Polgar Invitational Kicks Off at Texas Tech
By Randy Wheeless   
July 28, 2008
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LUBBOCK, Texas – A new location greeted 52 players as the 5th Annual GM Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls kicked off Sunday.

After being held in conjunction with the U.S. Open in previous years, the tournament moved to Texas Tech – where it expects to be for the next 10 years. The event brings together the best scholastic female players in the nation. The goal is to have representatives from every state.

“I’ve been pleased by the record participation and the support from the university and local community,” said Polgar. “This is turning into something special for the girls.”

Polgar added that having the tournament at Texas Tech has given the event a unique quality – versus being one of many side events at the U.S. Open.

There were no upsets at the top boards as play began Sunday. The tournament will have one round a day for six days. It wraps up Friday with the winner receiving a scholarship to Texas Tech.

Courtney Jamison, 16, from Texas is the tourney’s highest rated player (2046) . She won a bronze medal at this month’s Pan-American Youth Championships in Argentina.

“I was seeded 11th in Argentina, so I hope the confidence I gained there will give me a boost here,” she said.

To win, she’ll have to fend off fellow Pan-Am teammate and Texas player Sylvia Yang – the tourney’s second highest-rated player.

Jamison tied for third at last year’s Polgar Invitational. Three other players who tied with her at third are back: Rita Mirchandani from Florida, Amelia Wheeless from North Carolina and Ashley Carter from Michigan.

For Carter, 18, she’s played in all five Polgar Invitationals. She’ll attend college this fall – most likely at Texas Tech.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing the top girls from all over the country,” she said.

Despite the lack of upsets at the top boards, the underdogs were not shut out on the first day. Minnesota’s Morgan Mahowald overcame a more than 600-point difference to take the Upset Special. Check out further results on Polgar’s Chess Blog.



The girls are staying at Texas Tech’s Gordon Hall, a nicer-than-most college dorm with an on-site cafeteria. Participants can stay with their parents – although many have opted to room with other players, renewing friendships from past tournaments.

Randy Wheeless is president of the North Carolina Chess Association and will be reporting throughout the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls.