I just came across this article written by a young lady by the name of Amelia Wheeles of North Carolina. She participated in several SPF Girl’s Invitational. Her father, Randy, decided to re-post it on his facebook page. Thank you, Amelia and Randy, for making a difference for this very special event!

2007 Polgar – Amelia Wheeless

Unlike Other Tournaments, You’re Part of the Group at the Polgar
By Amelia Wheeless

I’ve just returned from the 2007 Susan Polgar Invitational for Girls. It’s only now that I’ve realized there were really two events going on:

One was a great chess tournament. Some of the most talented girls in the nation were competing – as well as some who will be top-ranked soon. There were upsets, tense moments, bad losses and thrilling victories. Some of my games were on the Internet – although, I have to ask … who else but my Dad was watching?

At the end of the week, I finished at 4.5–1.5 and placed 5th on tiebreaks. I sort of surprised myself. You see, in 2005, I finished with 4 points and I thought that was a pretty impressive finish.

But while the chess tournament was being played, there was a second event going on, too – and it didn’t get advertised much. It was the opportunity we all had to make friends with girls from around the nation. I’m sure all the players at the Polgar had competed in tournaments before where they were the “only” girl. I love chess, but sometimes it gets a little lonely.

That’s not the case at the Polgar. There are friends waiting to be made, and it doesn’t matter what your rating is, or how many points you’ve earned in the tournament. It’s just great to meet so many other girls who share your same interest.

I had met Ananya Roy of Georgia from last year’s Emory Chess Camp. She would play blitz and bughouse 24 hours a day if you let her. We teamed up for the Polgar bughouse tournament on Wednesday and laughed our way to a 2-3 finish. Thankfully, they don’t have bughouse ratings.

Kathleen Coccio of Rhode Island and Avary Bell from New Hampshire were bughouse and blitz opponents practically every night. In her room, Kathleen made us try “fluffer-nutter” sandwiches (peanut butter and marshmallow), which actually tasted better than I thought.

On a few days, some of the girls would set up a time to meet at the pool after our games. Every night, we would try to all gather in the lobby of the hotel to play bughouse, blitz or take pictures.

At the end of the tournament, we traded e-mail, MySpace and Facebook addresses. I journeyed back home and e-mailed everyone the photos I had taken. I spent a few minutes carefully unwrapping the beautiful House of Staunton chess set all the players received for finishing in the top half.

Then it finally hit me – as far as chess was concerned, I wasn’t alone.

Photo at the top: Part of the group at the 2007 Polgar in Cherry Hill, N.J. (l-r): Avary Bell (N.H.), Kathleen Coccio (R.I.), me and Ananya Roy (Ga.)


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