What a shock this morning to wake up to SNOW! But my heart is warmed by the great results for the chess femmes who participated in the Hales Corners Challenge XVII.
My chess buddy, Ellen Wanek, wrote to me after she got back home after a long long day at the Challenge. She is such an uplifting and encouraging influence in my life, I'm so happy to have made her acquaintance. She sent me a couple photographs of the chess femmes at the Challenge, since I was not there in person -- they are all so beautiful! Ellen wrote that they were saying "Hi, Jan" in the top photo! Thank you all - so sweet! Brought tears to my eyes.
One last email I opened last night, from Allen Becker, was a link to Rachel Ulrich's USCF ratings track and it was just awesome to see her progress graphed out -- in fact, so awesome to see the rise in her rating over the years that I snatched a copy of it and here it is!
Allen wrote: 13 year old Rachel gained 77 ratings point and is Wisconsin's newest Expert. Woop woop, arm pump!
I also wanted to mention that Anne Ulrich, who tied for first place in the Reserve Section, recently won the 2012 USCF Junior Grand Prix (hope I have that title correct) and, we believe, is the first-ever female to do so. I looked for but could not find any comprehensive records of prior Junior Grand Prix winners to officially confirm this.
And Sabrina Huang's performance! I've seen her in action at the few Challenges I've attended and have tracked the performances of she and her sister, Alena Huang (who played in the Open Section again this Challenge, challenging herself and I'm sooo proud of her) at Challenges over the years. Both sisters are delightful young women. I am soooo proud of Rachel, Anne, Alena, Sabrina and, indeed, all of the ladies who played yesterday, including my buddy, Ellen, who improved her performance to two wins in this Challenge! And how cool is it that we have been lucky enough at the Challenges to have THREE sets of sisters playing, because another dynamic duo of sisters, Ritika Pandey (2.0) and Divya Pandey (1.5), also did very well. Manisha Vootkur also finished in the Reserve at 50%, scoring 2 wins. It gives me hope for the future to see all of these young women playing into and hopefully through their teen years and beyond. We need MORE of you, chess femmes! Pat Foat, where were you?
For those of you who don't know Ellen Wanek very well, I've posted articles about her at this blog and you can find them by doing a search of her name. Ellen is based in Sheboygan and is very involved in a chess program that teaches kids how to play chess and, indeed, has extended the program to a Chess in the Park series where all are welcome and newcomers can visit and learn how to play the game in a casual, relaxed setting. She is one of my heroines and I admire her greatly.
Sandra Pahl, played in the Open again, and a young lady whom I don't believe has played in a Challenge before because, just like the first time I played in a Challenge, I did not have a USCF rating either, Carolyn Marta, who played in the Reserve, didn't score any points. Hey - I know that feeling! Did your head feel like it was going to explode, too? That's what playing in a Challenge (the few I've played in) makes me feel like! All my zeros were worth it, though, because I did earn a USCF rating, so I'm officially on the USCF books as a CHESSPLAYER, ha ha ha! Hang in there, chess femmes. I actually managed to win a game in the last Challenge I played, and Sandra Pahl has scored in the Open before, I know she'll do it again. And Sandra, I would love to continue our conversation on the interesting topics we got into the first/last time we chatted!
I visited my adopted chess club's blog this morning and read the updated news on Challenge XVII, and copied this out:
Four-way tie for first in Open:
Three-way tie for first in Reserve:
I had complained to Allen Becker last night (Yes, it is true. This woman [moi] knows no limits when it comes to gall) about how they publish the final results because they do it from highest ratings to lowest instead of who actually finished in what place by virtue of tie-breaks (at least, that was how it was explained to me once but that may not be correct, that's just the way it was assembled finally in my brain). That method makes no sense to me because how can I use that to determine who actually finished in FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, etc. It's drives me frigging nuts, and that's the truth.
So when I saw the above fresh information posted, now I know that Sabrina edged-out Anne on tie-breaks, and in the Open, Rachel lost FIRST "first place" on tie-breaks (next Challenge maybe she'll come out on TOP, hey, no pressure...) -- so now at least I see it in a format that makes sense to me. I will NEVAH understand the other way of doing it, NEVAH!
Okay, ladies, here's a challenge for you. In Hales Corners Challenge XVI, you took home a record amount of Goddesschess prize money, the highest Goddesschess prize payout yet. You did not break that record in Challenge XVII. How do you feel about going for it in Challenge XVIII?