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.
In celebration of the 2010 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, the nonprofit organization 9 Queens is partnering with Goddesschess to award $1000 to the winner of the “Fighting Chess” award. Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, reigning Women’s World Chess Champion, will select the prizewinner whose performance in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship exudes determination, confidence and character under pressure. The prize will be announced on July 20th during the tournament awards ceremony at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.
“I’m so glad that 9 Queens and Goddesschess are promoting and celebrating fighting spirit among female chess players, and look forward to enjoying the beautiful and skillful display of chess mastery at the US Women’s Chess Championships,” said Grandmaster Kosteniuk.
Both 9 Queens and Goddesschess are organizations dedicated to encouraging more women and girls to play chess. Since 2007, Goddesschess has been awarding prizes to players in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship. Last year Anna Zatonskih won the Fighting Chess Award for her commitment to keep fighting even after she clinched the tournament with her astounding 8.5/9 score.
“As part of Goddesschess’ commitment to encouraging more girls and women to play chess, we are extremely pleased in 2010 to partner with 9 Queens to sponsor a Fighting Chess Award of $1,000, the largest award yet, in keeping with the prestige of this event,” explained Jan Newton official spokesperson from Goddesschess.
In addition to the Fighting Chess Award, 9 Queens will also award a $400 scholarship to the best performing student under 25 in the tournament. The US Women’s Chess Championship is taking place July 9-19 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. Visit uschesschamps.com for more details, and to listen daily to live commentary by GM Ben Finegold and 9 Queens co-founder Jen Shahade.
Lucky us! 9 Queens was selected as one of three nonprofits to benefit from this year’s Battle of the Ads contest hosted by the American Ad Federation of Tucson. We had the privilege of working with a talented team of designers and writers from Madden Media to create the brand new Chess Fest poster for 2010. The poster was presented at a luncheon on January 19 where Madden was honored with the Bull’s Eye Award for Targeted Marketing.
The poster and accompanying postcard are two of my all-time favorite chess posters. The folks at Madden did an amazing job not only capturing the spirit of Chess Fest, but also coming up with creative, fun, and kid-friendly descriptions of event.
Thank you so much to everyone at Madden for the amazing work and to the American AD Federation for this fantastic opportunity!
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.
The New York Times bestseller by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwideincludes sobering stories about women who are trafficked and abused in the developing world that will humble most readers. But this book equally deals with women who survive and thrive, explaining how the emancipation of women is not only a moral imperative, but also beneficial to local and global economies. One chapter that dealt with redemption on a large scale was “The Axis of Equality”, where the authors explain how China has turned from one of the least gender progressive nations to one of the most equal. To further this point, they invoke some names dear to 9queens: Chess Grandmasters Xie Jun, Zhu Chen, Xu Yuhua and Hou Yifan!
“Chess is one of the most male-dominated pursuits all around the world, and that is also true in China-but women there are catching up more than elsewhere. In 1991, Xie Jun became the first women’s world chess champion from China and since then two other Chinese women–Zhu Chen and Xu Yuhua have succeeded her. Moreover, a girl named Hou Yifan may be the greatest talent ever in women’s chess. At the age of fourteen in 2008, she narrowly lost in the finals for the women’s world Championship (to 9queens’ guest of honor next week, Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk), and she is still improving rapidly. If any female now playing is to wrest the title of world chess champion from men, it is likely to be her.”
It’s wonderful to see mainstream writers recognize chess as a symbol of empowerment for girls. Go Hou!