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Turnout Breaks Records at 2015 All-Girls Nationals Print E-mail
By Jorge Barrera   
April 18, 2015
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Playing hall, with a record number of participants, Photo Jorge Barerra

Only a week after the National High School Championship in Columbus, Ohio, the momentum has continued in scholastic chess with the start of the 2015 All-Girls National Championships. Returning to downtown Chicago from April 17th to the 19th, this year’s tournament, sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation, is being held at one of Chicago’s most well-known gathering sites, the McCormick Place.

Reflecting the growing participation of girls in chess, this year’s attendance breaks a record yet again with over 360 registered players. The six round event with six sections kicked off with a Blitz and Bughouse tournament. Team #1318 won the Bughouse tournament with 9 points, while the Blitz tournament was won by newcomer Becca Lampman.

Hailing from Vancouver, Washington, Lampman completed the blitz tournament by winning all her games. After her victory, she said that winning the blitz portion was really fun, and that she was very happy with her results, especially because this was her first and only year to compete at the All-Girls before she finishes her senior year of high school. Used to playing in open tournaments, she expressed that there is a much “friendlier atmosphere” in this tournament, and she does not feel as isolated as a female participant. For the rest of the event, she seeks to adjust her “mindset to slow down,” for she is an avid blitz player. Ultimately, her goals for the tournament are to have a lot of fun and play good, solid games throughout.

Here is her first game: 

 

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Becca Lampman, Photo Jorge Barerra

With a larger pool of participants, the competition will be more challenging, yet in the All-Girls, there is always an aspect of fun and camaraderie which attracts some players every year. Shvetali Thatte of Illinois, for instance, has attended the All-Girls for five years in a row. One of the things that draws her back each year is the friendships that she has forged with other girls from across the country who share her interest in chess. Chess is a major part of her life, she explained, and when she is with other girls, the importance of the game is heightened because everyone is focused and taking the competition seriously. However, she says, it is also more relaxed, as a result of friendship.

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Shvetali Thatte, Photo Jorge Barerra
The 2015 All-Girls National Championship has much in store. With several girls close to, or higher than, a rating of 2000, there will be challenges and interesting games as the girls strive for success. Among the top-seeded players, there is former winner, Anupama Rajendra, but there is also Kimberly Ding, Becca Lampman, and Lilia Poteat. Who will fight her way to the top and take the crown? The next days will tell the story.

Follow pairings and standings on the official site and look for a full wrap-up by Barerra on Monday.

 
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