Her Move Next Debuts Her League During Women's History Month

Her League Next pic

From inspiring panels to empowering messages to celebratory events, International Women’s Day (IWD) is commemorated in countless ways. At Her Move Next (HMN), we celebrate with chess. In honor of IWD 2021, on March 8, HMN held its inaugural Her League event to deliver competitive chess and team-driven camaraderie to girls around the United States. 

The Her League format mirrors that of past HMN Over-The-Board tournaments––with a twist. With both individual and team awards up for grabs, players of all ratings and experience levels contribute to each team’s collective point total by competing in their respective quads. HMN’s coaches engage their teammates through mentorship, game analysis, and messages of encouragement before and after every match. Unlike HMN’s Over-The-Board tournaments, however, Her League is a grand prix-style event: players’ points accumulate throughout future league competitions.  

According to The Conversation, of the world’s more than 1,600 international grandmasters, a mere 37 are women. However, this figure is in no way an indication that women are inferior chess players. Rather, author David Smerdon, who is an international grandmaster, cites stereotypes about women who play chess as a driving factor of the chess gender gap. In a field often dominated by men, HMN looks to celebrate the achievements of scholastic chess players who identify as women. 

“I was really happy [to play in all-girls environment] because I know that usually I don’t play against many girls. I don’t think I’ve ever played against one except for my mom. So, I was really happy, and also, because it was just girls, I really liked it,” Haven DeRosa, a Her League participant, said.  

While this March marks 2021’s Women’s History Month, it also denotes the first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has evoked feelings of isolation and detachment in many students, and in a year as tumultuous as this one, it can be easy to push chess to the sidelines. With many big-name chess tournaments, including the United States’ Girl’s Nationals and Nationals, cancelled this year, there has never been a better time for a community-centered event. 

Though the in-person aspect of pre-pandemic chess is sorely missed, Her League’s online format created numerous opportunities for innovation. Players from six different states were represented at Her League’s inaugural event––a feat that likely would not have been possible in a traditional in-person setting. Additionally, players enjoyed a pre-tournament puzzle warm-up via Zoom’s screen-sharing feature. By the third puzzle, the Zoom screen was dominated by “raise hand” emojis, while solutions flooded the chat. After the closing ceremony, which consisted of awards; congratulatory graphics; and cheers from across the Zoom room, all participants were surprised with a free one-year ChessKid Gold membership.

 Her League was some players’ first tournament since pre-pandemic life, while for others, it was one of many. Some girls, including Haven, made their first venture into competitive chess at Her League. Regardless of experience, Her League offers girls a unique opportunity to exercise their chess skills, play for exciting prizes, and connect with players and coaches alike. This Women’s History Month, HMN hopes to show girls that, with enough practice and devotion, they can excel at any passion. Chess is only the beginning. 

HMN invites you to join us at our next Her League event on April 9, 2021. Entry is free, and all participants will receive HMN’s customary registration gift: a fun-filled night of chess, competition, and community. 

Enjoy playing through a few games below. 

[pgn] [Event "Her League 1"] [Date "2021.03.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Chloe, Stark (ChloeS318)"] [Black "Rose Morden, SALK (RoseMPS33)"] [Result "0-1"] [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 a6 5. Be2 Nc6 6. d3 Qc7 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 b5 9. Qd2 Bb7 10. h3 Bd6 11. Bxf6 Bf4 12. Qd1 gxf6 13. g3 Bd6 14. Bf1 f5 15. Bg2 Rg8 16. exf5 Bxg3 17. Rf1 Bd6 18. Bh1 O-O-O 19. fxe6 Rde8 20. Qd2 Bf4 21. Qd1 Rxe6+ 22. Ne2 Ne5 23. Nxe5 Qxe5 24. Bxb7+ Kxb7 25. f3 Qe3 26. Rf2 Rg1+ 27. Rf1 Bg3# [/pgn]


[Event "Her League 1"] [Date "2021.03.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Chenyu, Zhao (ChenyuZPS59)"] [Black "Jocelyn, Chen (JocelynCSummit)"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Nxd7 5. O-O Ngf6 6. Re1 g6 7. c3 Bg7 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 O-O 10. Nc3 Nb6 11. Bf4 Rc8 12. Qe2 Re8 13. Rad1 Nh5 14. Bc1 Nf6 15. e5 Nfd5 16. e6 f6 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Qe4 Qa5 19. Bd2 Qxa2 20. h4 Qb3 21. h5 g5 22. Qg4 Nb6 23. Bxg5 fxg5 24. Nxg5 Nd5 25. h6 Bxh6 26. Nf7+ Bg7 27. Nh6+ Kh8 28. Nf7+ Kg8 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. Nf7+ Kg8[/pgn]

[pgn][Event "Her League 1"] [Date "2021.03.08"] [Round "1"] [White "Chloe, Stark (ChloeS318)"] [Black "Simone Morden, SALK (SimoneMPS33)"] [Result "1-0"] [FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 a6 5. Bxc6 bxc6 6. d3 d5 7. O-O Nf6 8. Re1 Be7 9. Bg5 O-O 10. Na4 Nd7 11. Bxe7 Qxe7 12. Qd2 Bb7 13. b3 Rfd8 14. Rab1 Nf6 15. Qc3 Nd7 16. h3 h6 17. Kh1 Qf8 18. Kg1 Rac8 19. Kh1 f5 20. Ne5 Nxe5 21. Qxe5 fxe4 22. Qxe6+ Kh8 23. dxe4 Qxf2 24. Rbc1 dxe4 25. Qe7 Rd2 26. Qxe4 c4 27. Rf1 Qg3 28. Nc5 Ba8 29. Rcd1 Rxd1 30. Rxd1 cxb3 31. cxb3 Qg5 32. b4 Rf8 33. Ne6 Qe7 34. Qg4 Re8 35. Nf4 Bb7 36. Ng6+ Kh7 37. Nxe7 Rxe7 38. Qf5+ g6 39. Qf6 Rg7 40. Qe6 h5 41. Rd7 Rxd7 42. Qxd7+ Kh6 43. Qxb7 h4 44. Qxc6 Kh5 45. Qxa6 g5 46. Qe2+ Kg6 47. b5 Kf5 48. b6 Kf4 49. b7 g4 50. Qxg4+ Ke3 51. b8=Q Kd2 52. Qe8 Kd3 53. Qgd7+ Kc2 54. Qec8+ Kb1 55. Qdb7+


Find out more about Her League here and about other women's events on our Event page, including our weekly US Chess girls club (which you can also find on our YouTube Playlist) and Women's adult classes. 

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