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. (http://main.uschess.org/content/view/7925/407/,)
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.