A Winner’s Reflection on the 2014 National Girls Invitational
By WCM Claudia Muñoz
There is simply no possible way to describe what I lived during this 2014 National Girls Invitational because of the three Co-Champions, I was the least worthy of the three to share in this national title along with Jessica Regam and Jennifer Yu, who by the way won the scholarship on tiebreakers. I arrived in Orlando, Florida with an emotional high after winning the first ever 2014 U.S. Girls Junior Closed Championship in a strong field of 10-players which included Apurva Virkud, Maggie Feng and Jennifer Yu just four days prior. I never imagined that in first round of this tournament I was going to lose to a focused and deserving Katherine Du who was 600 plus rating points lower than myself – I simply gave away my queen and my entire positioned simply collapsed.
I simply sat there in quiet awe.
That night I realized that in order to at least share a piece of the NGIT national title, I had to win the remaining five games without having a draw. Easier said than done but as I started in the 24th position in the second round, for the next five rounds I did not have to fight tooth and nail because each one of my opponents was doing just that!
By the 6th round I found myself on board 2 facing Becca Lampman of Washington. The weekend prior we also played in the final round of the U.S. Girls Junior Closed Championship with the same identical colors. That game was a draw but in this final round I won my fifth and final game.
Jennifer Yu who with a draw was poised to win the event outright faced Jessica Regam who was in the same exact position I was – she needed to win in order to also share in the National title and she did.
This event prepared me for my future chess tournaments, I learned that regardless of a first round loss with lots of effort and energy anyone can come from behind.
I appreciate Dewain Barber and all the other volunteers for organizing national events such as the National Girls Invitational.
Photo courtesy of Claudia Muñoz