Monday, March 26, 2012

132 girls compete in chess in Queen's Quest

132 girls compete in chess in Washington State
From Jill Keto

We had a WONDERFUL weekend at our 10th annual Queen's Quest all-girls tournament at Medina Elementary, in Bellevue, WA.

Our top girl, Mara Kramer, earned a $300 chess scholarship for furthering her chess education or to go to Nationals. Next year we are going to do a $1000 scholarship to encourage girls to attend Nationals.

Seattle Times did a photo essay, and it was also featured in the Sunday Seattle Times print version. Here is the link:

I can't tell you how good if felt on Saturday,the little girls so happy and so grateful. Queen's Quest boosts their passion for chess, and in many cases, convinces them to keep playing rather than giving up the sport.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

9th annual Susan Polgar Foundation Girl's Invitational

The 9th annual Susan Polgar Foundation Girl's Invitational, the most prestigious all-girls event in the United States, will take place on July 22 - 27, 2012 at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. More details will come shortly.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Young Chess Queen makes school history

Clackamas High School students take state chess title
Youth queen school’s first champion in strategy board game
By Raymond Rendleman
The Clackamas Review, Mar 7, 2012

Clackamas High School students made history by winning their school’s first state chess championship since the Oregon High School Chess Team Association was created in the 1960s.

CHS junior Alexandra Botez, who has traveled the world playing chess, took the top title for individuals. In one nail-biter late in the series, Botez forced one of her biggest rivals to resign after she simply took one of his pawns, leaving him unable to retaliate.

Botez has already received a scholarship offer valued at $110,000 starting in the fall 2013. The CHS varsity chess team also includes seniors Kevin Phuong and Gavin Megson, and juniors Kevin Rhine and Hai Dao.

Botez said it was a really great experience that trilled everyone in the team.

“We lost our last round, and ended up winning by tiebreakers, so we didn't expect it,” Botez said. “It was a surprise when we found out we were still in first place...The team had a lot of school spirit and we were proud to come back as state champions.”

CHS Chess Club adviser Mike Figert helped start the club eight years ago, but he credits students who “wanted to put together a club just to do some playing.” Gradually, their interest grew more serious until the students were asking Figert for help getting involved in tournaments.

“It’s so exciting that this is our first one, especially given where we’ve come from,” Figert said.

Science teacher Dave Castles and Ed Addis soon offered their help as coaches. The CHS chess club won the league championship for the first time this year, and the team thought they might have the horses to go all the way to the top.

“It’s always a great surprise to win a state tournament, but we felt confident going in that we would do well, and that turned out to be the case,” Figert said.

Clackamas also took the 6A title in junior varsity, so the club is feeling optimistic about repeating the feat in future seasons. La Salle College Prep just east of Milwaukie was also one of the three varsity co-champions behind Clackamas.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

RIP Dana Hannibal

I am so sad to hear this news. Dana was an amazing girl and she always had a smile on every time I saw her. She was well loved by all her friends in the chess community. RIP Dana! We love you!

Dana Hannibal, 1994-2012

Young Oregon chess player and high school junior Dana Hannibal died February 29, 2012. Dana was a bright, friendly, and vivacious girl that had a way of lighting up a room with her presence and was dear to the hearts of many in the Oregon chess community. Between rounds at chess tournaments, she was energetic and talkative and witty. But when it came time to play her games, her focus was intense. It would always amaze me how a young person so vivacious and active could so quickly change gears to sit for hours with sharp concentration–and with such great results. For example, she was always near the top of the OSCF All-Stars list for her grade, was the Grand Champion for Middle School at the OSCF State Championships in Seaside in 2008, and for years she was rated among the top 100 girls in the USA for her age (U13, U16, U21) while she was still active.

She saw beauty in chess and had a talent for expressing it artfully. For example, when she was 12, she conducted an interview with the Salem Stateman Journal at the OSCF State Championships in 2007 and described chess in a touching way: “It’s like a tapestry. All the pieces are weaving together to make something beautiful.” A year or so later, she wrote a poem about chess:

Chess, by Dana Hannibal, 2009

King, queen, and rook,
Find me in a book,
Bishop, knight, pawn,
Play me on your lawn.

King, strong yet weak,
When queen is out you must be meek,
Queen, full of power, pride,
Quick across the board wide,
Rook, as always is your fate,
Move only in lines straight,
Bishop, on diagonal tread,
To make a king bleed dark red,
Knight, your noble steed jumps high,
So you in dark tomb will not lie,
Pawn, smallest of them all,
Reach the end and you’ll grow tall.

King, queen, rook,
More than just a board or book,
Bishop, knight, pawn,
Chess, who’s beauty goes ever on.


In January 2010 she turned her sharp mind away from chess to other activities. She had a keen interest in science and maintained a 4.0 GPA at Sprague High School in Salem. She had her sights set on medical school to put her considerable talents to work in a noble cause. She was making great progress getting there. Last summer she served as an apprentice in the Harper Environmental & Molecular Toxicology lab at OSU, and last fall she scored well into the 99th percentile on the PSAT and would likely have been named a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist when the list is announced later this year.

Her talents extended well beyond the intellectual. Not only was she a varsity softball player, she was darn good…named to the First Team All-League at the OSAA 6A softball playoffs in 2011 and was chosen to represent the Northwest Elite team to play in the International Softball Federation Youth World Cup in Florida in early 2011. She also played varsity Soccer…and was darn good in that too. She was named to the Second Team All-League at the OSAA 6A girls’ soccer playoffs in 2011.

Other sporting accomplishments in the past few years include:
2011 – Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championship, Irvine CA
2011 – Statesman-Journal Capital Auto Group Athlete of the Week
2010 – 6A Central Valley Conference All-Academic Team
2010 – Sprague HS Varsity Softball Rookie of the Year, Varsity Letter
2010 – Triple Crown Sports Colorado Fireworks All-American Team
2009 – 79th Oregon Junior Amateur Golf, 3RD FLIGHT champion

More important than her many accomplishments, Dana was a warm and friendly girl, quick with a smile, and had a cheerful and infectious good will that she willingly shared. The world lost a great mind in Dana and also a great heart. She will be greatly missed.