This column has been interested in keeping track of the participation of young Carissa Yip of Chelmsford. Last year we were impressed by the 8-year-old’s appearance in chess circles. Born in Hong Kong and brought by her family to Massachusetts, Carissa insisted that her father, Percy, find her a place to play chess. Percy brought her to the Metrowest Chess Club, where she defied warnings about future losses.
Though only 8, she played enough games — and won some — to acquire a United States Chess Federation (USCF) rating. After she reached 1400, Larry and Natasha Christiansen noticed her and gave her some pointers.
Her success at the Wachusett Chess Club resulted in achieving the highest rating for a girl 8 and Under, and following an invitation from the USCF, she traveled to Slovenia for the World Youth tournament, where she managed an even score. Now 9, her rating has grown to 1907, a solid “A” rating, and we understand she is the highest-ranking US girl under 10.
Recently she entered the 2d annual ChessKid.com Online National Championship, a tournament cosponsored by the USCF. It had four sections: Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, and Girls Under 13. ChessKids.com originally proposed separate boys and girls sections, but not enough girls signed up, so all but the Girls Under 13 sections included both genders.
ChessKid.Com, a website dedicated to kids and chess, offers videos, articles, and playing online. The ratings of the participants show that Carissa, playing in the Under 10 section (G/90 with +30 seconds increment per move) was up against kids of her own rating. She was seeded third (1908) in the eight-player round robin.
No doubt playing on the Internet in a rated tournament requires a few extra computer skills, but Carissa seemed unphased, playing from her father’s office and at the Boylston Chess Club, with silent spectators rooting for her.
Carissa lost the first game but won two and was in a tie for first with two others. She split the next two and still was tied for first, with four others. Going into the last round, Carissa was tied for first with Justin Paul, who had the better tie-breaks. The Boylston Chess Club blog described the game in dramatic terms. First, she seemed to be worse, and then even. But she managed a game of maneuvers and found weaknesses and pounced on them and won, becoming the champion, amid the cheers at the club.
The question always arises for prodigies whether they will continue to buck strong, even brutal, competition, as they grow older. Many drop out, and we have found with young girls there is some social pressure to stop playing. Time will tell what Carissa will do.
Brevity: J. Cochrane v. B. Mohishunder (1855) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.Bxc6 Bxc6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.0–0 Be7 9.Nf5 0–0 10.Re1 Bd7 11.Bg5 Kh8 12.Nxe7 Qxe7 13.Nd5 Qe5 14.f4 Qxb2 15.Rb1 Qa3 16.Nxf6 gxf6 17.Bxf6+ Kg8 18.Rb3 Qc5+ 19.Bd4; 1–0
Winners: Worcester “Mayte in Five” 1st: John Curdo: 4.5-.5, 2d Muharrem Brahimaj: 3.5-1.5; Wachusett Championship, 1st: George Mirijanian: 5-2. 2d-4th: Larry Gladding, Bruce Felton, and Carissa Yip: 4.5-2.5.
Coming Events: Metrowest Independence Day Swiss, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 118 East Central St., Natick, email@example.com.; Billerica Friday Night Swiss, July 5, 12, 19, 26, Council on Aging, 25 Concord Road, Billerica, Arthur978@comcast.net.