Parrilla wins 7th Grade National Title!

Medina Parrilla, having just finished a strong showing in the  under-12 championships in Greece won her first individual National Title at the 2003 National Scholastic K-12 Championships in Rosemont, IL (just outside of Chicago).  Playing in the 7th grade section (both boys and girls), Parrilla outpaced a field of 168 participants from around the United States. Seeded 9th with a rating of 1760, she scored an undefeated 6½-½ with her only draw coming against 2nd place finisher Robert Lau of Hawaii.

Parrilla has received fulsome praise from the New York chess community but after having captained her school MS 118 to a national title last year, she started to capture the attention of the national press. Besides her individual title, MS 118 won another title at this year's team event. Her teammates 
Tanisha Millan (5-2) and  Tolulope Oladele (4½-2½) had a combined score of 16 points, comfortably beating Illinois' Noonan Academy who finished 2nd with 13½.

Medina Parrilla. Photo by Robert Mecea.

Medina Parrilla
(photo by Robert Mecea)

WIM Jennifer Shahade, a coach at the Chess-in-Schools program, is currently working on a book on women's chess and has shared her enthusiasm with Parrilla's "awesome" progress. Perhaps no person is more proud (apart from Medina's family) than Fritz Gaspard, one of Parrilla's coaches.  Maliq Soter, another coach at the Chess-in-Schools program described the joy.

"Young Medina continues to make me and all around her very proud, and her progress is a testament to the hard work that she and her coaches have put in. I just spoke to Fritz Gaspard and he is overwhelmed with joy, yet feeling the humbling calm that comes over a person who has accomplished what they just did."

Certainly this is an unprecedented event in the history of chess accomplishments in the Black community. No other girl has scored such success in national scholastic tournaments. Perhaps Medina's scholastic career will rival that of the well-known Shearwood "Woody" McClelland. Nevertheless, Medina has a bright future and her quest to become the first female African-American Grandmaster is on course… and she will get plenty of help.

Final Standings (Individual and Team)

The Chess Drum, "Medina Parrilla at World Championships in Greece," January 2004.

The Chess Drum, "Girl Power: Ballom and Parrilla on the rise!" 6 November 2003.

The Chess Drum, "Medina Parrilla, 12, definitely got game!!" 14 October 2003.

Congratulations to Medina Parrilla and MS 118!!

Posted by The Chess Drum: 23 December 2003