WCM Claudia Munoz
(March 8, 2016) What an awesome weekend at the 2016 Texas High School Chess Championship in Brownsville! I learned so many things in my last Texas Scholastic Championship that I wish to share them with you because sharing experience is so much better than learning by the school of hard knocks like I did at times. First of all I am happy with my 2nd place performance in a field of 140 players. I had 6 wins of 7 and I congratulate first place winner Liu Bovey. Having been the best placed girl, I will be the Texas representative in the 2016 National Girls Tournament of Champions in Indianapolis in July. So here is what I learned!
- This was the first tournament where I went by myself. Yes, I am a girl but my parents have never ‘babied me’ because I am a girl. I am 18 years old and bound to join the Texas Tech Chess University team in a few months, so they wanted me to know how it felt not having a parental next to me. Of course I had family and friends in the area so I was never alone but not having them there outside the tournament hall gave me a taste of what I will feel in the future. I realized the blessing of having parents by your side but this did not deter me from performing to my fullest as earning 6 wins in 7 rounds was not shabby!
- Girl’s chess has improved dramatically in Texas as in my High School Championship section we girls won 2nd, 3rd and 4th places. Also in the Middle School Section WFM Emily Nguyen out right won her section going 7 of 7! I will be writing a separate article on this.
- Of the four games I played with white, three of my opponents played the King’s Indian Defense. I had never faced the KID so many times in one tournament. I believe that the majority of those that played against me the KID where from the same region or close by regions. In my last game with white I faced the Grunfeld Defense. I would advise coaches that in preparing for a tournament of this calibre, they create a game plan against the 10 best players to get a feel of the style and strength of the highest rated, especially since the names were posted weeks ago. This is how my coach and I prepare. I was ranked 6th prior to the start of the tournament and we researched the top 10 players together. We had prepared lines specifically against them. In the 6th round I faced a National Master rated 2200 plus and we had a line prepared for him. We had downloaded his games from the U.S. Junior Closed Championship and were ready. If the coaches had downloaded my games on the Internet they would have found more aggressive lines on their Kings Indian Defense. This is how a player increases their chess knowledge. The idea is to learn before, not after, this is how I jumped from 6th in the starting position to 2nd place by the end of the event.
- I learned I will miss Texas Scholastic chess! Next year I will be in the same event but in the college section, I know I will face GMs, IMs, and FMs as I have most of my life but looking back at those years, this is how I got to where I am. Enjoy the ride!
- I thank God, my parents and sister and the Texas Chess Association as well as the last two presidents Clemente Rendon and Vish for their support in my success!