Thursday, June 19, 2008

I like to win

Fremont girl is a chess star at age 7
Carl Steward
Bay Area News Group columnist
Article Created: 06/18/2008 06:28:56 PM PDT

FREMONT — Alisha Chawla isn't much for dolls, but she loves the children's book, "A Little Princess," and adores the queen.

How fitting for Fremont's 7-year-old little princess of chess, the highest-rated female player for her age in Northern California, who is rapidly becoming one of the best in the country.

Alisha is adorable. She's sweet and petite. Like most 7-year-olds, she's precocious at times and shy at others. For her first newspaper interview, she pretty much stuck to one-word answers and required frequent eye-glance reassurance from her mother.

But on a chess board, particularly wielding her favorite piece — the queen — Little Miss Chawla quickly transforms into a tiger. She moves the pieces authoritatively and thumps them hard onto the board wherever she places them. It's intimidating, even for an adult sports columnist who challenged her to a game.

"I like to win," Alisha said with an innocent but confident smile.

A large shelf in her room proves that she's already won a lot. It's loaded with trophies, and she quickly removed her piano recital and softball trophies to display just the ones she's accumulated playing chess — 22 by her count. It looked like more.

One of the largest trophies in Alisha's growing collection came less than two weeks ago, when she tied for first in her age group at the Las Vegas International Chess Festival, winning four of five games.

Her achievement landed her a spot in the prestigious Susan Polgar National Invitational For Girls at Texas Tech in July, an event that will bring together the country's top young female players.

Click here to read the full article.
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