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Claudia's Journey to India: Finishing Strong Print E-mail
By Claudia Munoz   
October 21, 2014
Claudialead4.gifI am back on U.S. soil after having spent 16-days in India competing in the World U20 Girls' Junior Chess Championship! In my last article I described my performance up to the halfway point of this 13 round tournament and our day off in Mumbai, so I will start my account from the 8th to 13th rounds!


As I sat down for the 8th round I decided to look at the second half of this event as an entirely separate tournament, a six round tournament to be specific and mentally that really helped me. In the following six rounds I faced representatives of France, Belgium, India, China, Russia and Hungary, scoring three wins, two draws with only one loss against Hungary. With this strong second half I finished the tournament with 6 of 13 points while increasing 75 FIDE rating points as 11 of my opponents were higher rated than me, some by more than 300 points.


During my 10th round win against WFM Parveen Hilmi of India, I was sneezing and I felt body chills. 


A thermometer purchased at a local pharmacy confirmed that I did have a slight fever. My body was sore. I did not share this on my official website or to my social media followers. I slept earlier and the following day my coach limited my preparation session to one hour so that I could get additional rest prior to my game with Karina Azimova of Russia (FIDE 2063), which ended in a draw. Afterwards I took some medication and went back to bed. When I woke up the follow day I felt ready and it was noticeable when I played Manli Lui of China (FIDE 2039) scoring my fourth win in the event.



I have always been an honor roll student as I am currently a member of the National Honor Society, I say this to credit the fact that I am a straight "A" student. About half of the girls attending this event were college students while the other half were high school students like me. This event is a 13-round event. After doing the math I have missed 15 school days which included two days travel time each way along with the jet lag recuperation. One month ago my parents informed our school about this trip and we received full cooperation, however I am still responsible for turning in my assignments. During the tournament I worked several hours a day on school assignments. Keep in mind I also had at least two hours of coaching preparation. So my trip was not dedicated to sightseeing except for the official rest day. My 4th round game lasted close to six hours, so adding school work and coaching preparation there went at least 10 hours of my day. I ask that reader consider this every time a scholastic player competes oversees before hurtful comments are made.


I was also amazed to learn that I was only the second American girl to participate in this event in the last 4 years. Why do so few American girls participate in this type of International tournament? Some would say finances is the greatest obstacle. I overcame that with an online fundraiser on my website www.claudiamunoz.com that activated 49 people to sponsor me with over $3,000 dollars in one month. My parents paid the difference so my mother could accompany me.

One thing is for certain, if we as Americans want to become serious international contenders, we must face other countries on their home turf and not just once a year. During this event I competed against 5-opponents that have represented their countries in the Olympiad, as a 16-year old teen, I never had that opportunity here at home, I had to travel abroad to do that and I realized that as Americans we can successfully compete overseas. So how can we achieve this? I have several ideas that I will be commenting on in the next couple of weeks in my website on this issue.


I thank Relyea Chess for having organized the 2014 U.S. Girls' Junior Chess Championship that allowed me to represent the United States in this World U20 Girls Junior Championship. Organizers are an essential part of American chess. I also thank Franc Guadalupe as well as the United States Chess Federation for their support. I thank Jennifer Shahade for inviting me to share my trip with the CLO's readership. Last but not least I thank my 49 sponsors who dared to "click" on my PayPal button in my website. I created a FB Sponsor's Page for them where we all shared our thoughts several times a day becoming a close knit community. I thank the organizers who helped us with our VISAS with the Indian Consulates in Houston and New York, we appreciate their hard work. I thank my parents for supporting my dreams and aspirations. I am so blessed in having them in my life.  

So what is next for me? I will become a National Master, I will become a FIDE Master and I will play in the United States Women's Championship in St. Louis. I am on a mission and whether I win, lose or draw, I will enjoy each step I take!


Pictures Courtesy of Claudia Veronica Munoz of www.claudiamunoz.com