Sports Illustrated Features US Chess Women: “It’s a Total Numbers Game.”

Chess: Portrait of Lisa Lane. Cover image. New York, NY 04/00/1961 Credit: John G. Zimmerman

This week, Sports Illustrated featured a long read on women in chess, which centered around a 1961 Sports Illustrated cover of US Women’s Chess Champion Lisa Lane. The article persuasively argued that more money and attention should be paid to women’s chess, quoting numerous female chessplayers, including myself, 2017 US Women’s Champion Sabina Foisor, and our US Chess Women‘s committee chair Maureen Grimuad.

It’s a total and complete numbers game. What the women’s committee is trying to do is to grow the base- Maureen Grimaud

Maureen just got back from Orlando, where US Chess again featured a popular Girls’ Room with events and analysis by Foisor, WIM Carolina Blanco and GM Elshan Moradiabadi.

The new Kindergarten co-champ Katherine Zhuge even stopped by!

Kimberly Doo McVay with Kindergarten co-champ Katherine Zhuge

Sports Illustrated also quoted me on women’s events and the impetus for hosting them.

It’s supply and demand. If girls and women want to play in them, it means they’re having fun and they’re networking with other girls and they’re using their brains in amazing ways that, in this culture, women sometimes aren’t allowed—the chance to just engross themselves in an intellectual activity.

The article came out just after some exciting news from the Saint Louis Chess Club. In February 2019, the club will host the Cairns Cup, named after co-founder Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, (nee Cairns), featuring ten of the top female players in the World.

Read the full Sports Illustrated article online. 

Find out more about our Women’s Initiative, and an index to ourWomen’s and girls related news stories, and make a tax deductible donation to support the Initiative here. 


  1. No matter all the explanation in the world, having separate girls/women chess tournaments sends the message that females can not compete with males in chess.

  2. During his tenure as U S Chess Champion the late Arnold Denker had an endorsement contract with Camels. Would Lisa Lane Hickey have continued her chess career if she had a similar arrangement with Newports?

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