Varona-Thomas was shoo-in for women’s champion

When the two ears are put side by side [they form] the shape of a heart. Interestingly, the word ear sits right in the middle of the word heart (h-ear-t). The ear is the only way to the heart so if you want someone’s heart, learn to listen to them. If you want God’s heart, learn to listen to Him. – Abraham Hicks

I had presupposed Woman FIDE Master Maria Varona-Thomas’s victory at the 2018 National Women’s Chess Championship. That supposition was based entirely on her past and recent successes when engaging her male counterparts, in addition to the unimpressive collective playing strengths of her vanquished colleagues.

Varona-Thomas was the only woman to qualify for the men’s Championships. Nellisha Johnson, 16, of Christ Church Secondary with origins in Orealla, placed a surprise second. Johnson’s victory over FIDE Candidate Master Sherrifa Alli can be considered a major upset in the Championship. Although Alli does not surpass Varona-Thomas in FIDE Elo rating points, she was still expected to overcome Johnson without a fuss. Surprisingly, she did not, and that result constituted the upset…..