Diversity at SPFGI
By Paul Truong
I find the diversity of the SPF Girls’ Invitational pretty remarkable! We had players from 13 countries (not counting from Chinese or Indian heritage), with all different religious, social, and economical backgrounds. They did not bond with each other because of ratings or even geographical locations. What brought them together is their passion for chess!
Champions in the past 13 years:
2004: Roza Eynullayeva (MA)
2005: Anya Corke (Hong Kong – CA), Alisa Melekhina (PA), Abby Marshall (OH)
2006: Abby Marshall (VA)
2007: Julia Kerr (NY), Eunice Rodriguez (FL)
2008: Courtney Jamison (TX)
2009: Yang Dai (VA)
2010: Anu Bayar (Mongolia – IL)
2011: Apurva Virkud (MI)
2012: Alice Dong (NJ)
2013: Luisa Mercado Mendoza (Colombia)
2014: Kimberly Ding (NJ)
2015: Thalia Cervantes Landeiro (Cuba – MO)
2016: Alice Dong (NJ), Paula Sarmiento Robles (Ecuador), Laura Zayas Gonzalez (Cuba – FL), Veronika Zilajeva (Latvia – OK)
We have come a long way from the days when I started playing chess (before dinosaurs roamed the earth) in the United States (NJ) back in the early 80’s. There were virtually no strong Asian players (master level and above) and very few strong Latinos or African American players in this country.
Today, there are strong players from every where! At SPICE alone, we have players from 15 different countries! Chess has come a long way!
For love of chess and not money 🙂
The funniest thing I encountered at the 2016 SPF Girls’ Invitational is about money. The Susan Polgar Foundation awarded $7,500 cash prizes in addition to other prizes.
But most of the participants who won these cash prizes did not even realize that there was money involved. Most of them were shocked to learn that they won $$$ 🙂
1st = $2,500
2nd = $1,500
3rd = $1,000
Triple Crown = $1,000
Top under 13 = $500
Top under 10 = $500
Biggest upset prize = $50 per round x 6 rounds = $300
Best written essay about the SPFGI experience = $100
Best dressed player = $100
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– GM Susan Polgar