Delaware’s very own Ann Marie Fitch recently traveled to Texas to play in the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls. During her trip, Ann Marie kept a journal of her thoughts and adventures. We bring you this journal in three parts…
In this part, we bring you the final installment of Ann Marie’s experiences – the last day and her trip home. We end with one of her games from the tournament. If you missed a previous piece, just click Part 1 or Part 2. Thank you, Ann Marie, for sharing this with us!
Techmate II: My Experience at SPNI 2009 (part 3)
July 31st, 2009
This was the last day of the SPNI. It was sad because this was the last time I could participate in the SPNI, and I didn’t want the tournament to end. In the morning, I dropped by one of the dorm rooms so that some girls could spray my hair with red streaks as a salute to Texas Tech University. The round started early this morning, so that there would be time for the closing ceremony, and my opponent was Caroline Folz from Kentucky. Caroline was rated 1181, and she beat me. I had been hoping to win at least this game so that I would end with an even score, but I was still happy with my two upsets.
The closing ceremony took place in the afternoon. There were awards like Miss Congeniality, Biggest Upset Award, the Ursula Foster Scholarship, and also the awards for the puzzle-solving, blitz, and bughouse events. The annual full scholarship for the highest finishing senior was presented to Courtney Jamison from Texas, who had won the whole tournament last year but was too young to earn the scholarship. Everyone was really happy that she was able to win the scholarship this year. There were other scholarships for the overall 1st-3rd place finishers. The final highlight of the closing ceremony was recognition of the three Polgar all-star team members who had competed in the SPNI. At the end of the closing ceremony, there were refreshments including a beautiful chess cake.
After washing the red streaks out of my hair, my mom and I met the Douthitts for dinner at Subway, followed by desert at Baskin Robins. Later the four of us spent time at the leisure pool at the recreation center as a last hurrah, and we had a blast.
August 1st, 2009 – Departure from TX
Today was a total fiasco. We arrived at the Lubbock Airport to find out that our 11:00 flight to Dallas had been cancelled because of weather. This wouldn’t have been a problem if we didn’t have a connector flight to get back home, but of course, life rarely works that way does it? So after some rearrangements, we were scheduled to take a 1:00 flight into Dallas with our connection flight from Dallas to Philadelphia being changed to 7:00.
After finding new flight times, we went through security, where AGAIN they were giving me a hard time about my chess set. This time they were swabbing it to check for explosives! As if that wasn’t annoying enough, we still had quite a wait before we could even leave Lubbock. We had just found out a few minutes after leaving security that our 1:00 flight to Dallas had already been delayed until 2:30. I was able to pass the time quickly by playing – what else – chess on a large set that was donated to the airport.
After eventually flying into Dallas, we still had another long wait of about 5 hours or so until we could fly to Philadelphia. I spend that time poking fun at the same sports team that I did upon first arriving in Texas (might not have been such a smart idea to do this twice), sleeping, eating an early dinner at Chili’s, and looking inside different shops in the Dallas Airport. Finally, we flew to Philadelphia after another delay of a half-hour (and we passed by an incredible thunderstorm while in the air). After landing in Philadelphia half-past midnight the next morning, claiming our luggage, and receiving a shuttle ride home, my mom and I arrived home. Our trip was officially over at 1:30a.m. on August 2nd, 2009.
In her final year of eligibility for the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls, Delaware’s Ann Marie Fitch had her best result yet. Defeating two players who were ranked hundreds of points above her, she showed that ratings matter less than good moves.
Ann Marie doesn’t start the following game well, but when her opponent gives her chances, she takes full advantage of them and scores a major upset.
W: Ann Marie Fitch (833)
B: Kristen Sarna (1425)
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. Ng5?
This move looks aggressive, but Black’s reply blocks the attack on f7 and opens up a discovered attack on White’s Knight.
4. … e6 5. d3 Be7 6. Nf3 Nf6
White has four pieces that have moved; Black has six, so she is ahead in development. That shows that White lost time by playing Ng5 and then retreating with Nf3.
7. 0-0 0-0 8. d4?
A typical move here would be 8. Nc3 or 8. Re1, increasing White’s control of the center. Instead, she leaves her e-pawn hanging (unprotected).
8. … Nxe4 9. Re1 Nf6
Keeping the Knight in the center with 9. … d5 looks better.
10. Nc3 d5 11. Be2 cxd4 12. Nxd4 Nxd4 13. Qxd4 Bd7
Black has emerged from the opening with an extra pawn, a solid center pawn chain, and easy development for most of her pieces. She now has ideas such as … Qa5 followed by either … Bb4 or … Bc5 (driving White’s Queen from the center).
14. Qd3 Bb4 15. Qg3
White has moved her Queen to prepare for a Kingside attack. Black’s position has no weaknesses, though, so she has good chances to defend against it. In this position, 15. … d4 looks strong. With her next move, Black tries to trade Queens (usually a good idea when you are ahead in material), but she misses White’s strong reply.
15. … Qb8 16. Bf4
Now Black should admit her mistake with a move like 16. … Qc8, even though White gets attacking chances by putting her Bishops on d3 and e5. Under pressure, Black makes a decisive blunder here.
16. … Nh5??
Even if this square were safe for the Knight, White could win a piece with 17. Bxb8 Nxg3 18. Bxg3. But there’s a better move.
17. Bxh5 e5??
After making one mistake, a player often gets flustered and makes another. White’s next move creates a double threat (Bxb8 and Qxg7 mate), so Black’s Queen is lost.
18. Bxe5 f6 19. Bxb8 Raxb8
A whole Queen ahead, White just has to play reasonable moves and either trade off pieces or else use her extra power for a winning attack.
20. Qf3 d4 21. Qd5+ Kh8
Here, 22. Qxd4 looks obvious, but White’s move is OK too.
22. Qc4 Bxc3 23. bxc3 dxc3
White is ready to activate her pieces and start the final attack.
24. Re7 Bc6 25. Qg4 g6 26. Bxg6! hxg6 27. Qh4+ Kg8 28. Qh7, checkmate!
A great finish by Ann Marie!