I had no recollection of Emily prior to the SPNI 2009. Although I was not at the SPNI this year, the only girl wonder that impressed me was Annie Wang from the 2008 SPNI. After analyzing the game that Annie Wang and Claudia played, I told my daughter that she was fortunate to have won the game. We both agreed she had a special talent. Therefore, I did not think another girl wonder would come up the pipeline.
Well it happened.
Emily Nguyen shocked everyone by arriving at the SPNI 2009 at seven years of age with an 832 rating and trounce between the 2nd, 3rd and 4th round a 1251, 1501 and a 1659 player with ease (www.susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2009/07/pint-size-warrior.html, )
It was not hard for all of us to realize that Emily, if she continued in chess, would be someone of importance.
It was in this SPNI 2009, that both Claudia and Emily met for the first time.
Claudia in 2008, had qualified by outright winning the Susan Polgar National Open in Brownsville, Texas - undefeated. In 2009, she received a special invitation since she did not play in the SPO's this year.
When I met Emily at the airport in Mazatlan, I felt I was shaking the hand of a one day Grandmaster. I had a fond respect for her and was honored that she was playing in the same team with my daughter.
When Mr. Jorge Vega informed me that the U-8 would be combined, my heart did not drop. I thought to myself that if any girl could beat boys - it was Emily.
I was not disappointed!
Emily won the bronze medal in the girls section without ever playing the gold medal winner from Canada, in a decision we highly critize from the tournament directing crew. I am sure both countries would have enjoyed knowing that both girls had played. However, in Emily's life there will be numerous opportunities to grow and develop into the player she will become.
As for now, we are honored to have met such a wonderful player and I hope that both Claudia and Emily will maintain a friendship for life. After all, we all live a life outside the chessboard.