Saturday, September 11, 2010

2010 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational

The below article was posted on the Susan Polgar Blog.

2010 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational
By Bethany G. Carson

Hello everyone! I had a wonderful time at the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational at Texas Tech. We had four and a half days of training from Susan Polgar and Paul Truong, and one and a half days of tournament play. What impressed me most about Susan Polgar was the sincere care, love, and gentle strictness which she displayed toward her class.

We had a great educational trip (or was it a tour of the mid-west?). We left for Texas on July 20th. We took a jog north to visit the Ice Cream Capital of the World in Le Mars, Iowa. Then, since neither Daniel, nor Charity, nor I had ever been to South Dakota, we crossed the border into that state. After about 20 miles we reached Nebraska. We spent that night at a Lewis and Clark campground on the banks of the Missouri.

The next day, we headed west! Our itinerary stated that we should visit the Nebraska capitol building in Lincoln. It was very impressive, and we looked over the city of Lincoln from the 14th floor. It was quite an interesting structure to visit.

We continued south, and finally crossed into Kansas. We visited an original Pony Express Station, now a museum, before heading to Glen Elder State Park. After a refreshing time swimming and wading in Waconda Lake, we ate dinner, and slept. We left early the next morning and saw the largest ball of sisal twine (in Cawker City). Then we visited an oil well drilling company in Hays. Our entertainment director (Charity) did a great job. Pretty soon we were at the World's Largest Hand Dug Well, in Greenfield, KS.

Next, we stopped at Clark State Fishing Lake, ate dinner, took a walk, and then decided to explore! Papa started the pickup and we headed around the lake. We saw beautiful cliffs, drove up and down steep hills in the truck's lowest gear, saw a rattlesnake, and finally arrived at the other side of the lake. Clark Lake is very beautiful, and it was a wonderful place to spend my birthday. I am so thankful to Jesus Christ for his grace which has seen me through these years (and miles).

The next morning we visited St. Jacob's well, and saw the buffalo which roam around it. We reached Oklahoma and ate lunch at a cafe in Gate, Oklahoma. There we enjoyed 3 hamburgers, a grilled cheese sandwich, 3 soda pops, and glass of water for about $27! I was surprised at how quickly the panhandle of Oklahoma can be driven through. We soon saw the Texas state line.

We arrived in Lubbock the next morning, and after some wandering, found the English building (where the opening ceremony was to be held), the impressive Texas Tech library (where we spent much of our free time), and the dining hall (where we enjoyed excellent service and a very good selection of foods on the lunch buffet the whole time we were at the SPGI). We spent the night at a very pleasant campground in Littlefield, Texas.

On the morning of July 25th, we left Littlefield, and spent time at the Texas Tech library. I am almost tempted to say that the library has more computers than it does books, but that is because I only visited the 1st floor. Many students study there, but we were mainly interested in chatting with my youngest sister and Mama, who were at home. We also played chess online, scheduled and played team league games, emailed friends, and watched movies.

We arrived at the opening ceremony early, but soon the other 41 girls and Susan Polgar entered the room. All of us girls were called to the first four rows, while parents, siblings, and coaches were permitted to watch from the other rows. My family and I are very thankful that Charity, my sister, was permitted to join the class as a special guest. We enjoyed the lesson about 10 Critical Rules of Chess, taught by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong.

Monday, we were divided into two classes according to rating. Classes were from 9:00-12:00 and from 1:30-4:30. My sister and I were in Paul Truong's class. He is a very good teacher, and I took a lot of notes and enjoyed the class. We participated in the puzzle solving championships. Charity and I each got 6 out of 10 correct. At 6:00 we played bughouse. My sister and I chose to be partners, and our team was the Carson Sisters. There were 5 rounds, and we scored 3 points. We played more bughouse with friends. Soon I had to hurry back to the Texas Tech library for my team league game which was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. I tried to use the information I had learned, and I didn't lose. However, probably due to my insufficient endgame knowledge, I drew. The game lasted just short of 3 hours, and we finally reached our campground at about midnight.

The next morning we had classes with Susan Polgar from 9:00-12:00 and from 1:30-4:30. I enjoyed Susan Polgar's class (and yes, I took a lot of notes). IM Gergely Antal stopped by to say hello to everyone, as he just finished his last exam at Texas Tech.

Wednesday we had a very good class with Susan Polgar from 10:00-12:00, and then a class with Paul Truong from 1:30-4:30. Some of the girls in our class were determined that somehow they could beat NM Paul Truong. So, Mr. Truong gave each girl who wished to play him 5 minutes on her clock, and gave himself 1 minute. He beat each one. While I waited, I exchanged math problems with Tori Whatley of South Carolina, and Charity and Rebecca Deland of New Mexico studied a game they had just finished. I was delighted when the time came to return to studying. That evening, the blitz championships were held. It was fun and a great warm-up for the G-30 tourney; Charity and I both finished 3.5 out of a possible 6.

Thursday we had a question and answer class before going outside to have pictures taken with Susan Polgar and the Masked Rider of Texas Tech. After lunch and a short opening ceremony, round 1 of the tournament started. Just as in the blitz tournament, I found myself facing Rebecca Lelko on board 2. We had an interesting game which ended in a draw. I played Mandy Lu in round 2. Although I reached the endgame in a drawn position, insufficient endgame knowledge again became my nemesis and resulted in a loss. I won my round 3 match against Mina Wang. After each round, Paul Truong or Susan Polgar gave me advice, showing Rebecca Lelko and I the critical position in our game, and telling Papa and me that I must study endgames. (I'm now reading Silman's Complete Endgame Course which they recommended--the most interesting chess book I've ever read.)

Friday was the final day of the tournament. I won my first two games and lost my third. Charity, however, who had gained only one point the day before, scored several upsets, and won every game. She finished the tournament a half point ahead of me and gained nearly 300 rating points. After the tournament there was an hour of spare time before the closing ceremony. Upon encouragement from classmates and permission from Paul Truong, Charity and I tuned our guitars and her violin and played a few songs for our classmates, Susan Polgar, and Paul Truong. The closing ceremony came all too soon after this wonderful week. Congratulations to Anu Bayar who won the event (puzzle solving, blitz, and G-30), and to Rebecca Lelko who won the G-30 tournament. Charity finished in 13th place, and I finished in 16th place. We bade farewell to our new friends and left for Iowa, arriving home after a safe trip during the early hours of August 1st. "Amazing grace...shall lead me home."

Thank you very much to Susan Polgar and Paul Truong for holding this event. I hope this tradition will continue for many years to come.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel


REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 159th edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 22 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT &  9:00 p.m. CT), exclusively on HBO.

Chess Kids.  On the southern tip of Texas, near the Mexican border, one of the most surprising success stories in sports is being written.  With a population of 175,000 that is 90% Hispanic, Brownsville has rocked the quiet world of chess by turning young players into champions.  Launched as a morning pre-school activity at Russell Elementary School in 1990 by educator Jose Juan Guajardo, chess quickly grew in popularity.  Within a few years, elementary schools were winning state titles, with middle and high school championships not far behind.  As prodigies from hardscrabble, academically struggling city schools accumulated national titles, even the local college program distinguished itself, ranking among the nation’s best teams.  REAL SPORTS correspondent Mary Carillo journeys to Brownsville to see how one of the most impoverished cities in the country rallied around the sport and carved out a niche as a hotbed of chess – one pawn at a time.

For airing times and complete UTB/TSC Public Service Announcement click on Real Sports.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chess.MN 4th FIDE Invitational

Kevin Wasiluk finished 8.0/9.0 to capture the Chess.MN 4th FIDE Invitational in clear first. He was the only player to finish without a loss.

Finishing in clear second and third respectively, were Kevin Bu (6.5) and Brendan Purcell (6.0). Andrey Chernov and Prashantha Amarasinghe finished with 5.0/9.0 points to finish 4/5.

To view the games click on PGN Viewer or 4th FIDE for complete standings.

Dr. Sisira Amarasinghe is organizing Chess.MN Inaugural FIDE Open Swiss on May 22-23, 2010. Click on FIDE Swiss to view/download the flier. You may register Online.

2010 World Chess Championship

Games and analysis for the 2010 World Chess Championship match between Champion Viswanathan Anand and Veselin Toplaov are brought to you courtesy of You may view them with pgn viewer on this blog by clicking the respective link under blog pages.

05-01-2010: At the halfway point, Anand is up one point 3.5 to 2.5.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 Final Four of College Chess

March madness is over but four teams are jousting for the prestigious President's Cup, otherwise known as the Final Four of College Chess. The teams competing are University of Maryland Baltimore County, University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Tech University and University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC).

The event is being held at UTB/TSC located at Brownsville, Texas. To learn more read History of Chess in Brownsville or download the Final Four program guide.

Games from the event can be viewed individually at (registration required) or on this blog by clicking 2010 Final Four. The official page is found at 2010 President's Cup.

Frank Johnson Games from 2010 MN Open

I finally found the pgn code for blogs and figured it out to make it functional. There were several to choose from, but I was looking for one which allowed multiple games to be listed under one board/viewer.

Please check out the games played by Frank Johnson at the 2010 Minnesota Open. He also did some great video analysis which I also linked to this blog. Enjoy the Johnson Games by clicking the link or under the blog pages area.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pre-registration List for Minnesota Scholastic Championships

(for pre-registered players only, rest to be paired Saturday.)

Dan Voje, Chief TD for the MSCA Scholastic Championships, has posted a pre-registration list for the event at Scholastic Championships. He is asking players and coaches to review the list and verify the following:
  • name is listed and correct;
  • listed under the correct section; and
  • team, if any, is correct.
You are asked to email him at if there are any errors. First round pairings will be posted Thursday evening.

I will inquire about getting games for the top 2 or 3 boards of the high and middle school sections so I may post them here. Standings will also be posted if and when available.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Are Our Schools In Checkmate?

I am a member of the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) for the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community Schools Distict (S-O CSD). It is a committee made up of community members, teachers and students. Our mission is to formulate and prioritize recommendations for our school board. They in turn, will consider these recommendations when setting goals for the 2010-2011 school year.

Jeff Herzberg, Superintendent for S-O CSD, posted the following video on his blog, Superintendent Herzberg. The video is a speech given by Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., at an international schools conference in India, where 1-1 initiatives (meaning all students get laptops) are being considered and implemented. Dr. McLeod also wrote The status quo no longer suffices: An open letter to the Ames (IA) School Board, presented this topic to the National Education Association Board of Directors and the Dubuque School Board.

How does this relate to chess? It was amazingly fascinating to hear all of the presenters at our second SIAC meeting (teachers explained the Iowa Core Curriculum) use key phrases associated with chess; critical thinking, problem solving, planning ahead, deductive learning, social interaction, etc.

Of interest is, "A Word From the Wise", an op-ed piece written by New York Times columnist, Thomas L. Friedman. It is referenced in Mr. Herzberg's blog and relevant to the discussion.

I invite the members and visitors of this website to share your thoughts on Dr. McLeod's video or presentations regarding the challenges our schools face. Please consider asking educators and others in your communities to share their perspectives. You may do so on Superintendent Herzberg's blog or below.