Ladies Knight with Nadya Ortiz [PODCAST]

WGM Nadya Ortiz, wearing black hat and black and white dress

 Jennifer Shahade's October guest for Ladies Knight is Nadya Ortiz, a chess champion who now works as a senior software engineer at Apple. Born in Ibague, Colombia, Nadya talks about growing up in a lower-income family that supported her chess career, which led her career and life to flourish. She speaks about classism, and the power of chess as a vehicle for education and travel.

Nadya is a living example of that dual success: she became the first WGM ever from her country and earned scholarships to the University of Texas at Brownsville and Purdue University, where she studied computer programming.  Nadya travelled to over 30 countries to represent Colombia. Later she got a chess scholarship and studied computer science at University of Texas at Brownsville and Purdue. In an interview with CBS News Nadya said to anchor Dana Jacobson, “I feel I have so much privilege and so I have an obligation to help.” That segment, which also featured Jennifer and US Chess Women, can be viewed in full here.

And Nadya has answered the call to give back. Not only does she have a program to teach kids from her village, she also has done workshops for US Chess Women to talk about some of her favorite games, as well as how chess helped her to get her where she is today.

You can follow Nadya on twitter and watch her on CBS here. For more information on some of the topics they discussed, find info on Estratificación Colombiana, a Ted talk on “The Grandmother Bench”, a team of grandmothers to beat depression, and StrongMinds in Uganda and Zambia.  


Find out about our US Chess Women programs, including a weekly girls club and women’s classes at We appreciate every donation and renewal. Love the podcast? Subscribe to us, review and share Ladies Knight on social media or with friends. 

Huge Congrats to previous Ladies Knight guest, Carissa Yip, our new US Women's Chess Champion! 

WGM Nadya Ortiz with kids from Colombia