Lampman & Behura Among Winners at Record All-Girls in Chicago
By Jorge Barerra   
April 20, 2015
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Only perfect score, Maya Behura during round 6, Photo Jorge Barerra

As the KCF All-Girls National Championships drew to a close, the last round promised to be full of excitement in the Under 18 section.  Jackie Peng from Ontario and Alice Dong from New Jersey, matched on board one, had a half point advantage over Becca Lampman and former All-Girls Champion Anupama Rajendra.

 However, Jackie and Alice's game ended in a very short fifteen move draw, which gave the latter contestants an opportunity to catch up if they won their respective games.  Both Becca and Anupama had black on their boards in this must-win situation.
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Becca Lampman receiving 1st place trophy with Michael Khodarkovsky, Photo Jorge Barerra.


First, Becca's opponent, Rachel Eng resigned, when Becca gained a two pawn advantage in a winning endgame.




 Then, Anupama, in a tough position a pawn down, managed to turn the tables around and won under time pressure the rook and pawn endgame.  Thus, a four way tie for first place occurred with the top four contestants earning 5 points during the six round event.  Under tie-breaks, Becca Lampman came out victorious in her first ever KCF All-Girls National Championship.  Jackie Peng took the second place trophy, while Alice Dong and Anupama Rajendra received the third and fourth place trophies respectively.

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Catalina Foothills High School Team Award, Photo Jorge Barerra

In another cliffhanger, in the Under 18 section, Hunter College High School of New York City had a 1.5 point advantage over Catalina Foothills High School of Tucson for the team trophy. Amber Fox, though the lowest rated of her team, earned a point, as well as her teammate Aiya Cancio, while Hunter's team had a tough last round in which no member gained a point. As a result, Catalina Foothills High School gained the top trophy with a mere half point advantage. When asked about her goals, Amber Fox said that the competition was very hard in this tournament, yet her contributions to the team certainly made a difference.

Adding to these successes, in the Under 16 section, Maggie Luo of Virginia fought it out to win first place with 5 points, while in the Under 14 section, the 5.5 points Camille Kao from Texas achieved gained her the top trophy for her section. In the Under 12 section, Naomi Bashkansky of Washington took top honors with 5.5 points, while Anh Nhu Nguyen of Texas won in tie breaks for the Under 10 section. Terrifically, the only perfect score came in the Under 8 section, when Maya Behura of Florida won her last game, gaining the six possible points!
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WFM Uyanga Byambaa with one of the organizers, Photo Jorge Barerra


On many levels, the tournament had much to offer for everyone. In a generous unplanned talk, Uyanga Byambaa, a WFM of the Weibel team from Fremont, California, offered words of encouragement to the girls. She mentioned that she wishes that she was young enough to be able to compete in a tournament like the KCF All-Girls National Championships, and that she feels an all-girls tournament is a perfect way to encourage young ladies to become involved in chess.  Additionally, Miss Illinois Galaxy, Kaili Harding, unexpectedly dropped in on the tournament hall and shared her enthusiasm for the power of girls everywhere. 

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Miss Illinois Galaxy, Photo Jorge Barerra



Overall, the tournament was very pleasant and smooth running. Organized by Renaissance Knights, many families and participants commented that their experience at this event was fantastic, and it inspired them to actively engage in more chess in the future.

Find full standings from the All-Girls Nationals here.