Archive for the ‘News’ Category

HHCF All Queens Panel

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Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in the Hip Hop Chess Federation All Queens Life Strategies Panel at O’Connell High School in San Francisco. The panel included a dynamic group of women including Stanford Professor and Birth of the Chess Queen author Marilyn Yalom, hip hop duo Conscious Daughters, MC Melina, and DJ Pam the Funktress. What blew me away about this experience was how much the participants had in common, in spite of their diverse backgrounds and experiences. The panel discussion was led by the Hip Hip Chess Federation Director of Communication Meko Snyder. Meko did a fantastic job connecting Dr. Yalom’s insights about the history of the chess queen, with some of the personal experiences of other members of the panel. Stay tuned for photos and videos from this amazing event!

Perez supports 9 Queens

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Many thanks to Perez Hilton, the internet’s most notorious gossip columnist, for featuring 9 Queens as a a worthwhile cause on his blog! Did you know that Perez was on the chess team in high school? Show your support for 9 Queens and chess by adding us as a fan on Facebook today!

9 Queens on Facebook

Charlotte Chess News: In the News

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Tonight at 9 EST a local public school in Charlotte will be broadcast on cable news channel 14 (  I was interviewed and the kids (kindergartners!) were videoed playing and learning chess!  The story is about chess growing nationally, which I think is absolutely true.  And there are more girls playing these days as well.

Girls Academy was a lot of fun, and upon noticing that some of the girls were being reserved and answering questions really quietly, one of the parents suggested we all go outside and yell CHESSSSSSS really really loud.  It was great!  I think it helped the girls loosen up and feel more comfortable in the group.  We studied middle game positions, what to do after the opening, and looked at several tactics involving Forcing Moves (checks, threats and captures).  (The see-saw, Damiano’s mate…)

Also there’s a chess tournament this Saturday at one of the schools I teach at:  Myers Park Traditional Elementary.  A great start for beginners (rookie section) and a challenge for advanced players (championship section).  See below for more details, or email me!

April Queens’ Academy at Bookman’s

Everyone had a great time at the April Queens’ Academy, the first to be held at Bookman’s in Tucson. There were lots of new faces and some familiar ones as well. We were excited to teach several newcomers how the pieces move and some basic rules, and they were playing games by the end of the 2-hour session!

For the advanced group, our focus was on preparing for the state tournament on April 26. I went over one of my games from state several years ago, and we talked about planning ahead and playing strategic chess. The girls did very well when asked to brainstorm about possible plans in the positions I gave them. They were all excited to tell me about all their plans when they played practice games later. Below is a position from one of our most advanced player’s games. She told me that her plan had been to trap black’s king in the center and attack by placing her pieces on strong squares. She has succeeded in doing this, but how should she finish it off?

Hint: Look for a two move checkmate.



A photographer from the Arizona Daily Star also came to the Queens’ Academy to take photos for a great article about 9 Queens and the upcoming Chess Fest!  Check out the article at


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. ”