Unknown Girl Chessplayer Unmasked

After the 2000 World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, I devised an online "Beauty Contest for Girl Grandmasters", based primarily on photographs I had taken during the Olympiad.

I came up with seventeen entries for my contest. However, I did not like the prime number of 17. I wanted another entry to make it an even 18.

I had taken several hundred photographs during the event, so I had a lot of material to work with. Finally, I selected one photo to add. However, I did not know the name of the person in the picture.

I wrote letters to several of the players and arbiters in the event. Nobody could identify her.

Maria Carolina Blanco
Acevedo of Venezuela
Unknown Girl Chessplayer
Maria Carolina Blanco AcevedoUnknown Girl Chessplayer
Maria Carolina Blanco Acevedo
Unknown Girl Chessplayer

I had a lot of information about her. I knew that she had played second board for her country in round nine of the Olympiad and had played the black pieces sitting on the right side of table. I was thereby able to narrow it down to nine possible girls; because the rest of them I knew. Still, I could not identify my contestant.

Finally, feeling that I had no choice, I went ahead with my beauty contest. Since I did not know her name, I called her "the Unknown Girl Chess Player". The contest is posted on my website at online http://www.samsloan.com/fidegirl.htm.

As my miserable luck would have it, the Unknown Girl Chessplayer ran away with the beauty contest. It never occurred to me that this might happen. All I wanted was an even number of contestants.

The easy winner of my beauty contest was Dana Reizniece of Latvia. Of course, I did not even have to run a contest to know that she would win, for obvious reasons. The problem was that the Unknown Girl Chessplayer finished second by a wide margin. Nobody else even came close.

I had a second-place winner but nobody to whom to award a prize.

Fortunately, one year later, Dana Reizniece herself wrote me and identified the Unknown Girl Chessplayer. I will admit that by then I had a good idea of whom she must be, but I could not be sure.

I posted her name on my website and, last week, she wrote me, somebody having informed her of the contest. I could not have notified her earlier because I did not know her name, much less her e-mail address.

So, We have a winner: The Unknown Girl Chessplayer is Maria Carolina Blanco Acevedo of Venezuela.

According to the FIDE website, she is a Woman's International Master of Chess. She is rated 2172. She was born on 2 February 1980, which makes her 21 now and 19 when I took the picture of her.

Here is her photo. I wrote her and asked her why she was smiling in the picture I took of her. Here is what she wrote back about herself:

"I send you my picture again.

"I don't know to whom I was smiling in the picture that you are showing on web site, but to me isn't a problem because I always be smiling so much :) I like the good humor. Istambul was my third Olympiad, after Moscow 1994 and Elista 1998 and I was playing chess since 7 years old and actually I have 21 years old and I am Woman international master since 2000 and my rating is 2185. I can see that my title doesn't be at the fide list maybe for slow manage as many titles here with my federation.

"I love chess but this year I'll graduate as a dentist and I'm thinking to do my specialization in Brazil next year. However I'll try to keep my studies with the chess as always although day by day is more difficult for the patients.


"Maria Carolina Blanco"

Here are links:
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Contact address - please send e-mail to the following address: Sloan@ishipress.com