Friday, July 19, 2013

Even more prizes added for the SPF Girls' Invitational

Last night, I made the announcement that I will personally sponsor an additional $5,000 cash prizes for the top 3 finishers of the 10th annual Susan Polgar Foundation Girls' Invitational. You can read what I wrote below.

Today, one of the sponsors / partners of the Susan Polgar Foundation just donated another special prize for the winner, valued at approximately $2,400! The official announcement will be made at the Opening Ceremony.

This means that the winner can potentially win the following:

- Full tuition and fees scholarship to Webster University (approximately $100,000)
- Cash scholarship ($3,000)
- iPad mini (approximately $340)
- Another special prize (approximately $2,400)

- Champion's trophy

Here is what I wrote yesterday:

Around 12-13 years ago, the Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) visited me at my Chess Center in Queens, NY, to ask me to help the federation in various important areas. Two of the things I was asked to help were:

- To create a serious US Women's Olympiad chess program as no women's team from the US has ever won any medal before that.

- To help boost girls' chess popularity in the US as they were being ignored at that time.

I said yes and immediately began to work to improve a number of different aspects. The first official business was to create the Susan Polgar Foundation (SPF).

Then, the Women's Olympiad training program was created in late 2002 / early 2003. The program included IM Irina Krush, IM Anna Zatonskih (at that time was a WGM), IM Rusa Goletiani (at that time was a WGM), and WGM Jennifer Shahade (at that time was a WIM). I even came out of retirement after nearly 9 years of hiatus to participate and lead this team.

In 2004, the US Women's team captured 4 medals (2 gold and 2 silver) at the Calvia Chess Olympiad. Since 2003, every single US Women's Champion has come from this Women's Olympiad training program which I created.

Also in 2003, I created the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls (it is now called the SPF Girls' Invitational), the most prestigious all-girls national championship in the US. This was the first all-girls national championship created in the United States and it was unanimously approved by the Executive Director and the USCF Executive Board.

A few months later, I persuaded the USCF to approve the All-Girls National Championship (sponsored by KCF). I also created two additional events: the Susan Polgar National Open for Girls and the Susan Polgar World Open for Girls (both sponsored by the SPF).

Since then, nearly $2 million in scholarships (through SPF and our partners) have been awarded to girls in events which my foundation organized and sponsored. This is the 10th year of the SPF Girls' Invitational, and it will be the largest one ever, with 58 young ladies qualified. To celebrate the tremendous success of this event, I decided to expand it by inviting some additional young female players from North, Central, and South America.

The total budget / prizes / scholarships for this championship is almost $250,000! It is unprecedented for girls' chess anywhere. All state representatives and qualifiers will receive free rooms and meals for the entire duration of the event, plus many extra goodies. Over the years, thousands of girls have competed all across the United States to earn spots in the invitationals.

I am very proud to lead the charge to get more girls involved in chess, and to revolutionize girls' chess in America. To celebrate the special 1oth anniversary, I have just decided to personally sponsor $5,000 cash scholarship to the top 3 finishers ($3,000 to 1st, $1,500 to 2nd, and $500 to 3rd).

This is a surprise as it was not announced before. The winners can use the cash prizes toward school / tournament expenses, or additional coaching, however they wish. I also hope to attract additional sponsors next year to make this event even better.

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