Monday, June 29, 2009


For 45- straight minutes, the United States was king of the world. With two quick goals in the first half of play, it was apparent that the United States was about to create their own miracle. The style of play that annoys international soccer was about to make another victim out of Brazil.

Then it was half-time and I am sure Brazilian Coach Dunga let his team have a piece of his mind because it was hardly one minute into the second half when Brazil scored..and scored...and scored again.

By the time the game was over, Brazil had comeback from a three goal deficit, to solidy itself as the number #1 world power; however, during the first-half the U.S.A. was number #1.

Needless to say, the silver medal finish for the U.S.A. will hardly go noticed back home but for the rest of the world, for 45 minutes, they realized that in the next decade several European and South American nations will have a new soccer power to deal with.

We applaude the valiant effort with which TEAM USA played in this Confederations Cup.

Better things are yet to come.

You can count on it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


How good is the U.S national soccer team? Is their defeat of Spain an outrageous freak? Or is it really quite routine?

Since the 2002 World Cup, the London-based statisticians of Decision Technology have been modeling domestic and international soccer competitions to predict outcomes and assess team strength. Their work has proven consistently better than the bookmakers’ odds. And their conclusion? The U.S. is really pretty good.

The U.S. national side ranks 14th in the world, ahead of, say, Portugal, a team that’s able to field the world’s most expensive soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo. The U.S. is 40% as good as the best national team, Brazil, which they face Sunday in the Confederations Cup final. However France, which reached the last World Cup final in 2006, is only 45% the standard of Brazil.

The result against Spain seemed stunning, but actually wasn’t all that surprising. There was a 25.6% chance that the Americans would go through. And victory in the final, while unlikely, is very far from impossible. There is a 21.3% chance the Yanks will beat Brazil. So raise your eyebrows, but don’t fall off your chair if it happens.

Decision Technology also prepares the official FIFA Confederations Cup player ranking, again using computer modelling. Midfielder Clint Dempsey (pictured) turns out to be a world-class star, only narrowly edged into third place by world superstars David Villa of Spain and Brazil’s Kaka.

Why has the U.S. begun to reach this level? Two reasons—population and GDP. National soccer performance is related to both. And the U.S. is now playing at roughly the standard to expect from a country of its size and wealth. If it adds more interest in soccer into the mix, world domination beckons.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I know Michael Jackson has passed away and the airwaves are captive to his memory, but life must go on and in this case - it must go on for TEAM USA at the championship game at the Confederations Cup in South Africa.

TEAM USA opened a monumental can of whoop a...well you know what I mean, against powerhouse Spain in what was a repeat of David versus Goliath. In that Biblical story David lived happily ever after, but not in this case for TEAM USA.

Goliad didn't have brothers and Spain does, an even stronger brother is coming to show up against Donovan and his boys and its called BRAZIL.

Whether you now about soccer nor not, everyone and their brother knows Brazil owns soccer. So if at anytime the United States need some "shock and awe" it surely will need it tomorrow.

Its the final for the Confederations Cup in South Africa and its tomorrow at 1:20 p.m.

It does not get any better than that.

Do you believe in miracles?

Friday, June 26, 2009


We have two blogs, this one you are currently reading, which just started a few weeks ago and is attempting to have the same success as our Spanish language version, which has 49,000 hits in just 10 months from 110 countries:,

Both are chess blogs that reports on everything else outside the chessboard as well as relevant news concerning WCM Claudia Munoz and her daily activities.

This morning we focused on the life of Michael Jackson, in our Spanish language blog; however, our focus was on his last remaining years.

No one can't deny that Michael Jackson was a trendsetter in the music world. We all now that he was extremely rich at the height of his popularity and that he was surrounded by beautiful women.

He leaves behind, two ex-wives and three children.

But the underlying question is this: was Michael Jackson ready to meet his creator at the end of his life?

This question is not a disrespectful one, on the contrary, seven weeks ago my mother passed away after having complications relating to a severe stroke that left her in a terminal state for thirty days.

My mother was a Godly woman who had given her heart to Jesus Christ in her mid 30's. She later pursued missionary work after my father's death and in her eldery years she faitfully maintained her faith in Jesus Christ.

When the stroke came, she wanted to be disconnected from any machine in order to be with the Lord. Therefore, my question is valid because whether we want to accept it or not, one day we also will pass away.

The question is, will we be ready?

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Anyone who read my blog yesterday would have thought that I had "insider information" that the the U.S. National Soccer team would put the gloves on Spain.

I cannot tell a lie.

I wrote all the mumbo-jumbo about believing in miracles and that the United States could do this and that to Spain, but I myself didn't believe it.

It was just rhetoric, I swear.

Never in my wildest imagination did I even come close in thinking that the United States would beat Spain! This guys had a 35-game winning streak and had not lost a game since 2007!

The U.S. team showed the world what they are made of.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Don't feel dupped!

We stated that in this blog we would talk about anything and everything inside and outside the chessboard. So today, we will focus on soccer.

Team USA will be playing Spain today at 1:20 p.m., central standard time, on ESPN and Univision in the Confederation Cup.

The next question you will be asking is what in the world is the CONFEDERATION CUP?

Thanks for asking, I was dying to answer that question. Soccer just like chess, at the international level, is divided into zones. Each zone has a zonal.

Still with me?

Ok, great!

Each zone has their zonal every four years, the zone we live in is called CONCACAF and it is formed by the North and Central American nations as well as every carribean island. The zone holds an elimination tournament to decide who goes to the Confederation Cup.

The final was between Mexico and the United States of which Mexico got beat. This is how Team USA gained its ticket to the "quasi big dance" because the "big big dance" is the World Cup.

Ok, keep up with me.

So, while our zone was having its zonal, so where the other 4-zones. Each one produced a winner and joined the host nation, the European Cup Champion and the World Champion.

This makes a tournament of 8-nations.

The Confederation Cup is always held in the country where the following year the World Cup will be held. In 2010, it will be South Africa who will host this world event becoming the first african nation in history to hold such tournament.

Therefore, the Confederation Cup is somewhat of a rehearsal for the World Cup where the top 32-nations on earth participate for almost four weeks until only one survives.

CONCACAF is viewed universally as a weak zone being that only the United States and Mexico are mostly the only countries that can stand-up to the european teams as well as Argentina and Brazil. So the simple fact that in this Confederation Cup Team USA qualified to the semi-final is a major feat!

I hope this brief soccer lesson helped you understand what in the world will happen today in South Africa.

Will Team USA be able to defeat Spain, today?

Spain arrives with a 15-game winning streak to today's match. However, american sports thrives on the thrill of achieving the impossible.

Let's watch and see what happens.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I wish to congratulate Mr. Dan De Leon for having conducted an excellent event such as the Susan Polgar Texas Qualifier.

We decided to post this picture of the participants.

The two tallest players are Courtney Jamison and Julia Jones, both graduated from high school this summer and will be attending college in the next few months.

Although, Claudia did not qualify, it did serve as an invaluable lesson to her on "over-confidence". Her third round draw was a clear example of this statement.

However, the beauty of chess is watching our children grow together. Pictures such as they will be treasured by all as we the parents get older.

Currently, I am 41-years so as a a dad, let me state that "older" means like 20-years in the future.


Monday, June 22, 2009


Riot police fired tear gas to break up an opposition rally in Tehran today after around 1,000 demonstrators defied a threat from the Revolutionary Guard to crush any further protests over the disputed presidential election.

Police in helmets and wielding clubs fired at least seven rounds of tear gas and arrested up to 60 people at a rally in Haft-e Tir square, a popular shopping destination in the heart of Tehran, a witness said.

The Guards - an elite force set up in the wake of the 1979 revolution - threatened a "decisive and revolutionary" riposte to any further unrest as the Islamic regime battles to contain an escalating crisis over the election.

The warning came after state radio said at least 457 people had been detained in street clashes in Tehran on Saturday that left at least 13 dead.

The opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who has led a wave of massive protests over what he says was a rigged election that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power, urged supporters to continue demonstrating but to adopt "self-restraint" to avoid more bloodshed.

Witnesses said that helicopters hovered overhead as the protesters gathered at Haft-e-Tir Square. But hundreds of anti-riot police quickly put an end to the demonstration and prevented any gathering, even of small groups, at the scene.

At a nearby subway station, police did not allow anyone to stand still, asking them to keep on walking and separating those who walked together.

The abortive protest came after the state election watchdog admitted that in 50 cities the number of votes cast in this month presidential election exceeded the number of eligible voters.

The surprising admission by the Guardian Council was, however, designed to undermine the claims of the defeated candidates that the vote was rigged.

Mr Mousavi, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's main rival in the hotly-disputed election, and the other two losing candidates have claimed that the vote exceeded eligible voters in as many as 170 districts.

Abbasali Kadkhodai, a spokesman for the council of senior clerics, told the state television channel IRIB: "Our investigation shows that the number of districts they announced is not correct. Based on our preliminary report, 50 districts face this issue."

Mr Kadkhodaei also argued that voter turnouts of more than 100 per cent were not unusual because Iranians can cast their ballots where they want. Although it is summer in Iran and some of the cities in question are in desert areas, he suggested some voters might have gone to them on holiday.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Coming from a 118-point rating jump in the Texas State Championship four weeks ago, Claudia faced a difficult tournament this weekend. We want to thank the organizers as well as Susan Polgar for having an invitational where girls from all over the United States strive to qualify.

We wish Julia Jones and Sadia Quenisha well in the invitational as the representatives of Texas. Also, the Texans that are members of the GM Susan Polgar All-Star team, we wish you the best.


It was a painful draw for our daughter, but things like these happen in chess. Claudia drew with Sadia Quneshi in the third round this morning.
The fourth round pairings have been posted and Claudia will be playing against Julia Jones USCF 1856, who just lost to Courtney Jamison.
The chances of qualifying to the Susan Polgar National Invitational just got harder, but these excellent experiences only help our daughter in the long run.

Saturday, June 20, 2009



I'm still in charge of posting our daughter's news, since my husband stayed back home to run the family business.

The 2nd round finished about 2:30 p.m. for Claudia as she was defeated by Courtney Jamison U.S.C.F. 2070 and winner of the Susan Polgar National Invitational 2008.

Courtney is a high school graduate who I believe will be attending college at Texas Tech University.

With this second round result, Claudia would have to win the last two games in order to qualify to the Invitational. She has been in this situation before and we believe that she can pull it out.
Right now my two daughters are swimming and enjoying the evening, something they rarely get to do during chess tournaments.


This morning at 9:00 a.m. the "Susan Polgar Texas Qualifier" tournament began. Eight of the 14-invited guests arrived to particapte.
Absentees were WCM Sarah Chang, Sylvia Yang, and the Xiang sisters, all of which are part of GM Susan Polgar's All-Star Team.
Those participating at this time are :
1. Courtney Jamison
2. Julia Jones
3. Kristen Ramos
4. WCM Claudia Munoz
5. Sarah Garza
6. Sarai Guillen
7. Saidi Kureshi
8. Evelyn Karabanoff
The girls listed are according to rating. It is important to highlight, that Courtney Jamison outright won the Susan Polgar National Invitational 2008.

Friday, June 19, 2009



I'm Claudia Munoz, the mother of 11-year old WCM Claudia Munoz. You mostly associate this blog with my husband and daughter, but this time it's up to me to make an entry since we are in Corpus Christi, Texas.

We arrived a little after mid-noon, only to be told we could not have our hotel room until 3:00 p.m. but that was okay because it provided us with an excuse to go to the MALL!


After some very "important" shopping we had some lunch and got some rest before the evening set in. We took advantage of one of the beautiful local beaches in order to cool down.

Usually on our chess trips, we don't often get the opportunity to really go sightseeing, but today, we had an excellent opportunity to do this.

After returning to our hotel followed by a warm shower, straight to bed because we have to get up about 6:00 a.m. - the 1st round should start about 8:30 a.m.

I'm sure my daughter is having sweet dreams right now along with her older sister Faith.

By the way, abed is my husband.


2007 DODGE RAM 1500
About an hour ago, I saw my family take-off on their way to Corpus Christi, Texas; the site of this years "Susan Polgar Texas Qualifier". Like I stated yesterday, someone has to stay behind and pay the bills, but honestly, as a father and chess coach, nothing honors me more than to watch my daughter getting ready to go and compete.
During this weekend, two and only two, qualifying positions are up for grabs to the "Susan Polgar Invitational", the most prestigious scholastic female tournament in the United States.
We, meaing my daughter and I, have worked extremely hard in preparation for this tournament. We were informed that Courtney Jamison and her 2000-plus rating will be attending; however, WCM Sarah Chang, Sylvia Yang, and the Xiang sisters - Evan and Ellen, will not be attending since they are members of the "Susan Polgar All-Star Team". Nevertheless, it was the intention of the Xiang sisters to compete regardless, since the prizes are two $1,000 dollar expense account to the "Susan Polgar Invitational". However, their vacation in China could not be cut short and will miss the event.
Eventhough the star cast foursome will not be attending, Claudia is ready to face any and every competitor. Her spirits were high when she left, realizing that she could build on her 118-point increase performance she had a month ago in the Texas State Championship.
This being her 8th tournament on American soil, her rating is now 1474. The goal is for her to be in the 1800's by next summer, which would allow her to recieve an invitation to represent the United States in the World Youth Championship 2010, in Greece.
But first, this weekend's tournament.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


The life of a dad.
I work so others can travel.

While my two daughters and beautiful wife are basking in the beautiful coastline of Corpus Christi, I'm stuck like chuck back at home working.


Today, Claudia will be finalizing last minute training as she attempts to be one of the two representatives that will represent Texas at the Susan Polgar National Invitational in July at Texas Tech University.

We heard yesterday that the Xiang sisters will not make it to the tournament since they are still in China. Also Sylvia Yang and WCM Sarah Chiang will not be attending for the simple fact that they are part of the "Susan Polgar All-Star's".

Courtney Jamison and her 2000 plus rating will be at the tournament this weekend because she is seeking to win the $1,000 travel expense account for the Susan Polgar Invitiational.

We will keep you informed of this weekend's events.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


After you won the North American Youth Championship 2007, and you were awarded the Woman Candidate Master title at age 9, did you set out and play in the United States?

Yes, I did.

Where did you play?

The following tournament was the “SUSAN POLGAR NATIONAL OPEN 2008” in Brownsville, Texas, about 90-days after my performance at the North American Youth Championship 2007. It was only my third tournament in the United States, when I was 8-years old I played in two tournaments in Oklahoma and Texas but I was way too young and not strong enough to do well. Remember, I usually never play children tournaments but mostly grown-up events.

Why did you choose to play in the SUSAN POLGAR NATIONAL OPEN 2008, instead of playing in other national tournaments?

Well because, we felt that we needed to go to this tournament because it would be strong. I needed to build-up my USCF rating being that I was only 1000 rated. I knew that there would be higher rated girls. Besides, I wanted to meet GM Susan Polgar being that I knew about her like day one in my chess career.

Did anyone know who you were when you arrived at the SUSAN POLGAR NATIONAL OPEN 2008?

No, I was new to the U.S. chess scene so no one knew me but Mr. Russell Harwood, Chess Program Director of the University of Texas – Brownsville. He had been the Head of Delegation of the American Team that participated in the North American Youth Championship. Anyways, CHESS LIFE ONLINE had written about me after I won the Gold Medal for the United States and even posted one of my games from the tournament. (,)

How strong was the tournament?

There were 1400 and 1500 rated girl players, and being a 1000 rated player, no one really gave me a chance.

How did you do in the tournament?

I won 1st place – undefeated in my category and I also won a laptop computer.,

Was this the first tournament you won in the United States?

Yes and then I found out that by winning this tournament, I had qualified to play in the Susan Polgar Invitational at Texas Tech University, later that summer.

What was your secret in winning the North American Youth Championship 2007- UNDEFEATED, then arriving in Texas, 90-days later to win the SUSAN POLGAR NATIONAL OPEN and go UNDEFEATED again?

In both tournaments God is my “secret”. I stayed focus at all times, even if the “odds” were against me. I was just ready to win.

How much did your rating go up in that tournament?

About 220 points in one jump.

Did you meet GM Susan Polgar? If so, what do you think about her?

Yes, I meet her. She is an excellent role model for many girls. I believe all the chess studying she did really shaped her into the strong player that she is. She is very nice and sweet.

Did you play her in the simul?

Yes, and I got whooped. I was black and I played the Grunfeld against her. At first the game was equal, then she gave me a free pawn, so thinking that a free pawn is a free pawn, I took it. Then she beat me down. The game lasted about 25 moves.

After you won that tournament what other tournaments did you play in 2008, in the United States?

I came in 5th place out of 50 in the “ALL GIRLS NATIONAL OPEN” in Dallas, Texas, it was also a strong tournament. My rating jumped another 100 points. Then I took-off to Argentina to play in the Pan American Youth 2008. When I returned, I got sick due to the weather change of winter in South America and hot summer in North America, and I really bombed in the SUSAN POLGAR INVITATIONAL at Texas Tech. My mother was thinking about taking me to the emergency room. Still my rating grew somewhat. Then I went to the National Youth Action in Brownsville, Texas. For the first time my rating decreased somewhat because g/30’s aren’t my thing.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So a few months after you learned how to play, you participated in your first tournament? Tell us about it.

I participated in my first tournament here in Acuña, when I was 6-years old and obviously I came in last place. It was a non-rated tournament, but I also want people to know that I played in the open section with grown-ups. I did not play in the children’s section.

Why not in the children’s section?

Well, that was where my dad was playing and I wanted to play where he was playing so that is why I didn’t want to play in the children’s section.

Now, all sports in Mexico belong to the Mexican government. You

played within the Mexican government chess system. How is that different from American chess?

In Mexico, to play in a Pan American or World Youth Championship, you have to play a national elimination starting in your school, then the winners go to the city championship, then regional’s, then state, then pre-nationals and then nationals. Only the top two in the first four phases advance and then the top three go to nationals. From there, the top 5-in nationals represent Mexico in the Pan American. In the Pan American the best Mexican in each category go to the World Youth Championship.

How long does this elimination process last?

Six months at the most.

And, who pays for this?

The government of each phase, like in the city championship the city pays the expenses of its winners to go to the regional, and the regional pays for the winners to go to state and so forth.

You played as a Mexican?

The Mexican constitution states I am Mexican because I am the daughter of a Mexican citizen, although I am an American by birth. The national eliminations are done states competing against states, that is how each state gets its national funding. Like, if your state wins in the majority of 66 recognized sports in Mexico, the federal government gives them more money.

Did you ever represent Mexico in international tournaments?

No, only the United States.

So how far did you go in the Mexican Chess system?

Five state championships – undefeated. Three Pre-Nationals – undefeated. Two National Scholastics where I won three medals for my state, and in 2008, I came in 3rd place of the top 5-Mexican national team members that were going to represent Mexico in the Pan American Youth in Argentina, but I opted to represent the United States.

So you could have represented Mexico in international chess tournaments?

Yes, I could have.

Why did you not being that the Mexican government was paying all of your expenses?

The Mexican chess system is corrupt, although they pay for the expenses, there is a lot of politics and I thought I was too young to understand what that meant but there is a lot of favoritism. I live in the state of Coahuila, not known for chess. The system favors players from chess states like Yucatan, San Luis Potosi, and Jalisco. So in 2007, I officially decided to represent the U.S.A. in international events. One major reason that I did not want to play for the Mexican national team was rating.

What do you mean by rating?

It took back then almost six months to rate the tournament you competed in, now its every three months but the ratings aren’t right. When I was 7-years old, I was rated 1216. Every year since then I have played at least 25-rated games, only losing at the most 4-games a year. In four-years my rating has only gone up 170 points. Keep in mind how many tournaments in the Mexican chess system I have won going undefeated! Yet, I see players from chess states that have not won the amount of medals I have won, with 200 or 300 points higher in rating! In the U.S.A., I had to start from the bottom with my rating and in only eight rated tournaments I have played since I was 8-years old, my rating is 1474. In my last tournament in San Antonio, two weeks ago, I jumped 118 points in only seven games. So, by next summer, since I am moving back to the United States in January, just so I can play at the Dallas Chess Club, my rating should be close to 1800, at age 12, leaving me in the top five girls in the USCF.

Did the Mexican chess system retaliate against you for playing for the U.S.A. while living in Mexico and being of Mexican heritage?

Big time. I was not allowed this 2009 to play in the Mexican government chess system because I am officially an “American” because of my registration with FIDE.

How do you feel about that decision?

I am o.k. with it because I know when a door closes another one opens. Now, I know what path I am going to take internationally.

What achievements do you have in FIDE and in the USCF at your young age of 11?

I represented the U.S.A in the North American Youth Championship in 2007, my first ever international tournament; it was held in all places – Mexico. I was the official representative of the United States because no one bothered to sign-up with the USCF in my age group. Canada and Bermuda did not send anyone either in my category, so it was just me for the United States and about 20-Mexican chess players of who five had just represented Mexico in the Pan American Youth in Colombia. Those same five girls, I had faced in the Mexican National Scholastic Championship coming in 6th place that year.

How did they react when they saw you wearing the American uniform?

Everyone was quiet.

So what happened?

I won the Gold Medal for the United States totally undefeated. I also received from FIDE, my first international chess title as WOMAN CANDIDATE MASTER for having won a major continental tournament. I also received the right to represent the U.S.A. as North American Champion at the Pan American Youth in Argentina 2008.

How old were you?

9-years old.

And after the tournament you drove back to your home in Acuña, Mexico?


Were you scared they would be mad at you?

My father said there would be retaliation from the Mexican chess federation for our decision but that I had the right to represent the country I felt more comfortable with. The USCF treated us politely and respectfully during the entire process. The head of delegation, Mr. Russell Harwood was aware of what was going on with the Mexican Federation and he was very supportive of me. The Mexican Federation has never called us or even attempted to speak with us, on the contrary, it has always been obstacles after obstacles so that I would not play because I was U.S. born.

So its racism?

Its ignorance, I mean the Mexican Chess Federation guards its system so much against foreigners that it doesn’t do anything for its own Mexican players. Did you know that out of the four Grandmaster’s Mexico has, half declined to represent Mexico in the 2008 Olympiad in Germany? What does that tell you? They are fed-up with their own system. Only one Mexican grandmaster lives in Mexico, the rest are out of here.

How have people in Mexico taken all this?

The people support me because this is common in Mexico. Most high performance athletes in this country leave to play for other countries because of the corruption of the system, nothing new. They have always supported us because they see the corruption in the system but they won’t stand up for fear of retaliation. I don’t see what the problem is because Mexican players live in the U.S.A. and they play in all the scholastic championships and no one in America bothers them, at least I hope not.

Did you sign something to get your FIDE title?

Yes, after the tournament, they took me to a room and I signed a document stating that I was accepting the title of Woman Candidate Master. Later, I received an official document signed by FIDE awarding me the title with an official pin.

How many tournaments had you played in the U.S.A. prior to you winning the title?

Two or three tops.

So you were an unknown completely too American chess?

Completely, but when I began to play in my first tournaments in the U.S.A. and I began to go undefeated their as well, I began to face some obstacles as well because they said I was a Mexican and because I had a FIDE title, I should not be allowed to play in the children’s section. But I guess that’s for another topic.

Tomorrow we will post the rest of this interview.

Monday, June 15, 2009


These are a series of interviews that we will be posting everyday in order to provide our readers with an in-depth understanding of who this 11-year old, 5th grader, WCM Claudia Munoz really is and where she planning to go in the future.

Today, we will start with her beginnings:

1. How old are you and in what grade do you attend school?

First of all, hi my name is Claudia Munoz and before I start this interview I want to thank God for the talent of playing chess that He has given me. I also want to thank my parents for supporting me in chess. By the way, I am 11-years old and a 5th grader.

2. Do you always have the habit of thanking God before an interview?

Yes, because He has given me a talent and I always thank Him for doing so.

3. Where do you live and where do you go to school?

I live in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, which is the border city with Del Rio, Texas and I am homeschooled but not Mexican homeschooled but rather American homeschooled. Our educational program is from the United States and my homeschooling is in English. I take the same classes that a 5th grader in Texas studies.

4. What language do you primarily speak at home?

English. I had to learn Spanish when we arrived in Mexico. I have also been studying French with my father.

5. What do your parents do for a living in Mexico?

My parents own a foreign language center that provides educational service for American companies in Acuña.

6. Where were you born?

In Wichita Falls, Texas.

7. How old were you when you moved from Texas to Mexico?

I was 5-years old.

8. Do you go often to visit the U.S.?

Yes, every Thursday because we joined our home school network to meet my Physical Education requirements, then we to go to the Valverde County library.

9. How about deep in the U.S.?

Numerous times during the year. I go to Bible camp in the summers in Byers, Texas. I also spend about one month out of the twelve visiting family in Wichita Falls, Texas, besides playing in tournaments in Texas.

10. Where did you learn how to play chess?

In Acuña, Mexico.

11. How taught you how to play chess?

My father.

12. How old were you?

I was 6-years old.

13. How long before you started competing after you learned?

A few months after I learned.

Tomorrow we will continue with a longer series of questions.

Sunday, June 14, 2009



TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Protesters set fires and smashed store windows Sunday in a second day of violence as groups challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election tried to keep pressure on authorities that have responded with anti-riot squads and blackouts of Web networks used to rally the pro-reform campaign.

Ahmadinejad dismissed the unrest — the worst in the decade in Tehran — as "not important" and insisted the results showing his landslide victory on Friday were fair and legitimate. A huge rally in his support was organized even as clashes flared around the capital.

The violence spilling from the disputed results has pushed Iran's Islamic establishment to respond with sweeping measures that include deploying anti-riot squads around the capital and cutting mobile phone messaging and Internet sites used by the campaign of Ahmadinejad's election rival, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

There's little chance that the youth-driven movement could immediately threaten the pillars of power in Iran — the ruling clerics and the vast network of military and intelligence forces at their command — but it raises the possibility that a sustained and growing backlash could complicate Iran's policies at a pivotal time.

President Barack Obama has offered to open dialogue after a nearly 30-year diplomatic freeze. Iran also is under growing pressure to make concessions on its nuclear program or face possible more international sanctions.

In Paris, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he was "very worried" about the crackdown on protesters.

"France regrets that instead of openness, there has been quite a brutal response. ... This will leave its mark, and the opposition will organize itself."

So far, Mousavi has issued mixed signals through his Web site before it was shut down. He urged for calm but also said he is the legitimate winner of Friday's election and called on supporters to reject a government of "lies and dictatorship." He has not been seen in public since a news conference shortly after polls closed.

In a second day of clashes, scores of young people shouted "Death to the dictator!" and broke the windows of city buses on several streets in central Tehran. They have burned banks, trash bins and piles of tires used as flaming barricades to block police.

Riot police beat some of the protesters with batons while dozens of others holding shields and motorcycles stood guard nearby. Shops, government offices and businesses closed early as tension mounted.

Along Tehran's Vali Asr St. — where pro-Mousavi activists held a huge pre-election rally last week — tens of thousands of people marched in support of Ahmadinejad, waving Iranian flags and shouting his name.

In a news conference, Ahmadinejad called the level of violence "not important from my point of view" and likened it to the intensity after a soccer match.

"Some believed they would win, and then they got angry," he said. "It has no legal credibility. It is like the passions after a football match. ... The margin between my votes and the others is too much and no one can question it."

About a mile away from Ahmadinejad's news conference, young Iranians set trash bins, banks and tires on fire as riot police beat them back with batons.

"In Iran, the election was a real and free one," said Ahmadinejad. "The election will improve the nation's power and its future," he told a packed room of Iranian and foreign media.

Ahmadinejad also accused foreign media of launching a "psychological war" against the country.

Iranian authorities have asked some foreign journalists — in Iran to cover the elections — to prepare to leave. Nabil Khatib, executive news editor for Dubai-based news network Al Arabiya, said the station's correspondent in Tehran was given a verbal order Sunday from Iranian authorities that the office will be closed for one week.

No reason was given for the order, but the station was warned several times Saturday that they need to be careful in reporting "chaos" accurately.

Iran restored cell phone service that had been down in the capital since Saturday. But Iranians could not send text messages from their phones, and the government increased its Internet filtering in an apparent attempt to undercut liberal voices. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter were also not working.

The restrictions were likely intended to prevent Mousavi's supporters from organizing large-scale protests. But smaller groups assembled around the city. About 300 Mousavi supporters gathered outside Sharif University, chanting "Where are our votes?"

About a dozen riot police used batons to disperse about 50 Mousavi supporters standing outside his campaign quarters.

On Saturday, Mousavi, a 67-year-old former prime minister, released a Web message saying he would not "surrender to this manipulation." Authorities responded with targeted detentions, apparently designed to rattle the leadership of Mousavi's "green" movement — the trademark color of his campaign.

The detentions include the brother of former reformist President Mohammad Khatami and two top organizers of Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front: the party's secretary-general and the head of Mousavi's youth cyber campaign. Mohammad Reza Khatami and the two party activists were released Sunday.

Several others linked to Mousavi's campaign remained in custody, but the full extent of the arrests were not known.

Tehran deputy prosecutor, Mahmoud Slarkia, told the semi-official ISNA news agency that fewer than 10 people were arrested on the charge of "disturbing public opinion" through their "false reports" on Web sites after the election. He did not mention any names.

Iran's deputy police chief, Ahmad Reza Radan, told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that about 170 people have been arrested for their involvement in Saturday's protests. He said 10 of those arrested were "main planners" and 50 were "rioters." The others were arrested for being at the site of the clashes, he said. Some of the detained were active in Mousavi's campaign headquarters or had relations with foreign media, he said.

"Police will not allow protesters to disturb the peace and calmness of the people under the influence of foreign media," Radan said on state television, which showed footage of the protests for the first time Sunday.

Mousavi's newspaper, Kalemeh Sabz, or the Green Word, did not appear on newsstands Sunday. An editor, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the paper never left the printing house because authorities were upset with Mousavi's statements.

The paper's Web site reported that more than 10 million votes in Friday's election were missing national identification numbers similar to U.S. Social Security numbers, which make the votes "untraceable." It did not say how it knew that information.

"Don't worry about freedom in Iran," Ahmadinejad said at the news conference after a question about the disputed election. "Newspapers come and go and reappear. Don't worry about it."

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, closed the door for possible compromise. He could have used his near-limitless powers to intervene in the election dispute. But, in a message on state TV on Saturday, he urged the nation to unite behind Ahmadinejad, calling the result a "divine assessment."

The U.S. has refused to accept Ahmadinejad's claim of a landslide re-election victory said it was looking into allegations of election fraud. There are no independent election monitors in Iran.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday she hoped the outcome reflects the "genuine will and desire" of Iranian voters.

The European Union also said it was "concerned about alleged irregularities" during Friday's vote.

In Beirut, Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group — which is aided by Iran — congratulated Ahmadinejad and said the vote was conducted in an atmosphere of "freedom."