Rising Chess Stars Series – Claudia Munoz

Rising Chess Star Claudia Munoz

 

 

I just turned 15 years old last month. I learned to play chess when I was 6 years old. When I was 9 years old I represented the United States in my first international tournament in the North American Youth Chess Championship in Mexico where I won the gold medal with an undefeated performance, as well as earning the FIDE title of Woman Candidate Master.

When I was 10 years old I won the “Susan Polgar National Open” in the Elementary category by also going undefeated.

In 2010, I had a 300 point plus rating increase in 90 days thus earning a spot on the American Chess Team that participated in the World Youth Chess Championship in Greece. Also I have played in the Pan American Youth Chess Championships in Argentina 2008, Colombia 2011 and Peru 2012.

Back home I have consistently placed in the top 4 and top 5 of the Texas State Scholastic Chess Championship, in 2010 with a score of 6 of 7.

Currently, I am the second highest rated Hispanic American born girl in the USCF rating lists, also my bilingual website in almost 3 years is a few thousand hits from reaching the 1,000,000 visits.

 

 

 

Ernesto:What Grand Masters have you researched and studied?
Claudia:I have studied numerous Grand Masters, however if you asking me which GM’s have inspired me, these would be my list:
1. Jose Capablanca for his aggressive style of play
2. Bobby Fischer for his chess discipline in each game he played
3. Paul Morphy for his awesome combinational skills.

Ernesto:what mind set do you have when you train for a tournament or a big game?

Claudia:I am the only American born Hispanic girl that is ranked in the upper echelons of the United States Chess Federation. As of
the upcoming rating list in January, I will be the 2nd highest rated American Latino girl. Also, I am a Christian, so for me
chess is a platform to give God all the honor and glory like many other athletes do but also to encourage other Hispanics to
enter competitive chess.

Ernesto:What chess player has given you the best advice on the game?

Claudia:I really do not have a particular person that has given me advice as most chess players usually keep to themselves.

Ernesto:What have you taken from another player that has improved your game?

Claudia:I would say that the style of play of the three chess players that I mentioned earlier has improved my style of play,
Capablanca, Fischer and Morphy.

Ernesto:At what age did you start playing chess?

Claudia:I began playing chess when I was 6 years old.

Ernesto:Who are your biggest supporters?

Claudia:My parents and sister.

Ernesto:Are you a Baby Chess Monster( some one taught chess at a very early age)?

Claudia:I learned how to play chess by watching a MAURICE ASHLEY CD that my dad purchased for him, but shared with me and my sister.
Later he began to coach me and has been my main coach since I was 6 years old.

Ernesto:What would you like to change about the chess world if you feel there should be any changes made?
Claudia:The mentality concerning marketing and public relations in chess. We as a sport, yes, chess is a sport, steers away from
promoting the game like other sports. It does not take much to promote chess. Also there is the belief that in chess what one
needs is a rich person to promote it, with thousands of chess players and a national federation surely we can all come up with
ways to give chess its proper focus. My bilingual chess website averages about 40,000 hits per month and it costs very little to run it per month. We continually promote chess around the world as well as through by 5,000 Facebook followers and close to 1,000 Twitter friends. If a 15 year old teen like me can do it, we can all do it as well.

Ernesto:Is there any thing else that you’d like to share with us?

Claudia:You have a nice website and congratulations for doing your part to make chess more mainstream. I can be reached through my
website claudiamunoz.com. as well as through Facebook and twitter at @chesscampeona

Rising Chess Stars Series – Collin Goldman

Hello,
My name is Collin Goldman and I started playing chess at the age of 6. I
live in Southern Oregon and tied for 2nd place at the Oregon High School
Chess Championships in 2011. Though I haven’t been in tournament play for
almost a year, I plan on getting back into them starting next year! So look
out!

Ernesto:What Grand Masters have you researched and studied?

Collin:I have always enjoyed studying the games of Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov,
and Anatoly Karpov.

Honestly though, I only looked at Fischer and Kasparov because their games
were so inspiring! It was a glimpse at something that I hoped to be one
day. And their tactical skills were beyond my wildest dreams!
However, when I wanted to study a GM in depth, it was Karpov who I turned
to. Time and again he has blown me away with positional and tactical
skills. I am a very positional player myself, so I could readily understand
and relate to at least some of his ideas.

Ernesto:what mind set do you have when you train for a tournament or a big game?

Collin:When I train for a tournament, I put myself in the mindset of a king
preparing his troops for battle. This is probably why I play more
positional rather than tactical because every time I sac a piece, even if I
know it leads to mate, I get a little twinge of guilt. I prefer to grind my
opponents down in a long drawn out battle rather than quickly sac half my
army to get a mate or resignation in under 30 moves.

Ernesto:What chess player has given you the best advice on the game?

Collin:Probably the most influential player in my chess career is IM Josh
Waitzkin. Though he is no longer in competitive play, his chess course in
the Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition, and his books are probably the sole
reason I was able to jump from a 1500 rating strength to around 1700.

Ernesto:What have you taken from another player that has improved your game?

Collin:I have taken from several players two I have already mentioned, Anatoly
Karpov and Josh Waitzkin. Another ‘mentor’ would have to be GM Roman
Dizindi. His books Chess Openings for Black and White are what gave me that
final push to the 1800-1900 rating range. I would recommend those to anyone
looking for a solid opening repertoire. I still rely heavily on those
opening ideas.

Ernesto:At what age did you start playing chess?

Collin:I started playing chess rather young, I think I was about 6 or 7…? My dad
used to play with me giving me both his rooks or his queen. We played most
every night for about 2 years until I purchased the Chessmaster program,
and started attending a local chess club. Then he stopped, rather, suddenly
giving me his queen or rooks. I’m not sure why…. Haha

Ernesto:Who are your biggest supporters?

Collin:My biggest supporters are hard to whittle down. I come from a family of 9
kids, I’m the 2nd oldest with another on the way, and 26 cousins just on my
moms side. As you can guess we are a very very close family, so I can’t
really say who supports me the most because they all do! But as far as
taking me to tournaments, I would have to say my dad, who taught me from
the beginning, and my grandma who takes me to most of the bigger
tournaments when my dad has to work.

Ernesto:Are you a Baby Chess Monster( some one taught chess at a very early age)?

Collin:Not exactly, but I was rather young when I first started playing.

Ernesto:What would you like to change about the chess world if you feel there should be any changes made?

Collin:I haven’t been in the chess community long enough to have much of an
opinion on this subject.

Ernesto:Is there any thing else that you’d like to share with us?

I’d just like to thank Chess Rex for the opportunity to share my
experiences with others. I hope you can learn something form this. I had a
lot of fun writing it
God Bless!