Saturday, August 09, 2008

The first from SC

Area pre-teen joins Texas chess tourney

Staff writer

A North Augusta pre-teen has become one of the first South Carolinians to represent the state in a Texas chess tournament.

Tori Whatley, a Merriwether Middle School student, challenged competitors from around the country during the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls held on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, the week of July 27. This was the first time in five years a South Carolina player was seated at the competition table.

Every state is permitted to send one representative to the tournament, and Texas and California are allocated two. The tournament is named after Susan Polgar, who at the age of 39, broke the gender barrier in chess and became the first woman in history to qualify for the Men's World Championship Cycle in 1986. She went on to create the tournament to showcase top young female talent.

The tournament has become the most prestigious all-girls' event in the United States with the top finishing qualifier winning a full four-year scholarship to Texas Tech University.

Entering the tournament as a newcomer, Whatley found herself ranked No. 51 with only one person ranked lower, an unrated Texan who served as a stand-in. This didn't bother her in the least, as she knew she had nowhere to go but up.

Here is the full story.
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