savanna is the first girl invited to attend the SPFGI in 2015.

Carmen Pemsler of Idaho

Selected games from the 2014 SPFGI:

Pemsler, Carmen – Buxbaum, Talia [D55]
2014 SPFGI (Rd. 1), July 12, 2014

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 0–0 6.e3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qc2 c5 11.dxc5 bxc5 12.Rfd1 c4 13.Be2 Nb6 14.Nd4 Rc8 15.Bf3 h6 16.Bh4 Re8 17.Rd2 Qd7 18.Bg3 Rcd8 19.Rad1 Bc5 20.a3 Bxd4 21.Rxd4 a6

22.e4 Qc6 23.e5 Nh7 24.Qd2 Re7 25.Nxd5 Nxd5 26.Bxd5 Rxd5 27.Rxd5 Qxd5 28.Qxd5 Bxd5 29.Rxd5 Kf8 30.h4 f6 31.Rc5 fxe5 32.Bxe5 Nf6 33.Bd6 Kf7 34.Bxe7 Kxe7 35.Rxc4 Kd7 36.Kf1 g5 37.hxg5 hxg5 38.Ke2 Kd6 39.Ra4 Kc5 40.Rxa6 Ne4 41.f3 Ng3+ 42.Kf2 Nh1+ 43.Kg1 Ng3 44.Ra5+ Kc4 45.Rxg5 Ne2+ 46.Kf2 Nc1 47.Ke3 Kb3 48.Rb5+ Ka2 49.Kd2 Nb3+ 50.Rxb3 Kxb3 51.f4 Kc4 52.a4 Kb4 53.f5 Kxa4 54.f6 Kb4 55.f7 Ka4 56.f8Q Kb5 57.Qc8 Kb4 58.Kd3 Kb5 59.Kd4 Kb4 60.Qc4+ Ka5 61.Qb3 Ka6 62.Kc5 Ka7 63.Kc6 Ka8 64.Qb7# 1–0

Cherepakhin, Olga - Pandey, Ritika [C89]
2014 SPFGI (Rd. 6), July 15, 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0–0 8.c3 d5 9.d3 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.Nbd2 dxe4 12.dxe4 Na5 13.Bc2 Bd6 14.Nf1 Qe7 15.Ng3 Bg6 16.Nh4 Rfd8 17.Nhf5 Qe6 18.Qf3 Bf8 19.Bg5 Kh8 20.h4 h6

21.Nxh6 Nc4 22.Bb3 Kh7 23.Bxf6 Qxf6 24.Qxf6 gxf6 25.Bxc4 Bxh6 26.Bd5 Rac8 27.h5 c6 28.hxg6+ fxg6 29.Bb3 Rd2 30.Re2 Rcd8 31.Rxd2 Rxd2 32.Rd1 Rxb2 33.Rd7+ Bg7 34.Rd3 a5 35.Bf7 c5 36.Nf1 c4 37.Rd2 Rb1 38.g3 Bh6 39.Rc2 Kg7 40.Bd5 f5 41.Kg2 Kf6 42.Nd2 Bxd2 43.Rxd2 Kg5 44.Re2 Kf6 45.f4 fxe4 46.fxe5+ Kxe5 47.Bxe4 Rc1 48.Bxg6+ Kf6 49.Rc2 Re1 50.Bh5 Kg5 51.g4 b4 52.cxb4 axb4 53.Rxc4 Re2+ 54.Kf3 Rxa2 55.Rxb4 Ra3+ 56.Ke4 Ra5 57.Rd4 Kf6 58.Rd6+ Ke7 59.Rd5 Ra4+ 60.Kf5 Ra1 61.g5 Rf1+ 62.Kg6 Rh1 63.Rf5 Ke6 64.Rf2 Ke7 65.Kh6 Rc1 66.g6 Rc6 67.Rf5 Ke8 68.Kh7 Rc7+ 69.Rf7 Rxf7+ 70.gxf7+ Kf8 71.Kg6 Ke7 72.Kg7 Ke6 73.f8Q Ke5 74.Qd8 Ke4 75.Qd6 Kf5 76.Bf3 Kg5 77.Qf6# 1–0

Botez, Andrea (1551) - Calora, Lauren Mei [D02]
2014 SPFGI (Rd. 6), July 15, 2014

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.e3 Bg4 4.h3 Bh5 5.c4 e6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.0–0 Qd7 9.a3 0–0 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Be2 Qe6 12.Ng5 Qf5 13.Bxh5 Qxg5 14.Bf3 Qf5 15.Qb3 Rfd8 16.Qxb7 Qd7 17.Qb3 Na5 18.Qb5 Qxb5 19.Nxb5 Bd6 20.Nxd6 cxd6 21.b4 Nb3 22.Rb1 Nxc1 23.Rfxc1 h5 24.a4 g5 25.b5 g4 26.hxg4 hxg4 27.Be2 Ne4 28.Bxg4 Nd2 29.Rb4 a5 30.bxa6 Rxa6 31.Rc2 Nc4 32.Bf3 Na3 33.Rc3 Kg7 34.Rxa3 Rc6 35.Ra1 Kf6 36.Bxd5 Rc2 37.a5 Kf5 38.a6 Rdc8 39.a7 Rc1+ 40.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 41.Kh2 Rc2 42.a8Q Rxf2 43.e4+ Kf4 44.Rb3 Rd2 45.Rf3+ Kg4 46.Qg8+ Kh4 47.Rh3# 1–0

More than $200,000 in scholarships and other prizes were awarded to competitors in the tournament, bringing the total value of college scholarships sponsored by the Susan Polgar Foundation over the past twelve years to more than 3.5 million dollars. Both the main event and the blitz tournament were FIDE rated for the first time this year thanks to the participation of FIDE Arbiter Andre Botez. The Chief Arbiter was former NWC member Frank Niro, assisted again this year by Alise Pemsler of Idaho.

Tournament director Alise Pemsler observes a game between Andrea Botez (left) and Sheena Zeng.

GM Susan Polgar plays an obvious relative of Northwest’s Morgan the dog.

TD Staff, l. to r., Andre Botez, Frank Niro, Martha Underwood, Susan Polgar, Jack Scheible, Alise Pemsler

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2014 SPFGI Final report

The co-champions include top-seeded Kimberly Ding of New Jersey, Natasha Morales Santos of Puerto Rico and Neeshmy Nunez Gonzales of Costa Rica, pictured here between GM Susan Polgar (left) and Webster University President, Beth Stroble (right).

FIDE Commission for Women's Chess report is located here.

The preliminary report is here.

The 11th Annual Susan Polgar Girls’ Invitational chess tournament, held July 10-15 at Webster University, wrapped up on Tuesday, July 15, in an unprecedented three-way tie.

The co-champions include top-seeded Kimberly Ding of New Jersey, Natasha Morales Santos of Puerto Rico and Neeshmy Nunez Gonzales of Costa Rica.

Ultimately, rules of FIDE, the International Chess Federation, determined the SPGI winning order. Therefore Ding took first place, wining a four-year all-tuition-and-fees scholarship to Webster, worth $100,000.

Morales Santos, who has played chess for only three years and also is legally blind, won second place, earning a four-year, $14,000 per year scholarship to Webster. Nunez Gonzales came in third, winning a four-year, $12,000 per year Webster scholarship.

Morales Santos will represent her home country of Puerto Rico at the 41st World Chess Olympiad, to be held Aug. 1 through 15 in Tromso, Norway.

Organized by Webster chess coach Susan Polgar, the tournament drew 56 girls from states across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, as well Cuba, Costa Rica, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.The six-day event is considered the most prestigious all-girls chess event in the U.S.

A partnership between Webster University and the Susan Polgar Foundation, the six-round championship tournament awards more than $200,000 in chess scholarships and prizes.

Co-Champions (Scholarships to Webster U)

Kimberly Ding - $100,000 scholarship
Natasha Morales Santos (PUR) - $56,000 scholarship
Neeshmy Nunez Gonzales (CRC) -$48,000 scholarship

Under Age 10 Champion ($1,000 toward the World Youth)
Nastassja Matus - 4.5 points

Under Age 12 Co-Champions ($1,000 toward the World Youth)
$333.33 each
Serafina Show - 4.0
Shreya Mangalam - 4.0
Thalia Cevantes Landiero (Cuba) - 4.0

Under Age 14 Co-Champions ($1,000 toward the World Youth)
$500 each
Katya Davis - 4.0
Naomi Santiago - 4.0

Under Age 16 Co-Champions ($1,000 toward the World Youth)
$500 each
Kimberly Ding - 5
Natasha Morales Santos (Puerto Rico) - 5

SPFGI Blitz Champion

Katya Davis 9/10

SPFGI Puzzle Solving Champion

Kimberly Ding 19.5/20

Bughouse Co-Champions

Diana Pereyra & Neeshmy Gonzales (won playoff)
Katya Davis & Olga Cherepakhin

More photos from the SPFGI

Webster University blog

Click on images below to enlarge

Thursday, July 10, 2014

2014 SPFGI set to start

Aerial view of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, July, 2014

Rules & Conditions for the 11th Annual Susan Polgar Foundation Girls' Invitational
(Over $200K in prizes and scholarships)
July 10 – 15, 2014 at Webster University (St. Louis, Missouri)

Webster University will provide complimentary room and meal accommodation on campus for all qualifiers!

The annual Susan Polgar Girls’ Invitational, in its 11th year, is the most prestigious all-girls event in the United States. It will once again be held at Webster University (St. Louis, Missouri).

• There will be an intense training session with Susan Polgar and members of the SPICE team, followed by a 6 round (g/90+30) FIDE rated championship tournament.

• The traditional Blitz, Puzzle Solving, Bughouse events will stay the same as in previous years.

• There will be many chess prizes awarded, as well as scholarships to Webster University.

Each state is allowed one representative to be nominated by May 20, 2014. Official representative alternates may be substituted no later than June 15. (Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee may allow the host state to enter an additional qualified player.) Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee may allow exceptions to the May 20 entry/alternate deadline. Should the state affiliate fail to respond to the notice for this tournament, Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee may determine the candidate from that state.

Players must have been enrolled in a school (up to 12th grade) located in the state they represent, also of the year in which the tournament is held. Home-schooled students who are under the age of 19 on July 10th of the year in which the event is held or students who have never attended college on a full time basis prior to June 1 of the year in which the tournament is held, are eligible to represent the state in which they reside.

Exception: If a player graduates from high school early and is already attending college, she may still represent her state if nominated. This is the decision of each state affiliate.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The participants of the Susan Polgar Girl’s Invitational DO NOT have to be high school students. Any qualifier under the age of 19 (by July 10th of the year in which the tournament is held) is eligible!

2014 SPFGI participants pictured outside of the World Chess Hall of Fame and Museum before the start of the tournament

Special invitation for this year only: All past participants of the SPNI and SPFGI (Susan Polgar National Invitational/Susan Polgar Foundation Girls’ Invitational 2004-2013) are invited to participate in the 2014 SPFGI. The idea is to have the past participants learn my method of training so they can go back home and share their knowledge with the younger players. However, registration MUST be made ASAP since space is limited. There will be mutual training sessions for all, however separate section & prizes for alumni participants over the age of 19.

Players are required to furnish the organizer an emergency phone number and the e-mail address of a parent/guardian.

There is no entry fee to participate in the 2014 SPFGI; however, players are responsible for their own travel. For all state representatives, and qualifiers from the SPNO or SPWO, Webster University will provide complimentary room and meal accommodation on campus.

For alumni participants, wild card/special invites, coaches, parents, or other family members, inexpensive accommodations are available for housing and dining on Webster’s campus. Please note that all reservations and registrations MUST be made (and accommodation expenses prepaid) no later than June 15, 2014.

Prizes: Trophies / plaques will be awarded to the winners of the Susan Polgar Foundation Girl’s Invitational Puzzle Solving, Blitz, and the SPFGI Championship. Co-champions are recognized in the case of a tie, with each champion receiving a Champion’s Plaque or Trophy.

The Champion (or Co-Champions) of the main event will automatically be invited to defend her/their title (must meet age requirement).

Champion: Webster University scholarship* (approximately $24,000+ per year x 4 years) Champion's Cup. (In case of a tie, a playoff will used to determine the level of scholarships)

2nd place: Webster University scholarship (approximately $14,000+ per year x 4 years)

3rd place: Webster University scholarship (approximately $12,000+ per year x 4 years)

Brand new additional prizes this year!

Top under 16: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2014 World Youth (if participating**)

Top under 14: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2014 World Youth (if participating**)

Top under 12: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2014 World Youth (if participating**)

Top under 10: $1,000 scholarship to help defray expenses to the 2014 World Youth (if participating**)

* The scholarships to Webster University must be exercised no later than Fall of 2017, and are not transferable. In addition, these scholarships cannot be combined with other academic scholarships, or stacked. If players won scholarships in past events, they can choose to exercise the highest one.

** After flight ticket has been purchased, a $1,000 reimbursement check will be sent to the winners.

The Polgar Committee’s goal is to have all 50 states (including two representatives for California, two for Texas, and two for Missouri) and the District of Columbia represented. We strongly encourage each state and the District of Columbia affiliate to hold a scholastic championship tournament to determine each state’s champion and representative. Failing this, rating criteria may be acceptable. A scholastic girls’ champion or the highest rated girls’ scholastic player in a state who has no state affiliate of the USCF should contact the Polgar Committee as soon as possible.

Susan Polgar and/or the Polgar Committee and its members may elect to award a limited number of wild cards each year for the Susan Polgar Girl’s Invitational.

Special qualifying events: The Polgar Committee will award automatic qualifying spots to the reigning winners in each section of the annual Susan Polgar NO for Girls (New Orleans) and the Susan Polgar World Open for Girls (Chicago).

The SPFGI Chairperson is Martha Underwood (AZ).

NOTICE TO ALL STATE OFFICIALS: Please send the nomination from your state to the Polgar Committee (

Contact info: Polgar Committee (

The Susan Polgar Foundation can be contacted at 806-281-7424 or through