LOS FRESNOS — Izabel Vasquez wore a quiet smile as she waited for the next round of chess.

Yet behind those calm and confident eyes burned a single but powerful flame of defiance and victory. The Sam Houston Elementary fifth grader had won the first round in the 2017 TCA Region VIII Chess Championships.

“I was just making sure my opponent couldn’t attack my king,” said Izabel, 10, who is ranked in the top 100 chess players in the United States for girls her age.

Izabel was one of more than 1,400 students from 82 local schools who are participating in the two-day event at Los Fresnos United Ninth Grade Campus.

The event is being presented by the Rancho Verde Elementary Chess Booster Club. Chess players who perform well may qualify for the state competition.

“Like all events it was a little hectic in the beginning,” said Claudia Loera, president of the Chess Booster Club.

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