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

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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.

References: Women’s World Championship 2011 China and India travel China as chess origin Hou Yifan chess games 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”

Teacher Training Workshop

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Are you interested in teaching chess? Good news! You don’t need to be Bobby Fischer to be an effective chess teacher or coach. 9 Queens is offering a free training seminar for anyone interested starting a chess club, working as a chess instructor or developing chess teaching skills.

Date: January 28, 2012

Time: 10 am – 2:30 pm (30 minute lunch break)

Place: Tucson Main Library, 101 N. Stone

Topics to be covered include:

  • Planning a lesson
  • Teaching strategies for instructors with limited chess experience
  • How to keep students engaged
  • Teaching the basics of chess
  • Hands on exercises
  • Making chess fun

9 Queens is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to extending the benefits of chess to under-served and under-represented populations.  If you would like to attend this seminar, please send an email to You must pre-register to attend; space is limited.

Wizard Chess this Saturday!

We are so excited about the Harry and the Potters Live event coming up this Saturday. June 11 at the Hotel Congress as part of the 2nd Saturdays in Downtown Tucson. All of our favorite community partners will be there including Bookmans, Mrs Tiggy Winkles and the Pima County Public Library. Be sure to visit us and play some wizard chess with pieces dressed as characters from the movie.

Check out this Battle of the Hogwarts guide to the game courtesy of 9 Queens youth board member Yurika Isoe!

The Order of the Pheonix (White)Harry and the Potters Concert Poster

  • King: Spirit of Dumbledore
  • Queen: Minerva McGonagall
  • Knight 1: Hermione Granger
  • Knight 2: Remus Lupin
  • Bishop 1: Ron Weasley
  • Bishop 2: Nymphadora Tonks
  • Rook 1: Harry Potter
  • Rook 2: Fred Weasley
  • Pawns: House Elves

Death Eaters (Black)

  • King: Voldemort
  • Queen: Bellatrix Lestrange
  • Knight 1: Draco Malfoy
  • Knight 2: Antonin Dolohov
  • Bishop 1: Fenrir Greyback
  • Bishop 2: Walden Macnair
  • Rook 1: Augustus Rookwood
  • Rook 2: Thorfinn Rowle
  • Pawns: Dementor

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. ”