Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bring girls together from all over America

The Susan Polgar Invitational For Girls - A Great Tournament to Make Friends, Play Chess, and Have Fun!

by Eve Zhurbinskiy

It was the fifth round of the Fifth Annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls at the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Alexandra Weiner (from Connecticut) and I both had 3 points out of 4. The stakes were high. If one of us won both rounds, then that person would have a chance to win a scholarship. With two minutes on the clock and a crowd watching, there was a lot of pressure.

As it turned out, I drew that game, and ended up with 3.5 points out of 6. Still, it was a great honor to represent New Jersey in this prestigious event. The organization of the event was amazing. All of the players and their parents were picked up from the airport and driven directly to the tournament site. The players all got free food and lodging, and parents stayed at a discounted price. All of the rounds started on time, everyone was extremely friendly, and there was a lot of fun involved.

There were 52 players in this year’s event, from almost every state, which is part of what makes it such a great tournament- you get to meet girls from around the country. I met a lot of new people from all over the U.S., and also some people I hadn’t seen in a really long time, like Courtney Jamison (who won first place) and Sylvia Yang from Texas, who were my teammates in the World Youths in France and the Georgia Republic in 2005 and 2006.

Although this was my first Polgar, for many girls it wasn’t. Ashley Carter from Michigan has even represented her state all five times! Because I never played in this event before, I didn’t know what to expect. I had only played with the 90 minutes/30 second increment time control at the two World Youths I went to, which was a while back. I also didn’t know how it would be like living in a dorm at a college, and neither did I know how it would be like in West Texas. But everything turned out to be fine, because the tournament was so well organized.

Besides the tournament, there were side events as well, such as bughouse, puzzle solving, and blitz, in which I got 4 points out of 5 and tied for third place. We also voted for a Miss Congeniality, which went to Crystal Qian from Arkansas. All of these events are what makes these six days so fun- you get to hang out, improve your chess, and laugh with friends.

Overall, I really enjoyed coming to the Polgar and meeting girls who have a similar interest as me - chess! Not a lot of girls play chess, so it was great to see so many young ladies participating and also being one of the top players in their state. This event does truly bring together girls from all over America. That is just one of the great things about the wonderful game of chess.
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