Veronika Zilajeva wins The Challengers’ July 2016 Open

Oklahoma Achievers

From Staff Reports • Published in the Daily Oklahoman: July 20, 2016 12:00 AM CDT

CHESS – Zilajeva wins The Challengers’ July 2016 Open – becoming the 1st resident female to win an OK USCF rated tournament!

Veronika Zilajeva, 16, a Westmoore High School sophomore, became the first female Oklahoma resident of any age to win a mixed scholastic and adult players U.S. Chess Federation-rated, top open-section chess tournament, according to a news release.

Zilajeva scored 3.5 points out of 4 and won The Challengers July 9 open chess tournament.

“You have to play with your heart, just like any other sport. And lots and lots of practice,” Zilajeva said.

Second place in the open section went to University of Oklahoma student Matt Dalthorp after he played Chickasha’s Logan Zachare in an Armageddon blitz playoff tiebreaker. Both had 3 points at the end of four rounds. Zachare placed third.

Zilajeva tied for first place last year in the girls’ national championship. She achieved her expert level rating of more than 2,000 points by scoring 3.5-point wins in the 2016 Oklahoma Open Championship in Tulsa last month.

Zilajeva said she wants to play basketball in college and hopes to become an engineer or architect.

The next Challengers chess tournament is scheduled for Nov. 19. For more information, contact Tommy W. Hay at 512-4916 or muzicmann@sbcglobal.net.

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