March is Girls Chess Month in North Carolina! On Saturday the 13th, from 1-3pm, we are having our monthly Girls and Women’s Academy—moms welcome and encouraged to join—at Borders Bookstore in South Park Charlotte. $15 or $25 mom/daughter
Then on the 26th as a warm-up for the States we are hosting a Kings and Queens match, where boys are invited to challenge the girls! This is also at Borders from 3:45-5:00 pm. $5
On March 27th is the Annual Girls State Championships, for girls and young ladies up to 19 years old, from anywhere in the state of NC, at host site Myers Park Traditional School, from 9-3pm. There are two sections: Beginners and Championship. The Championship section vies for a $500 Scholarship to the college of her choice!
This is a unique opportunity offered by the North Carolina Chess Association. Prizes for everyone! $20 by March 20/thereafter $30
Despite an incredibly snowy winter, we had a good turnout at the latest Philadelphia 9Queens Academy held on Saturday, February 20th. While Israel Riley, Windsor Jordan and Ben Cooper at ASAP worked with some of the younger girls, the advanced group worked on opening strategies. Alisa Melekhina and Leteef Street specifically showed the girls the Scotch Opening. I facilitated a consultation game in which each side would get two passes to ask me or Alisa for advice on the best move. The ladies only used one pass each but the game was very interesting. Check it out and some key variations below. The next Philadelphia Queens Academy is on March 27. Contact Jenshahade@gmail.com if you’re interesting in joining the fun.
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!
This Girls Academy we discussed the U.S. Women’s Champion Anna Zatonskih and analyzed her 3rd round game against superstar Irina Krush. We learned about pins, discovered attacks, good and bad bishops, and practiced good opening strategy (CDC) and mating attacks.
Then girls each played a game against some one they have never played before, and I was very impressed with how well they were focussing!
They practiced shielding their eyes from distraction like the Champion Anna. See below for some pics of the girls concentrating on their boards.
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 email@example.com. 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
1st place- Himmel Library Chess Club
2nd place- Woods Library Chess Club
3rd place- Tully Elementary School Chess Club