9 Queens: Empowerment through Chess

9 Queens is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities through chess by making the game fun, exciting, and accessible.

Player Spotlight


Alexandra Kosteniuk

12th Women’s World Chess Champion

“I make an effort to support organizations like 9 Queens and share their commitment to popularizing chess. Chess Fest will be the second 9 Queens event I have supported and attended. ”

About Us

Board of Directors


Lee LaFrese
Lee LaFrese has been involved in chess for over 40 years as an expert level player, tournament director, organizer and youth instructor. He became involved with 9 Queens because he is supportive of their mission and believe’s that chess can be a very powerful force in a young person’s life. Lee worked at IBM for 32 years where he was a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Systems Technology Division. He is now retired from IBM and working as a Senior Consultant for IntelliMagic, an IBM business partner. Lee is a past president of the Southern Arizona Chess Association and was chief organizer of the 1997 National Elementary Chess Championships held in Tucson which attracted over 1700 players.


Vicki LázaroInterim Treasurer
Vicki Lázaro became one of 9 Queen’s biggest cheerleaders in 2009 when she attended Chess Fest at the Hotel Congress.  Vicki’s initial motivation was to encourage her daughter to play chess by learning how to play together at the free lessons 9 Queens gave at the event.  What ended up happening was Vicki was so impressed with the organization, from the logo to the people involved, that she began volunteering. Today she is the Interim Treasurer and has proudly served as the President of the Board of Directors for 2011-2013 and Interim Executive Director in 2013. Vicki’s background is in executive sales, networking, merchandising and art.  She has a Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and currently creates one-of-a-kind raku fired ceramic sculptures out of the pottery studio at the Tucson Museum of Art. She is a full-time Mom to Max and VargaLuna, both avid chess players and 9 Queens groupies.

Gina Macaluso -Secretary
Gina Macaluso is the Family Literacy Services Manager with the Pima County Public Library. A librarian with the Pima County Public Library for over 24 years, she has held various positions in adult, children’s and young adult services in small, medium and large libraries and was the former manager of the Columbus Branch Library, Golf Links Branch Library and Outreach Services. As member of American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), she served on the Youth Participation Committee, Organization & Bylaws Committee and the Teen Website Advisory Committee.  She is a current member of the Arizona State Library Association’s Membership Committee, Judy Goddard/Libraries, Ltd. Young Adult Author Award Committee, and AzLA Awards Committee. Her passion is helping to make our community a better place and is involved with 9 Queens, MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS, Metropolitan Education Commission, and the Tucson Festival of Books.

Ann Price-Interim President
Ann Price, AIA is a Registered Architect and has been involved in building design and planning work in Tucson since 1993. She has an MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management. Ann has enjoyed the game of chess recreationally since childhood, and began volunteering with 9 Queens after attending one of the library tournaments. Chess with 9 Queens is a great way for youth in our community to develop important business skills, like strategic thinking abilities. Ann is proud to serve as a member of the 9 Queens Board of Directors since 2011.


Yurika IsoeYurika Isoe
Yurika Isoe has been serving on the Board of Directors for 9 Queens since her sophomore year at University High School and now attends the University of Arizona as a Biology Major. She started playing chess in 2nd grade at her elementary school’s chess club and has fallen in love with the game ever since. Participating in interscholastic chess all throughout her education, she wanted to bring the community that has fostered her personal growth to children and teens around Tucson. She has been involved with 9 Queens through teaching in 9 Queens after-school programs, volunteering at Library Chess Tournaments,  running the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library Summer Chess Club and volunteering at other outreach functions.



Kendra Cass

Kendra Cass, Executive Director,  native of the San Francisco Bay area, has been an educator for the past 15 years ranging from K-12 teaching, arts education, social justice and media literacy. She earned her BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in Teaching from New College of California with a focus in Family Literacy and International Teaching Collaboration in El Salvador. Kendra began bringing her own children to 9 Queens Family Nights and soon after became a volunteer and board member. She is a strong supporter of 9 Queens mission of empowerment of our girls through chess  and a believer in the benefits chess offers in the arenas of math and science. Kendra is honored to serve as a member of 9 Queens and remains committed to the vision of accessible education for all!


Ingrid Trebisky


Ingrid Trebisky is an Assistant Manager and Librarian Supervisor at the Woods Memorial Library in Young Adult Services. She has worked at the Pima County Public Library for over 15 years and held positions in adult, children’s and young adult services in small, medium and large libraries. She was involved in setting up the first 9 Queens Chess tournament with Pima County Public Library in the Joel D. Valdez Main Library and facilitated the initial partnership between 9 Queens and Pima County Public Library. She currently is the liaison for Pima County Public Library and 9 Queens Chess Library Tournament Series. Her father taught her how to play chess when she was a little girl and she taught her little sister. They had many games together until one shocking day her sister beat her in a game. As a mom she was a chess coach at her youngest son’s elementary school for several years and enjoyed teaching kids how to play chess and participating in the SACA scholastic chess league. She believes chess is a wonderful intergenerational game that improves reading skills, memory, concentration, problem solving, planning and foresight.


Aiya Cancio is our newest Junior Board Member!






9 Queens National Advisory Council
Lorelei Anderson-Francis
Minnette Burges
Susan Dubow
Pascal Charbonneau
Sean Farrell
Randolph Frazier
Paul Gold
James Grip
Gina Olsen
Moses Perez
Lisette Sacks
Greg Shahade
Sheila Tobias
Jenelle Wallace
Josh Waitzkin

Meredith Kupinsky

Quinta Peterson

Jacquelyn De Sa