Girls Club: From Schaumburg to Nashville, with Cheers for Yu

The Girls Club Room has become a fixture at our National Scholastic Championships. Girls come to the room to socialize, analyze and relax between games, as Maureen Grimaud explained in Sports Illustrated. I got a chance to visit the High School National Championships edition in Schaumburg, Illinois, which featured a spirited town hall, a visit from GM Jeffery Xiong and tandem simuls with myself and WIM Carolina Blanco.

Stephanie Pitcher, who was recently elected to the Utah House of Representatives, called in to talk to parents, coaches and kids about how chess accentuated her life through high school and college. She also explained how she strategically plans every new piece of legislation like a chess master, including a new bill that prohibits the shackling of pregnant women.

Our town hall was led by Executive Director Carol Meyer and Women's committee chair Maureen Grimaud, as we started Sunday morning with a roundtable on how to recruit and retain more girls in chess. The Philadelphia Chess Society had a strong presence in the girls' room, and one member, Kayla of the Minor Threats chess team won almost every prize available in the room, including our brand new US Chess Women chess boards, now available on US Chess Sales.  

I hosted a series of tandem simuls with WIM Carolina Blanco, a longtime supporter of our Girls Club rooms. While playing, we projected the games of the top female seed of the event, Jennifer Yu. When Jen won the following game in round four, everyone in the room cheered.

[pgn] [Event "2019 High School K-12 National Champions"] [Site "Schaumburg, Illinois, United S"] [Date "2019.03.16"] [White "Yu, Jennifer"] [Black "Raparthi, Ankit"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A21"] [PlyCount "57"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. Nd5 Bc5 4. Nf3 c6 5. Nc3 d6 6. e3 Qe7 7. d4 Bb4 8. a3 Bxc3+ 9. bxc3 Nd7 10. Be2 e4 11. Nd2 f5 12. O-O Ngf6 13. Qc2 O-O 14. a4 b6 15. a5 bxa5 16. Rxa5 c5 17. Ba3 Bb7 18. Rb1 Rfb8 19. Nb3 Rc8 20. Nxc5 Nxc5 21. dxc5 dxc5 22. Rbb5 Qd7 23. Bxc5 Bc6 24. Rb1 Ne8 25. Rba1 Rc7 26. Qa2 Qc8 27. Bxa7 Qb7 28. Bb6 Qxb6 29. c5+ 1-0 [/pgn]
Yu, who is our new U.S. Women's Champion, was also granted a Scholar-Chessplayer Award for her dual commitment to chess and academics.

We also had some fun with nail polishes and Hershey Kisses, creating a variant somewhere in between blindfold and sighted chess.

The next girls room will be in Texas for the Junior High School Championship, and will feature special guests Dr. Alexey Root and WGM Katerina Nemcova. I will be back for the Girls Club in Nashville, TN, along with Nemcova and Blanco. That schedule will also include tandem simuls, puzzle competitions and a town hall. The finalized program will be posted here and on our Women's and Girls Calendar of Events. Hope to see some of you there! More news on women in chess: An op-ed from Jennifer Shahade and Rex Sinquefield in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch.  Make a donation to our women's and girls programs here.