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about the strength of your opponents, ultimately you have to win those over-the- board games. She scored a respectable 31


⁄2


out of 6, but not enough to walk away with a trophy, thanks to a certain round five blunder in which she lost her queen to a royal fork. In any event, when I shared my findings


with Michael Khodarkovsky, president of the Kasparov Chess Foundation, which sponsored the tournament, Khodark- ovsky said the increase in overall rating strength of players in the All-Girls is an indication that girls are sticking with chess longer. “It means the retention rate for older


girls started to pick up,” Khodarkovsky said of the rating strength increases in the older sections. “This is exactly what in the beginning we


were saying, that it is very important that girls at the age of 12 are not quitting, but continuing to participate. They become stronger and willing to come back and play because they feel more comfortable.” Here are the increases in the number


of participants in each section from 2011 to 2012:


18 and younger: 20 to 21 16 and younger: 12 to 21 14 and younger: 36 to 16


uschess.org


12 and younger: 46 to 50 10 and younger: 47 to 59 8 and younger: 63 to 71 While the numbers—at least in the 14


and Under Section—may not entirely sup- port Khodarkovsky’s assessment, the numbers also don’t capture how many girls aged out of their sections. They also don’t reflect how many girls


decided to play up. For instance, at this year’s All-Girls, 11-year-old Anupama Rajen- dra made history by becoming the youngest player in the tournament’s nine-year history to win the 18 and Under Section. Below is a game that Rajendra played


during the crucial sixth round, in which she had to upset an expert-level player— one of several she either beat or drew against during the tournament—to get clear first place.


Scotch Game (C45) WCM Rachel Gologorsky (2028) Anupama Rajendra (1553) All Girls National Championships (6), 04.22.2012 Notes by Rajendra


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Bc5 5. Nb3 Bb6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Bf4


7. Qe2 and 7. a4 are more common moves.


7. ... Nge7 8. Qd2 Be6 9. Nd5 Ng6 10. Bg3 0-0 11. 0-0-0 f6?!


r+-wq-trk+ zppzp-+-zpp -vlnzplzpn+ +-+N+-+- -+-+P+-+ +N+-+-vL- PzPPwQ-zPPzP +-mKR+L+R


After 11. ... f6 I had the idea of ... Bf7, ... Qd7, and ...


Rad8, but 11. ... f5! was faster. One exam- ple is: 11. ... f5! 12. exf5 Rxf5 13. Bc4 Bf7 14. f4 Nge7 15. Nxe7+ Nxe7 16. Bxf7+ Rxf7 17. Bf2 d5 when Black’s position is a lot less complicated.


12. h4 Nge7 13. Bc4 Bf7 14. f4?!


There is no need to push the f-pawn right now. Perhaps 14. h5 was better. 14. ... f5!? This move is interesting, attempting to


Chess Life — July 2012 29


PHOTO: JORGE BARRERA


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