The Second Annual New York Girls Championship was held April 14-15 at NEST + m School in New York City and drew 240 players in seven sections. This total represents just a few more players than last year’s total of 226. Last year was the inaugural version of the New York State Girls Championship which was founded by International Organizer Sophia Rohde and Little House of Chess. With a consistent draw of over 200 players, it appears that the New York State Girls Championship is the largest Girls State Championship and is second in attendance only to the Kasparov Chess Foundation’s All Girls National Championship in Chicago, IL.
The winner of the 31 player Championship Section qualifies to represent New York at the National Girls Tournament of Champions which will be held alongside the U.S. Open from July 28th to 31st in Madison, Wisconsin. The favorites to qualify would have to be top seeded WFM Martha Samadashvili rated 2172 or second seeded Sophie Morris-Suzuki rated 2146. But there were also two other experts and five Class A players who would be looking to pull off the upset.
One special feature of the event is Fide Master (and Woman International Master) Alisa Melekhina serving as a special guest to analyze games as well as to talk about her life in chess and as balancing a professional life as a practicing attorney with her chess life as a top woman player in the United States. She also writes about that balancing act in her book “Reality Check” and her sharing her life experiences on and off the chess board is invaluable to younger girls considering career choices and how chess fits into their overall life goals.
The first round featured significant mismatches, and there were zero upsets in the entire tournament. All the top seeds won their games and there was only one drawn game in the entire section and that was on the last board.
However, the second round was a lot more competitive and that is when some surprises occurred. On board one, WFM Samadashvili had black against Iris Mou. The game ended in a draw, but it was Mou that had any possible winning chances.
Meanwhile on board 2, Sophie Morris-Suzuki had white versus Meng Chan, and that game also ended in a draw. There was an upset as Katrina Wong rated 1971 lost to Danielle Sharp rated 1707. The rest of the top boards were decisive in favor of the higher rated player and after two rounds there were only five perfect scores.
In round 3, third seeded WFM Ellen Wang moved up to board one and had the white pieces against Nicole Zlotchevsky. On board 2 fourth seeded Nancy Wang had the black pieces against Janell Warner. The lowest rated 2-0, Danielle Sharp would play Samadashvili. Zlotchevsky pulled off the slight upset against WFM Ellen Wang while Nancy Wang defeated Warner and Samadashvili defeated Sharp which left only two perfect scores: fourth seeded Nancy Wang and 6th seeded Nicole Zlotchevsky. Since there were three rounds left Samadashvili and Morris-Suzuki controlled their own destiny as the top players with 2 ½ points. Also, at 2 ½ was Iris Mou with her only blemish being the draw to Samadashvili.
Round four board one featured Nancy Wang with white versus Nicole Zlotchevsky. The real interesting battle however was on board two: Samadashvili had white versus Morris-Suzuki in the battle of the two top seeds. Whoever won would be right back on board one for round five and would be in the driver’s seat to claim the title. Morris-Suzuki built up a winning advantage and was ahead on time in the G/60 (with 10 second delay) contest. However, Sophie started using more time and both players became critically short of time and Sophie blundered and lost a heartbreaking game. On board one, Zlotchevsky won to become the only perfect score at 4-0. Board 3 saw Mou lose to WFM Ellen Wang. So after four rounds Zlotchecky had 4-0, Samadashvili had 3 ½ and a large group stood at 3-1 which included WFM Ellen Wang, Nancy Wang, Katrina Wong, Janell Warner.
In round four Samadashvilli was back on board 1 but was ½ point behind Zlotchecsky. Board 2 had WFM Ellen Wang against Janell Warner and board 3 had Katrina Wong against Nancy Wang. Samadashvili won to get her back into clear first with one round to go. WFM Ellen Wang won on board two as did Ellen Wang on board three to both stay within ½ point of Samadashvilli.
Round six featured the battle of the two WFMs. Samadashvili won the game to get to 5 ½ points and win clear first and the right to represent New York in the National Girls Tournament of Champions. Samadashvili also receives free entry to two Continental Chess Association tournaments. She also picked up enough rating points to get back to 2200! Samadashvili annotates the game here.
The two remaining players at 4-1 (Nancy Wang and Nicole Zlotchevsky) had already played so they would both be paired to plyers at 3 ½. Sophie Morris Suzuki defeated Nancy Wang to reach 4 ½ points while Zlotchevsky drew with Meng Chen. Morris-Suzuki and Zlotchevsky tied for second, but Zlotchevsky had the better tiebreaks and took second with Suzuki-Morris taking third.
The team competition was determined by adding the scores of the top three players. The final result was very close with East Side Community High school scoring 9 points to edge out IS 318 by ½ point.
The other championship section were won by:
The Under sections were won by:
Steve Immitt directed for Chess Center of New York and Little House of Chess. He was assisted by David Hater, Hector Rodriguez, Sophia Rohde, Anatoliy Ostovskiy, Harry Heublum, Kimberly Doo, Harold Scott, Danny Rohde, Noreen Davison, Maya McGreen, Mariah McGreen, Beena McGreen, Kofi McGreen and Ernesto Rivera. Nils Grotnes served as the webmaster.
Full tournament details including a list of all winners can be seen at https://chessgirls.win/.