US Girls Junior Chess Championship 2014 in Manchester, NH July 17-21
In 1966, the United States Chess Federation started the Boys Closed Championship, which provides the winner a seat into the US Championship. This year, F. Alex Relyea, FIDE arbiter and Associate National Tournament Director based in Bedford, NH, decided that an equally prestigious event for girls should exist.
“The university is pleased to sponsor the first Closed Championship in the United States,” said Michael
Hickey, Interim Dean of UNH Manchester. “The game of chess is known to help develop problem‐solving skills, which is an important skill to learn, particularly for those interested in pursuing careers in STEM related disciplines. The university is committed to providing opportunities that encourage young women to develop their skills and interests in STEM areas.”
Chess is increasingly valued for its incredible educational impact. Globally, chess is recognized for improving problem‐solving skills, teaching self‐discipline, cultivating visualization skills, rewarding determination and perseverance and increasing interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.
The first girls vying for the US Girls Closed Champion title exemplify this analytical, quiet determine.
Players include Maggie Feng, Apurva Virkud, Jennifer Yu, Akshita Gorti (ranked third highest girl under 12 worldwide), Becca Lampman, Claudia Munoz, Rochelle Ballatyne (appeared in 2012 documentary, Brooklyn Castle – highest ranked African American woman in the US), Carissa Yip (special wild‐card invitation as highest ranked girl in New England), Alice Dong, and Kimberly Ding.
NAME AGE TITLE RESIDENCE USCF Rating
- Maggie Feng 14 Woman Candidate Master Ohio 2173
- Apurva Virkud 16 Woman Candidate Master Virginia 2104
- Jennifer Yu 12 Woman FIDE Master Virginia 2172
- Akshita Gorti 12 Woman FIDE Master Virginia 2132
- Becca Lampman 17 Expert Washington 2091
- Claudia Munoz 17 Woman Candidate Master Texas 2060
- Rochelle Ballantyne 19 Expert New York 2077
- Alice Dong 16 Expert New Jersey 2046
- Kimberly Ding 15 Woman FIDE Master New Jersey 2091
- Carissa Yip 10 Expert Massachusetts 2157
Relyea Chess is dedicated to bringing high quality, specialty chess tournaments to New England. For example, Relyea Chess hosted a first‐ever 26‐person round robin blitz tournament, directed the prestigious New England Open multiple times and organized a unique FIDE, invitational, round robin. Relyea Chess is a private organization affiliated with the United States Chess Federation.