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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

US Girls Junior Chess Championship 2014 in Manchester, NH July 17-21

Hello chess blog friends, mark your calendars for 17‐21 July 2014, University Center, University of New Hampshire Manchester! The University of New Hampshire at Manchester and Relyea Chess will host the first ever United States Girls Junior Closed Championship, July 17 through July 21. The US Girls Junior Closed Championship is a prestigious, nine‐round tournament that will have ten of the top‐rated girls (under age 20) in the United States. The winner will be recognized internationally as the US Girls Closed Champion by the United States Chess Federation, will receive a $2,000 cash prize and will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to the University of New Hampshire.  

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.

“There are some amazing young girls playing. We need to have the same prestigious titles for them that we have for boys.” He worked with the United States Federation to create and host the inaugural event in New Hampshire.

“The university is pleased to sponsor the first Closed Championship in the United States,” said Michael

America's Youngest Chess Master at 9, Carissa Yip. Photo: AP

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.


  • 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
The opening ceremony will be at 8:00am on Thursday, July 17 in room 323 at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester campus, 400 Commercial Street, Manchester, NH. All games are free and open for public viewing. Spectators are invited to attend. Details can be found at

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. 

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  • At June 25, 2014 at 6:49 PM , Anonymous sebastian wolff, washington said...

    that's so cool - you show the light Chess Queen - always so happy to read your blog


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