Women in Chess Initiative

Women are a growing segment of our US Chess community.

We have made progress in growing the game for girls and women, recently boasting the largest number of female US Chess members ever. In 2019, US Chess Women partnered with the Saint Louis Chess Club, to promote women's chess all over the country through our Women's Grant Program, funded by a generous gift from the STL Chess Club. 

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Samadashvili and Shahade
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At US Chess, we aim to close in on an equal proportion of participation for women and men. Our initiatives include hosting Girls Clubs, the Ruth Haring National Girls Tournament of Champions (Find out about our 2018 RHNGTOC champ here and our 2019 champ here) and supporting other National events, such as the KCF All-Girls Nationals and the US Junior Girls Closed. We are also pushing for more girls and women's events and welcome you to check out our Regional Event bidding guidelines if you or an organizer you know would like to apply. Find a list of upcoming girls and women's events as well as a women's and girls news archive.  

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We also promote female participation at Open events. The award-winning Women's Chess committee hosts Girls' Clubs at Scholastic Championships and other National events, a space where girls of all levels can relax and bond between games and learn from strong female role models, including frequent visitors WIM Carolina Blanco, Sabina Foisor and Katerina Nemcova.

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We urge you to join supporters like Richard and Barbara Schriffin, who donate the top prize at the NGTOC. Richard told US Chess, "We want to continue to encourage more girls and women to enter fields that have traditionally been filled by boys and men--engineering, math, science, technology, to name a few. Chess is a link to those fields because it teaches relational and abstract thinking, along with patience and perseverance." Richard also executive produced the short film by Jenny Schweitzer, featured at the top of this page to highlight some brilliant young voices in the game. The New Yorker premiered the video on August 8, 2018.

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Two-time US Women's Champion Nazi Paikidze is also committed to encouraging women to pick up the game. She told Chess Life Magazine, "I will do everything I can to help get more girls into chess."

 

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Women in US Chess have continued to thrive recently. In 2016, Maggie Feng became the only girl in history to win the National Junior High School Championship, while Sabina Foisor claimed the 2017 US Women's title in one of the most inspiring underdog US Championship stories in history.  

In 2017, Dorsa Derakashani switched federations from Iran to US Chess, and wrote an inspiring New York Times article on the move. "America at its best reflects the values of chess."

In 2018, the momentum continued as Rianne Ke (California) became the first girl to win an Elementary Championship in Nashville, TN. Brooklyn Castle star Rochelle Ballantyne gave an inspiring interview on chess, her career and the importance of representation.

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In 2019, US Chess hired its first Women's Program Director, Jennifer Shahade, a two-time US Women's Champion, author and a lifelong advocate for women in chess. Also in 2019, US Chess published female centered issues of Chess Life Magazine and Chess Life Kids. Chess Life Magazine covered the first Cairns' Cup, the strongest ever elite women's tournament held in US Chess history, while reigning US Women's Champion Jennifer Yu was on the cover of Chess Life Kids.

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We also started a new series of Twitch fundraisers for US Chess Women, which kicked off with a "Femme Batale" that raised over 10K for women in chess, and over 4K for our organization. Since then WFM and popular streamer Alexandra Botez has teamed up with US Chess Women for a successful series of Saturday fundraisers.

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Stay posted on our Women's Initiative on our women's news page, as well as our Event page, which lists upcoming women's and girls tournaments, camps and events. You can also find us on twitter, instagram and subscribe to our award winning podcast, Ladies Knight. 

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Help us build on the momentum and make a donation of any amount to our girl's and women's chess development fund.

 

Please support chess in the United States. Make a tax-deductible donation to the US Chess Federation today. Donate online:

 

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Or send a check to:
US Chess Federation
P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557

US Chess Federation is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Rodrigo Leal
"Learning chess throughout my elementary school years formed the base for my future successes. Fast forward twelve (years) after my very first chess game, and I am now a freshman on a full scholarship at Harvard University."
— Rodrigo Leal, National Chess Champion

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