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April 19, 2011 > Fremont girls win national chess tourney

Fremont girls win national chess tourney

Submitted By Michelle Motoyoshi

Girl power was in full force at the 8th Annual Girls National Chess Championship in Chicago (April 8-10) where a team of Fremont elementary students took first place in the U-8 and U-10 divisions. This prestigious competition attracted teams from over 120 schools from 30 states and Canada.

In the U-10 division, Weibel Elementary students Desiree Ho, Alisha Chawla and Serafina Show competed strongly against higher-ranked teams, even besting Hunter College Campus School from New York, the team favored to win. To determine the first-place team in this tournament, the top three scores for each team were added together; whichever team's total score was highest garnered the number one slot.

Desiree and Alisha both won four of their six games, giving their team enough points to come out on top. As individuals, the girls performed admirably, as well. Desiree and Alisha tied for eighth place overall, while Serafina tied for 18th place.

In the U-8 division, Shivangi Gupta, Amirah Rafi Mohamed and Anvi Surapaneni (all Weibel Elementary second graders) maintained a combined score that kept them ahead of their competition throughout the tournament, beating teams with more players and higher rankings.

Their individual achievements were also notable. Shivangi and Amirah tied for fifth place; Anvi tied for 10th place. Another Fremont student (not a Weibel team member), Chenyi Zhao, earned a second-place finish overall.

It is no surprise that this group of talented young girls performed so well. They have been competing successfully in tournaments around the world. These are the same girls who snagged the National Elementary Championship title in Atlanta, Ga., last year.

Alisha also represented the United States in the World Youth Championships twice (in Vietnam and Turkey). Serafina won second place in the most recent state championship in Santa Clara and is also a girls state champion (K-3). Desiree is one of the top girls in the country. Additionally, Anvi was a member of the team (NorCal House of Chess) that won first place in the Susan Polgar National Open in Phoenix, Ariz.

Much of the success of these young chess champs can be attributed to frequent practice and quality coaching, both of which they receive from the Weibel chess program and the NorCal House of Chess, both Fremont-based organizations. Weibel's chess program, which is run by Dr. Alan Kirshner, has produced female players who have qualified to compete in the past three World Youth Championships. Coach Ted Castro, who heads the NorCal House of Chess and also teaches at Weibel, has consistently trained championship-level players who compete in the national and international circuit.

For more information about NorCal House of Chess or Ted Castro, please check www.norcalhouseofchess.com or email Castro at castro.ted@gmail.com. Regarding Weibel chess, visit www.weibelchess.org/calnorthyouthchess.org or email Kirshner at alan.kirshner@comcast.net.

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