Sometimes people think that boys are stronger than girls but the Her Move Next tournament helps girls think that they should always fight for the same things that boys get, because everyone is equal.- Tatum, age 7.5
One of the most memorable examples of the supportive environment at the Her Move Next Series was at the second tournament, while I was the tournament director. There were about ten minutes remaining of the first round and there were several girls who were not playing with clocks. The tournament staff placed a clock with the time control of five minutes at each remaining board. However, as I got to the last board one of the girls started crying as I soon as I placed the clock. This was her first tournament and she had never played with a clock. Before I could comfort her and explain to her the purpose of the clock, her opponent began to console her. Within seconds the girl was smiling and they were playing their game again. The magic words that her opponent said were “don’t worry about the clock. You are a good player and the clock is not going to change that. Just keep playing the same way you are now. And after this game we can practice together with a clock so you get used to it. Okay?” The girl who was afraid of the clock won that round, but the result did not affect their newly formed friendship. After the round I saw them eating pizza and playing together, and they both told me that this was the first time they met each other. The friendships that are formed at Her Move Next events are incredibly valuable because each girl shares the desire to improve her own chess ability while supporting all girls striving to do the same.
The Her Move Next tournament, which started as a short film, creates an environment that motivates girls to play chess by exposing them to high school mentors and coaches. Each girl is placed on a color-coded team with about eleven other girls and a coach. The coaches analyze their respective students’ games, offer comfort to girls who had played hard rounds, and share some of their chess experiences with their students. The girls relied on their coaches for a few words of encouragement before each round. The setup of the tournament fosters team spirit among the girls and the girls can often be seen watching their teammates’ games.
Although it is an incredibly friendly and welcoming environment, the girls are still competitive with one another. They each fight for the win not only for themselves but also for their team. Since each girls’ chess ability is not being predetermined by their gender, they are more confident in themselves. This enables girls to play their best and learn from their games.
The community formed through Her Move Chess tournaments and the support the coaches offered the girls will have a lasting effect on them. Through this tournament, the girls gained confidence in their chess skills, made friends, and saw the importance of creating a community of girls who were passionate about chess. The Her Move Next Chess tournament has taught the girls the power of a ‘Queen’ in a game dominated by ‘Kings’.
Her Move Next MSA reports