9 Queens: Empowerment through Chess

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


April Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s on Speedway–Dress for Chess

March 20, 2012

Can you solve the puzzle for April? Black to move and mate in three.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, April 4–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn chess.

Dress for chess minding the rules

Maybe the biggest story coming out of the recent European Women’s Individual Chess Championship in Gaziantep,Turkey–other than winner Valentina Gunina also placing first in the blitz–was the announcement of a new dress code.

Internet alerts for women’s chess were blazing with news of the dress code released by the European Chess Union. The story got much media exposure–Time, New York Times, USA Today and the Tucson Citizen among others.

A photo of 9Queen’s co-founder Jennifer Shahade playing chess with a tattooed male opponent (an homage to artist Marcel Duchamp’s famous game), illustrated a number of the news releases.

The irony of the sexually assertive championship’s masthead–a red lipstick with black rook base–and the concurrent dress restrictions, highlights confusions female players face in a game dominated by men and conservative views of current fashion.

Though guidelines for both sexes are described, the news buzz focused on keeping women’s blouses buttoned up and skirts long. Rules describing clothes “coordinated to the outfit” and “a pulled-together, harmonious, complete look with colors, fabrics, shoes and accessories” makes fashion concerns imperative in an otherwise geeky domain. What to wear supersedes which opening to play.

ChessBase News (making the initial report) presented an interview with the ECU general secretary Sava Stoisavljevic about the new rules. Surprisingly, Stoisavljevic described men’s appearance as being more of a problem than women’s. ChessBase followed up the media flurry by interviewing players about the dress code and photographing tournament attire.

9 Queens 5th Annual Chess Fest set for Saturday, May 5

9 Queen’s 5th annual Chess Fest is just around the corner. This year’s free family chess celebration is featuring former World Women’s Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk. Congratulations go to Grandmaster Kosteniuk for winning silver in the Rapid Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey.

See you May 5 at the Hotel Congress for 9 Queen’s Readymade Chess Fest!


2012 European Individual Women’s Chess Championship

Gaziantep: Gunina overtakes Pähtz, wins European Women’s Blitz–ChessBase News

Interview with Sava Stoisavljevic on the dress code–ChessBase News

Chess and cleavage: dress code story in the media–ChessBase News


March’s puzzle solution:
1.  . . .      Qxf2+
2.  Rxf2   Re1+
3. Rf1      Rxf1#

Categories: Chess Event / Events / Women in chess

5th Annual Chess Fest!!!

March 14, 2012

Join 9 Queens and former Women’s World Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk for the 5th Annual “Chess Fiesta” on Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 2012) from 2-5 pm at the Hotel Congress (311 E Congress St, Tucson, Arizona). This year’s Chess Fest will feature a simultaneous chess exhibition where Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk will play multiple games at a time against Tucsonans interested in challenging the Grandmaster. Grandmaster Kosteniuk will also be the recipient of the 9 Queens Award given to a player who embodies the mission of 9 Queens and our commitment to empowering under-served and under-represented populations.

This year’s “Readymade” Chess Fest will have something for everyone, regardless of age or chess experience. For those more artistically inclined, Chess Fest will pay homage to Marcel Duchamp an artist and avid chess player known for selecting ordinary manufactured objects and using them to create “readymade” pieces of art. Participants can visit the arts and crafts station to create their own “readymade” chess sets and crowns. Other activities include: beginner chess lessons, pick-up chess games, face painting, chess simultaneous exhibits.

Categories: Chess Event / Events / Lead Story / News / Women in chess

March Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s on Speedway–Deviant Chess

February 15, 2012

Can you solve March’s puzzle? Black to move and mate in three moves.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, March 7–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn chess.

Deviant Chess: Fischerandom –Why not shuffle the pieces?

If you are tired of memorizing openings you may want to give Fischerandom a try. You can generate random starting positions by using the Fischerandom chess generator found at chessgames.com.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1996, Bobby Fischer proposed a variant of chess that starts with randomly positioned pieces. Called Fischerandom or Chess960 (because there are 960 initial positions)–the new game would maintain the basic structure of chess but revitalize the game which Fischer thought was dead. Fischerandom would increase creativity and negate chess that used computer databases and memorization of opening lines. Players would be focused more on understanding than playing by rote.

Fischer said: “I love chess, and I didn’t invent Fischerandom chess to destroy chess. I invented Fischerandom chess to keep chess going. Because I consider the old chess is dying, or really it’s dead. A lot of people have come up with other rules of chess-type games, with 10×8 boards, new pieces, and all kinds of things. I’m really not interested in that. I want to keep the old chess flavour. I want to keep the old chess game. But just making a change so the starting positions are mixed, so it’s not degenerated down to memorization and prearrangement like it is today.”

Rules are simple. Listen to Bobby himself briefly state the rules:







February’s puzzle solution:
1. Qxh7+ Ke6
2. Qg6+  Bxg6
3. Rf6#

Categories: Chess Event / Events

Philadelphia 9 Queens Academy features X Chess & Blitz

February 14, 2012

For the last four years, 9 Queens has partnered with Philadelphia non-profit ASAP (After Schools Actvities Partnerships) to host 9 Queens all girls chess academies led by co-founder Jennifer Shahade. The latest edition on February 11th featured a lecture by Jennifer on openings, a blitz tournament and a screening of the second episode of the Extreme “X Chess” Championships. Zayonna Brown won the blitz tournament with a perfect 3-0 score and won the first place medal and a copy of Play Like a Girl!

The Extreme Chess Championships is a made for TV single-elimination knockout that showcases the drama of chess competition and the diversity of its top practitioners. Watch the “Battle of the Sexes” episode below, which features Philly based law student and chess master Alisa Melekhina, who also teaches at 9 Queens academies.

9 Queens is the fiscal sponsor of X Chess.

Categories: Chess Event / Lead Story / video / Women in chess

Third Annual Rodeo Daze Tournament

January 30, 2012

Join us for the Third Annual Rodeo Daze Chess Tournament at Valencia Library on February 24, 2012 at the Valencia Pima County Public Library.

Categories: Uncategorized

February Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s–Women’s World Chess Champions

January 17, 2012

Can you solve the puzzle for February? White to move and mate in three.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, February 1–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn to play chess.

Women’s World Chess Champions represent the world’s largest and fastest developing countries

The New York Times recently reported that if you want to understand the world in 2012, you need to go to China and India. Not only do these countries “account for one-third of humanity and much of the world’s recent growth. They reflect some of our oldest and richest civilizations. . .” and the invention of chess. The area is the birthplace of chess and home of the current finalists of the Women’s World Chess Championship recently concluded in Albania.

Hou Yifan of China

Hou Yifan of China defeated Humpy Koneru of India (5.5 to 2.5), retaining the women’s world title. Hou Yifan, now 18, was the youngest to win the women’s championship (at age 16) and the youngest female player to qualify for the title of Grandmaster. Humpy Koneru holds a 2011 FIDE Elo rating of 2614, placing her as the number two ranked woman player, behind number one, Judit Polgar, who has never played in a Women’s World Championship. She prefers not to compete in women only events.

Humpy Koneru of India

Northwestern India (in the 6th century) is generally attributed with the birthplace of chess, although China is suggested as an alternate point of origin. That these top women chess players come from the world’s largest and fastest developing countries and where the game originated is appropriate for the emerging world order.

You can read about Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru in the 9Queens publication Play Like a Girl, authored by 9Queens co-founder Jennifer Shahade. Proceeds from sale of the book help support 9Queens.


http://www.wwcc2011tirana.com/template.php?pag=1&t Women’s World Championship 2011



http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/travel/where-to-go-to-understand-the-world-in-2012.html China and India travel


http://www.silk-road.com/newsletter/volumeonenumberone/origin.html China as chess origin

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=95916 Hou Yifan chess games

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=49497 Humpy Konero chess games


Solution to January’s puzzle by Vladimir Nabokov from his book, Poems and Problems (1970):

“Key: Q-h5
1 . . .  B-e8    2 QxB mate
The best tries are b5-b6, B-c7, and Kt-e6″

Categories: Uncategorized