Who says women and girls can't compete with men in chess?
Rebecca Lelko, 16, is one of the highest rated female chess players in Ohio.
In June, Rebecca won the 2007 Polgar World Open among girls. She was eager to test her skills against Ohio’s best men chess players and during the Labor Day weekend such opportunity was presented.
That weekend Rebecca participated in the 2007 Ohio Chess Congress, an official Ohio Chess Championship.
This was the first time Rebecca played in all men event, the first time she was competing in a three day-long competition, and the first time she played in a tournament with up to 12 hours long playing time. The tournament tested her physical and mental endurance, her confidence facing men and certainly her chess skills.
Playing in U1700 Section, Rebecca spent no time adapting to tournament conditions, after the first three games Rebecca had three wins and was the sole leader in her section.
She did slow down in the following rounds, yet before the last game she was only a half point behind the two leaders; Rebecca was facing one of them in the final round.
Throughout the course of the game Rebecca built some advantage, yet physical fatigue, nervousness or lack of experience prevented Rebecca from winning the game. To Rebecca’s great disappointment the game ended in a draw… and in the final table Rebecca finished a half-point behind the two winners.
As her coach, grandmaster Aleksandr Kitsis, President of the Vivacity School of Chess said, "Well, the third place and, even more important, Rebecca’s fighting spirit show great potential of our young and charming hero. You are on a right track Rebecca, go forward and conquer the chess kingdom, princess!"
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