Abby Marshall of Virginia won her second consecutive Polgar Invitational for Girls. Founded by Susan Polgar in 2004, the tournament brings together female state champions from all over the country. This year's edition included 44 participants, including representatives from Hawaii and Alaska.
Abby's critical game was in Round 5, when she faced off against Amanda Mateer from Arizona. They were both 4-0.
Amanda attacked energetically, but missed the beautiful winning move 28.e4!! Either way Black takes, Bh6 is devastating because Black must give up the bishop to avoid Qh8+. 28.e4! is a wonderful example of how positional concepts (getting more pieces into the attack) interact with tactics (sacrificing a pawn.)
After that missed opportunity, Abby defended accurately, transposing into a pawn-up endgame. With 67...f3!, her victory was assured.
In recent months, much has changed in Abby's life. Because of a job opportunity for her father, she moved from Ohio to Virginia. Her family also adopted a baby boy, who is now one year old! Abby was given a big responsibility: to name the child. She chose "Mikhail", after her favorite chessplayer, Mikhail Tal.
Abby with little Mikhail.
Abby made a valiant effort to defeat Denker champion Nelson Lopez in the blitz play off. She was up material in both games. GM Susan Polgar said, "I felt bad for Abby, because she played so well in both games," suggesting, "A little faster next time..."
GM Susan Polgar, watching Abby in the three minute playoff. Susan knows her blitz- for the second year in a row, she's the U.S. Open blitz champ.
1. Abby Marshall- 5.5/6-(VA)
2-3-Louiza Livshitz (CA) and Elina Kats (NY)-5/6
4-5-Courtney Jamison (TX) and Ashley Carter(MI) 4.5/6
Click here for complete standings.
Elina Kats, winner of the NY High School State Championship had to choose between playing in the Denker and the Polgar. She played in the Polgar, and tied for second. Photo JS
Minutes before the round at the Polgar. Seated are Elina Kats (NY) and
Jessica Wamala (MA)Photo JS
Louiza Livshitz from California tied for second place
Here Susan poses with participants of her namesake tournament.The hat, purchased at the nearby mall, was all the rage in the Polgar. Photo Paul Truong
Ashley Carter from Michigan tied for fourth place. Photo JS
Hundreds watched Abby Marshall's playoff with Nelson Lopez. Photo Paul Truong