Bits 'n' Pieces: Teen vies in girls’ chess tournament

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Playing chess with some of the top-rated young women across the country was a new experience for Heather Young, 15, of Vancouver.

Until recently, she had only played in national tournaments with both boys and girls, said Young, who enters 10th grade at Battle Ground’s CAM High School this fall.

“It was nice to be with just girls,” Young said. “Two years ago, when I played in the state tournament, I was the only girl. But that’s cool because you get to beat the boys. I won first place that year.”

Young recently finished 18th out of 46 players in the 2011 Susan Polgar International Championship for girls, and was the only Oregon or Washington representative in the Lubbock, Texas, tournament.

She also tied for third place in the event’s blitz tournament, earning three wins and two draws, she said. In that timed competition, 33 players had five minutes per side to complete their game.

Young has been playing chess since she was in third grade and is thinking about participating in the 2012 U.S. Open Chess Tournament, which will be held here in Vancouver.

“I like the competition,” Young said. “It works your mind a lot — thinking about strategies and stuff.”

She added that she hopes to see more girls join her in upcoming chess competitions in Washington. “It would make it more competitive,” Young said. “I think girls think about chess in a different way. They strategize more.”

Bits ’n’ Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood, 360-735-4561, or e-mail features@columbian.com.