Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Marathon Sprint


Qualifying for the World Youth Championship - again!

Background

Last November Naomi played at the 2011 World Youth Championships in Brazil, in the 8 year girls category.   There she realized that playing slowly and methodically is the way to win at the World Championship level.  After we came back, the obvious next goal has become to qualify for the 2012 World Youth Championships in Maribor, Slovenia this November.  However now Naomi has to compete in the 10 year old girls category, while she herself is still only 8 year old.  To qualify, she needs to reach rating 1500 before March 31, 2012.

The Marathon Sprint

Last December her rating went down to just 1150, after a few local tournaments, where many players are underrated.  The goal of reaching 1500 in only 3 months seemed almost unattainable.  However, Naomi is a fighter!


  • At the Las Vegas tournament (read it) she won the first place and reached rating 1296.  
  • At the San Diego tournament (read it) she has pushed up to 1332.
  • On March 2-5 Naomi flew with Luda to Saratoga Springs, NY for the NY State Scholastics and reached 1434.
  • On March 9-12 they both flew again, to Agoura Hills, CA, got 3 points out of 5, and a new rating of 1490.

Now just 10 rating points are left till the goal of 1500, so tantalizingly close! Will have to travel again, before March 31 ;)

Maybe going to a tournament in Portland this weekend.

Saratoga Springs

The weather in upstate NY was freezing and snowy.  Naomi was the only 3rd grader in section K-6.  

The result: +100 rating points!  Naomi is #18 here: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201203042772.5

Agoura Hills

Unlike the freezing and snowy upstate NY, the weather in southern California was very hot.  Naomi and Luda regretted they didn’t take summer clothes.

Instead of playing in Section D and trying to win $1200, Naomi played in higher Section C - to get rating.

See "Class C Section" at http://www.westernclass.com -- Naomi had the lowest "settled" rating, but she still got place 15 out of 42, despite the odds.

Here is southern California in all its natural beauty:


Nakamura In Chess4Life

The strongest US chess player Hikaru Nakamura visited the kids in Chess4Life yesterday.  Naomi was ecstatic to meet him, and even got an autograph!


Frequent Flyers

With all this crazy chess travel, we’re now booking many of those chess flights using our "frequent flyer miles":

  • Southwest awards to NY State on March 2-5 (2 free round-trip tickets)
  • Delta SkyMiles + American AAdvantage to All-Girls Nationals in Chicago on April 19-23 (3 free one-way tickets)
  • United MileagePlus to National Elementary Championships in Nashville on May 10-14 (2 free round-trip tickets)

Keeping track of 10 frequent flyer programs for 4 people means managing 40 online accounts, each with its own mileage,  idiosyncratic terminology, different award flight costs and booking rules, expiration surprises and hearing-impaired robotic customer service.

However, if you can handle this complexity and (especially) take advantage of airline-branded credit card offers, the savings can be quite significant.  This helps frequent chess travel, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.  Nobody promised chess parents easy life.

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