Medina Parrilla, 12, definitely got game!!

At the 2003 Foxwoods tournament, Ervin "Maliq" Matthew gleefully talked about the students in the Chess-in-Schools program where he teaches. However, there was one  player he seemed to give the highest praise… Medina Parrilla.  According to a recent article, Medina is the program's top-rated player (1744 USCF) and is one of the top girls on the U.S. under-13 rating list. As a result, she will travel to Halkidiki, Greece along with Alisa Melekhina to represent the U.S. in the World Youth Chess Tournament, her first international tournament.

Medina Parrilla. Photo by Robert Mecea.

"I want to be the first female
African-American Grand Master."

~Medina Parrilla~

Medina Parrilla
(photo by Robert Mecea)

Earlier this year after the 2003 World Open, Maliq told The Chess Drum's Daaim Shabazz,

"We have a real prize here, because she is a promising Black player who is also a promising female player, and her self-motivation is incredible. She is the former captain of a National Championship team from the Bronx and led a team to another National Championship this past year in Junior High School. Her leadership qualities are as revered as her playing ability, and she is only gaining prominence in both areas."

Medina has two older brothers Rondell (16) and Rayshawn (14) who have given up their attempts to beat their younger sister. Apparently her ambition goes far beyond household bragging rights. "I want to be the first female African-American" Grand Master," she is quoted as saying in the New York Newsday article. Her mother Luz Parrilla, is perhaps her biggest fan and role model, but in terms of chess, GM Judit Polgar is her most admired figure.

She gets inspiration from a number of players including
Fritz Gaspard, one of Medina's coaches. "I think what stands out with Medina is the work ethic," Gaspard states. Medina also has the support of WIM Jennifer Shahade, a top U.S. woman's player and coach at Chess-in-Schools program. With all this support it's no wonder that great things are expected from this budding star. Since the rise of England's Sabrina Chevannes, she is the perhaps the brightest of  young Black females to step into the international spotlight. In terms of U.S. players, Baraka Shabazz (under-16) and Bernadette Reddick (under-14) both represented the U.S. in the very early 80s.

Posted by The Chess Drum: 14 October 2003