Megan Lee the Big Winner at All Girls
By Dr. Alexey Root   
April 27, 2009
Megan Lee in the last round
The 2009 All-Girls Nationals, sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation , were held from April 24-26, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. Check out the prize winners and rating changes on MSA, and see photo impressions below from Dr. Alexey Root, author of, Read, Write, Checkmate: Enrich Literacy with Chess Activities.
The University of Texas at Dallas awarded an Academic Distinction Scholarship for the winner of the 18 & Under section of the All Girls Nationals. Surprisingly, a 12-year-old, Megan Lee of Washington won the section with girls up to six years older than her and was awarded the grand prize! Dr. Magaly Spector, VP of Diversity and Community Engagement at UTD, presented Lee her scholarship. The scholarship is valued at $80,000 for an out-of-state student.  More information on the scholarship can be found at Look for a game from Megan in a follow-up to this report by the event's tournament director, Francisco Guadalupe.

Friday, April 24th, was a winning night for Jasmine N. Fermin of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn. With partner Najeebah Williams, she won the bughouse tournament. That same night, Jasmine was first in a three-round, 10-player Blitz event. 
Jasmine Fermin

Rochelle Ballantyne, also of I.S. 318, won the Girls 16&Under section. Look for a game from Rochelle also in the upcoming report. 
Rochelle Ballantyne in her final round game

David Barrett is a special education teacher and campus testing coordinator at Berry Middle School (Mesquite, TX). His team is the GrrGurls Chess Squad. David said the team name is because the Berry mascot is a bear, which says Grr. Therefore, GrrGurls. One of his players, shown here in the green shirt back to camera, is named Anna. When his Anna met U.S. Women's Chess Champion Anna Zatonskih, the special guest at the 2009 All-Girls National Chess Championships, Zatonskih told the Berry Middle School Anna that, with her first name, she would be a world chess champion.
David Barrett coaching Anna

Anna Zatonskih played a 21-board simul before the event, and won all her games! Anna also signed the GrrGurls Chess Squad board, signed in 2008 by last year's  All-Girls National Chess Championships special guest Irina Krush. When I visited the GrrGurls Chess Squad in the skittles room before round six, I was asked to sign the board too. So the board now has the signatures of three U.S. Women's Chess Champions.

Signed board

Famous chess coaches were on hand as well. I talked briefly with Elizabeth Vicary and with David MacEnulty, shown here talking with parents. 

Between rounds, there was shopping at the chess store, run by South Texas Chess Center. Shown is bookseller Dan DeLeon with a customer.  Bookstore.jpg

Also between rounds there were post mortems, many on the lobby floor at the Hyatt Regency Reunion site. Here Sanjna Zadoo (white pieces) analyzes with Julia Jones (blue shirt). Julia won their round five game in the 18 & under section. Julia is from Denton, TX. Her older sister Jaimie Jones and her dad Rob Jones were on the TD staff. Sanjna's sister is watching the post mortem.
Michael Khodarkovsky was on hand representing the Kasparov Chess Foundation, which presented the 2009 All-Girls National Chess Championships. Check out the complete results on MSA , and look for games and more thoughts soon on CLO.