Brianna Conley has come on strongly in the past year winning the Open Section of the Worthington Chess Challenge with a perfect 5-0 score in February besting a field of 150 players. She also won the Unicorn Classic with a 4-0 on April 17th and came in 2nd place to Abby Marshall in the 1st Ohio Girls' Championship. Brianna also played in the 2nd Annual All-Girls National Chess Championships in Chicago and scored 4½-1½ in the 12 and under section.
With such a string of successes, it goes without saying that Brianna is a star to be reckoned with in the future of scholastic chess. Parallel to the recent U.S. Open Championship, Brianna participated in the Polgar Invitational tournament and was one of 48 participants representing states across the U.S. The event was won by fellow Ohioan Abby Marshall, perennial star Alisa Melekhina (Pennsylvania) and top-seed Anya Corke (California) all with 5-1 scores.
Brianna scored a respectable +1 score on 3½-2½ including a last-round win over Stephanie Ballom. Ballom (2-4 score) is the former Texas Girls Champion and standout student at Mansfield High School. In fact, Brianna and Stephanie were two of three girls of African descent participating in the tournament… the third being Massachusetts Girls' Champion, Jessica Wamala who scored 3-3. All three played in the U.S. Open and Jessica led the trio with 5-4, missing qualification for the U.S. Championship by one point, but winning the Class "C" prize.
Brianna played a total of 19 games of chess in an eight-day stretch and it will certainly benefit her development as a player. Glenn Bady of Philadelphia watched Brianna during the tournament and stated that he was impressed with her level of concentration at the board. This is certainly a hallmark of a good player and in due time she may be able to give both Abby Marshall and Medina Parrilla a run for their money!