"Chess Girls Rock" Combines Competition With Camaraderie in Virginia

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Participants of Chess Girls Rock (all photos courtesy Christina Schweiss)


Playing a chess tournament can be a serious time commitment. In addition to the time it takes to actually play the games, there’s also travel time, analysis time, pool time, and then, of course, rock climbing time.



Well, at least, that was the case for participants of the Hampton Roads Chess Association’s inaugural Chess Girls Rock event held the weekend of June 2 through 4 in Virginia Beach, VA. This weekend was made possible thanks to a grant from US Chess Women and the Saint Louis Chess Club, which allowed Schweiss to keep costs low for attendees.

A full day of chess turned into a weekend of socializing on and off the board. According to organizer and Hampton Roads Co-Founder/Executive Director Christina Schweiss, the point of taking the girls rock climbing was, “to challenge them to overcome their fears and belief that they couldn't do the rock climbing.”



Aimed at providing a safe space to promote girls in chess, the tournament also featured an all-female TD staff. Of course, this didn’t stop a few of the dads from trying to get in on the fun.


chess dads
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"Chess dads" Lee Bennett and Nitin Patil want to rock, too


Nina Herrera and Delilah Emerson-Coyle (pictured below) tied for top honors in the Open section along with Julianna Spruill and Elizabeth Hastings. Herrera won the top prize on tiebreaks, and Devika Padiri won the Novice section.


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Co-champions Nina Herrera (L) and Delilah Emerson-Coyle


Overall, 44 girls participated in the tournament, including the two non-rated sections for beginners. Congratulations to Adithi Deepu for winning the Junior Rookie (Pre-K through fifth grade) section and Ciyan Chan for winning the Senior Rookie (middle and high school) section.

Going forward, Schweiss says the club plans to supplement their weekly “girls’ night” with more regular tournaments and social activities, including quarterly rock climbing.


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Chess poetry, authored by Renee Aumann


Featuring everything from chess poetry to a race where players had to set up pieces using only chopsticks, the event highlighted the ways that a social, creative, and downright silly side of chess could coexist alongside competitive, rated chess in a way that can encourage camaraderie and lasting participation in chess.


coloring contest
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Rec center staff were tasked with judging the traditional coloring contest


USChess rocks,thunders,shouts period.Adore those funky photographs.and...oh mama..check out the atomic auto glow of the rec staff ladies!!!    Jude Acers/New Orleans

I really like that Chess Poem. I didn't know you could change the pawn for another chess piece. Nice going Renee.

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