Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Alexandra’s Goodwill Visit with 9 Queens

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All photos courtesy Jeff Smith

On Sunday, December 20, 9 Queens was thrilled to host reigning Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk at our December Queens Academy. Grandmaster Kosteniuk selected 9 Queens as the only chess program in the country to honor as part of her holiday goodwill tour. After  flying to Tucson on an early morning flight from Miami, Ms. Kosteniuk answered questions, signed autographs and gave a free simultaneous chess exhibit for 34 lucky chess enthusiasts. The event attracted close to 200 Tucsonans of all ages to meet the chess champion and celebrate empowerment through chess. The simul lasted 2 and a half hours; although Alexandra didn’t lose a single game, four talented participants were able to draw the World Champion (visit Alexandra’s blog post to see her take on a game with Bryan Hu or Chess Life Online for another game with Ann Price).
Organized in less than week, the event was a huge success thanks to all the tremendous support from local businesses, volunteers and sponsors. First and foremost,we are incredibly grateful to Alexandra, the brainchild of this amazing and innovative charitable act. Given how stressful the holidays are in general, it was inspiring to witness someone dedicate so much of their time towards promoting chess. Special thanks to our sponsors including Alan Anderson of Checkm8Chess and Dr. Norm Saba for generously paying for Alexandra’s airfare, the Arizona Inn for donated her hotel room, Maynard’s Market for the gift basket, Bline Restaurant for the delicious cupcakes, and Cafe A La Cart for the ever popular mushroom pizza. We also want to thank BPM Solutions, Trisa and Andy Schorr, Paul Gold and Sam Ireland for helping underwrite all additional costs.

I also want to personally thank all the 9 Queens board members and volunteers for all the hours spent planning for the event including: Lorelei Francis-Anderson, Leo Martinez, Jeff Smith (our talented 9 Queens photographer responsible for beautiful images from the event), David Correa, Minette Burges, Vicki Lazaro (who designed all of the placards and posters on a short timeline), Ann Price, Sean Higgins, Vaishnav Arudyhula, Amanda Mateer (who came down on her birthday!), Jenelle Wallace, Quinta Peterson, Tom Michaud,  Michelle Hotchkiss, Margo Burwell, James Grip, Eli Alster, Jacqui De Sa, Sam Hoffman, Bitty Rosenberg, Rick Hoffman and Christopher Rosenberg.

Go girls go!

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Who says girls don’t play chess? Tucson chess queens continue to change the face of chess one tournament at a time….

Tucson’s growing population of female chess players continued to defy national trends last weekend at the 9 Queens and Kings Southside Chess Tournament. The percentage of women participating in the tournament was way above average, with women and girls making up 45 percent of the players in the Beginner Section and 17 percent in the Championship section. These numbers are particularly high considering women make up less than ten percent of chess players throughout the world.  What’s more the percentage of girls in the Championship section increased by over fifty percent since our last tournament with twice as many women playing. Overall, the tournament was a huge success, attracting 55 participants to play in our largest library chess tournament to date!

The Southside Chess Tournament is part of a series of 9 Queens tournaments sponsored by the Pima County Public Library. For more information on the tournament series, email Many thanks to everyone who helped out with the event, especially Brooklyn Pizza for donating lunch for all the participants!

Individual Winners in the Beginner Section
1st place- Scott Segal
2nd place- Jennifer Barber
3rd place- Moisey Blitshteyn

Individual Winners in the Championship Section
1st place- Carlos Boteo Trujillo
2nd place- Warren Williamson
3rd place- Bryan Hu

Team prizes
1st place- Himmel Library Chess Club
2nd place- Woods Library Chess Club
3rd place- Tully Elementary School Chess Club

Photos from All Queens Chess Day

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Check out Jeff Smith’s gorgeous photo collection from All Queens Chess Day on October 18, 2009 at Bookmans on Speedway. You can see more of Jeff’s photos at his website Many thanks to Jeff for taking these photos and to Bookmans for sponsoring the event!

Pizza, chess and books on November 21

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Woohoo! Many thanks to Brooklyn Pizza for generously donating lunch for all participants for the 9 Queens and Kings Southside Library Chess Championship on November 21 at Valencia Library. As if you needed another reason to play in the tournament, now all participants can enjoy free Brooklyn Pizza for lunch.

Chess, crowns and cupcakes for the Queens

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Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Last Sunday, October 28th, Bookmans sponsored the first annual All Queens Chess Day. Held at the Bookmans on Speedway, the event consisted of two parts: a free chess tournament for women and girls, and a chess/arts and crafts workshop for everyone. Some of Tucson’s most prominent female leaders including Vice Mayor Romero, City Council Member Karin Uhlich, City Council Member Nina Trasoff, and First Lady of Tucson Beth Walkup all participated in the festivities.

All Queens Chess Day wasn’t your typical chess event; it was a celebration!  For over a year now, 9 Queens has partnered with Bookmans to host monthly free chess workshops for women and girls. We were thrilled to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our Tucson Queens Initiative with hundreds of Tucsonans. While over 20 women played in the tournament, more than 70 people learned how to play chess in our beginner workshops. Throughout the day everyone had the chance to enjoy refreshments including fruit, veggies, cake and cupcakes thanks to the generosity of Vice Mayor Regina Romero and 9 Queens Board Member Quinta Peterson.

One of my favorite parts of the event was the chess and arts and crafts workshop held in the Bookmans children’s area. Each workshop participant was given a “chess passport” with seven different stations to visit. Six of the stations were hosted by members of the Catalina Foothills team who taught participants how each of the pieces moved. However my favorite station was hosted by the Bookmans’ staff members who helped everyone make their own king or queen crown!

Many thanks to everyone who helped out including Tamara Jones, Jeff Smith, Robby Adamson, Leo Martinez, Amanda Mateer, Vice Mayor Romero, Beth Walkup, Nina Trasoff, Karin Uhlich, Quinta Peterson, Demion Clinco, Paul Gold, Eric Rice, Michelle Hotchkiss, and especially  to Bookmans for helping us change the face of chess in Tucson.

More highlights and photos to come!

All Queens on the news

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Much more to come about All Queens Chess Day but in case you missed it, check out this clip from Fox 11 News and this clip from KOLD News 13.

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


Varga Luna

(playing for 4 years)

“I became interested in chess when I was about four. I like chess bc you get to have fun and learn some things. You get to be more patient. You get to focus and concentrate. ”