A Winner’s Reflection on the 2014 National Girls Invitational

Claudia Munoz,  Jessica Regam,  Jennifer Yu
Claudia Munoz, Jessica Regam, Jennifer Yu

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

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