As the momentum for our US Chess Women’s movement continues to grow, a video by film-maker Jenny Schweitzer Bell premiered today in the New Yorker. Jenny was introduced to US Chess Women at the Girls’ Club at the K-12 Championships in Orlando, Florida, where she came up with the idea for this video. The piece was filmed at the 2018 KCF All Girls Nationals, presented by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and Renaissance Knights Chess.
Organizations like the U.S. Chess Federation are working to bring more girls to the game, but, of course, sexist attitudes aren’t unique to the world of scholastic chess—the girls are dealing with a snapshot of gender stereotyping that still pervades society. pic.twitter.com/ss71nt2kUD
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) August 8, 2018
Schweitzer’s accompanying essay in The New Yorker delved into her own personal experiences in chess, and some lessons from the video.
Even at their young ages, the female chess players in my video are keenly aware of being stereotyped. And their ability to articulate their frustration is startling. When I asked them what a chess player most needs, they didn’t talk about strategic thinking or rules of the game; they mentioned determination and the ability to face a challenge without being intimidated. At their all-girl tournament, they don’t worry about whispers or disrespect—they focus on the game they love to play. Organizations like the U.S. Chess Federation are working to bring more girls to the game, but, of course, sexist attitudes aren’t unique to the world of scholastic chess—the girls are dealing with a snapshot of gender stereotyping that still pervades society. As one young player put it, “Chess is like life, to me.”
The video was exec produced by Richard Schiffrin and WGM and editor Jennifer Shahade, who is on the US Chess Women’s committee. Richard received a Koltanowski medal this year along with his wife Barbara for their efforts on behalf of US Chess Women and the National Girls Tournament of Champions.