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Ellen Xiang Wins Top Section at Record Breaking All-Girls Print E-mail
By Betsy Dynako   
April 15, 2014
Ellen Xiang, Under 18 Champion Photo Betsy Dynako

The 11th Annual All Girls National Championship in Northbrook, Illinois set a record high for attendance with 330 girls playing from across the country. The tournament was sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and organized by the husband-and-wife team of David and Sheila Heiser, founders of the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation. 

Mr. Heiser said, “Sheila and I are very thrilled that this year’s record breaking turnout of girls, especially with the ones who have chosen to attend year after year, have made this the premier girl’s chess championship in the United States.”


Shelia’s usual attentiveness to the players showed through, as she provided player badges with custom lanyards, fancy pencils, door prizes. Other special touches included decorations and signs to wish happy birthday to the girls whose special day came during the tournament.

Competition was especially fierce this year. Draws were scarce and Kiana Arab of Scottsdale, Arizona was the only player to achieve a perfect score, in the Under 14 section. Under-18 champion Ellen Xiang was still fighting in the final round for the title even after defeating last year’s champ, Anupama Rajendra, in round four. 

Anupama Rajendra, last year's champ, in her critical game vs. Ellen Xiang Photo Betsy Dynako

In the Under-8 section, where games are generally expected to finish early in a round, games went down to the wire at all levels.

This win by Xiang features light annotations by her coach, GM Nikola Mitkov.

Xiang,Ellen - Poteat,Lilia [A46]
National All Girls (5), 13.04.2014

Before the game Ellen and I decided that she should play a simple quiet opening, keeping in mind the aggressive style of her opponent. My suggestion was the London System or the Colle.
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.c3
No complications!


This was a pleasant surprise for Ellen. Black is trying to fight for the initiative on move number three? c3 is not the best move but definitely not a mistake, thus Black should try to develop pieces first.
4.Bf4 Bb7 5.e3
5.dxc5 is an interesting idea 5... e6 6.a4 bxa4 7.Dxa4 but the game plan was to avoid complications.
5...a6 6.Nbd2 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.h3 0–0 9.0–0 Qh5?
The opening is over. Black should play simple chess with cd4 and Nc6.
10.Bh2 f5


Lilia starts an attack on the King side. White should try to use the discoordination of the Black pieces. 11.dxc5!
Beginning the plan to control the black squares and exploit the queenside weaknesses and the time advantage.
11...Bxc5 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Ne5 Nf6 14.Nd4
Probably it was better to play 14.a4 first and if 14...bxa4 15.Nd4
14...Qe7 15.a4!
A typical move to break the mini chain.
 15...d6 16.Nef3 bxa4 17.Qxa4 Ne4 18.Qb3!
Simple and strong, forcing Black to trade the Bishop.
18...Bxd4 19.exd4



The simple rule for attacking: outnumber your opponent for good chances to succeed! Without the rook and knight Black lacks the firepower for serious threats.
20.Rad1 Rf6 21.Nd2
Simple and effective: trade the best piece.
21...Rg6 22.Nxe4 Bxe4 23.f3 Bc6 24.Bc4!+-
Provoking d5.
24...d5 25.Bd3 Nd7
Finally the knight develops on move 25!!!
26.Rfe1 Qf7 27.Ra1 a5 28.Bd6 h5 29.Bb5 Bxb5 30.Qxb5 g4 31.hxg4 hxg4 32.fxg4 fxg4
32...Rxg4 gave better chances,  creating threats on the g-fie.
33.Rxa5 Rxa5 34.Qxa5 g3 35.Qd8+ Kh7 36.Qe7


Simplification! After which easy execution follows.

36...Qxe7 37. Bxe7 Nb6 38. b3 Kg7 39. Bd6 Kf7 40. Re3 Kf6 41. Rf3+ Kg7 42. Rxg3 Rxg3 43. Bxg3 Kf6 44. Kf2 Kf5 45. Kf3 Kg5 46. Bf4+ Kf5 47. g4+ Kg6 48. Be3 Kf6 49. Kf4 Kg6 50. Ke5 Kf7 51. g5 Nd7+ 52. Kd6 Nb6 53. Kc7 Na8+ 54. Kb7 Nb6 55. Kxb6 1-0

Marissa Li, Photo Betsy Dynako

Also find victories by Marissa Li (Under 12 Champion) and Audrey Wang (Under 8 Champion)

Audrey Wang, Under 8 co-champ (2nd on tiebreak), Photo Betsy Dynako

Photo Gallery 

Abigal Chaitram in the Under 8, Photo Betsy Dynako

Aksithi Eswaran, Under 8 champion, Photo Betsy Dynako

According to the youngest participant in the All-Girls, "I am 3 and three quarters years old!"  Photo Betsy Dynako

Kimberly Ding, Photo Betsy Dynako

Find full results on the official site and MSA rated results here.