Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Naomi Wins the US All-Girls Chess Championship Again

Naomi has become the US All-Girls National Chess Champion again!

All-Girls Championship


Chicago is the US girls chess capital.  Every year the Kasparov Chess Foundation organizes the US All-Girls National Chess Championships in the Windy City.

There, on April 17-19, 2015, Naomi has won first place at the US All-Girls Chess Championship Under 12 section, with 5.5 points out of 6.  Here is the championship results cross-table.


Her wins seemed deceptively easy, as if Naomi just steamrolled over her opponents.  There were no exhausting super-long games we've gotten used to see her play at the World Youth Championships.  First place in the USA seems easier than, say, tenth place in the world.  

Naomi's win qualifies her to represent the USA in October 2015 at the World Youth Chess Championship in Halkidiki, Greece (she has already qualified for this by other criteria also).

It's second time Naomi becomes the US All-Girls National Chess Champion.  Her first time first place at All-Girls was in 2013 in the Under 10 section.  And before that, she took second place in 2012 in the Under 8 category.  For all these years Naomi has been coached by GM Greg Serper, who guided her to these and many other achievements.

The US All-Girls Championship write-up appears on the US Chess Federation website.

Also, Becca Lampman of Vancouver, WA got first place in the Under 18 section and first place in blitz.

Back home, Naomi's Odle Middle School chess team burst in applause upon learning that she won the tournament.  The teammates said they are proud of her, and wished her keeping the winning streak alive next week by winning the State Championship.

In this photo Naomi holds her first place trophy, on the podium with the organizer in McCormick Place, Chicago:

2015-04-19 Naomi first place - All Girls Chicago 1 crop.jpg


Chicago

The Windy City has amazed us before, and it hasn't failed to do so this time as well.  

The championship was held at McCormick Place -- the largest convention center in North America, which covers a large chunk of the Near South Side, next to Soldier Field.  

Through McCormick Place halls, we would venture east to the Lakefront Trail and then would walk north to the Museum Campus.  


Over the weekend, we visited the Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, the Glessner House and the Museum of Science and Industry.  All are superb, just like the Art Institute and the other places we went to last time.



Take a look at the complete photo album to see some Chicago gems:

Travel


We flew to Chicago O'Hare airport with Alaska, then took CTA Blue and Red lines to Chinatown Hotel.  It was after midnight on Friday and some of the passengers were rowdy.  Police walked around with dogs the size of a lawn mower, with steel muzzles!   

For the rest of our stay, we decided to start using Uber and Lyft for the first time, and very much liked these peer-to-peer smartphone taxi apps.  We had to shuttle a lot between the hotel, the convention center, and the museums.  For the three of us it felt cheaper, more convenient and safer than either public transit or conventional taxi.  

We flew back with Southwest Airlines from Midway airport.

First Place Trophy


True story: on an earlier occasion someone saw the knight figure on top of Naomi's trophy and hypothesized it must be something related to horses.

People have actually wondered: How did we manage to board the return plane with this golden bazooka of a trophy?

When flying to Chicago, we providently packed just 2 carry-on bags for all 3 of us, so that on our way back we could accommodate this expected spare piece of luggage.

On the way back, all along our way from the airport entrance to the plane seats, people have been constantly stopping to ask Naomi about her humongous trophy.

As we made it to our plane seats, a group of teenage boys in the adjacent seats burst into spontaneous applause upon learning it's the US National Champion trophy.  Naomi bowed nicely to the adoring crowd.

And the flight attendants have been so impressed, they allocated a full overhead bin for the trophy, so that it wouldn't get damaged accidentally.

Shipping it home (for about $40) would delay the time-sensitive boasting, and disassembling / packing / reassembling has been historically shown to be fragile.

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