On the International Day of the Girl, October 11th, 2018, we are thrilled to share with the US Chess community more good news about initiatives to bring more girls and women to our game. Last month, through the short film Girls in Chess, we emphasized our commitment to approach 25% female membership, on the way to our ultimate goal of 50%. Since then, we celebrated the outstanding result of the U.S. team at the recent Women’s Olympiad, where 16-year-old Jennifer Yu earned a bronze medal and her final IM norm. We also just witnessed the incredible feat of Alice Lee (MN) and Rachael Li (TX) both reaching expert at the age of eight within a day of each other. Alice’s feat was just covered on the Minnesota local news channel.
And now, on the Eve of National Chess Day weekend (October 13-14), we celebrate another inspiring film premiere, Her Move Next, a short documentary (run time ~18 minutes) chronicling New York’s PS 33 Chelsea Prep elementary school’s 2016-2017 girls’ chess team. The team’s inaugural 2015-2016 scholastic chess season had surprising success, culminating in a second-place finish in the 2016 KCF All-Girls National Championships. (U8 Section).
In the Spring of 2017, NYC-based filmmaker Ian Phillips documented the rise of the all-girls scholastic chess team. Led by Program Director Russell Makofsky and Head Coach Angel Lopez, the film shows the team build upon the success of its 2016 season to recruit more girls to its already diverse roster, including Chloe, a precocious and insightful 8-year old. The chemistry flourishes for both teammates and parents alike, artfully captured on camera by Ian Phillips. As the team prepares for the 2017 All-Girls National Championships in Chicago, the girls learn how sisterhood translates into wins over the board. Despite the achievements at 2017 City and State Championships, can the team sustain the passion and perseverance to overcome the mounting obstacles along the way to the 2017 All-Girls National Championships?
Winner of the People’s Choice Award in the 2018 London Feminista Film Festival, finalist in the 2018 Long Beach Indie International Film Festival, and selected to the 2018 New York Latino Film Festival presented by HBO, Her Move Next is a smart exposé of an elementary school girls’ chess team leaning in, motivated by friendship and fun. You can find out more at hermovenext.com and watch the movie on YouTube now.
US Chess is building upon the momentum to attract more girls to the game via our US Chess Women initiative, which includes hosting girls’ clubs at mixed-gender tournaments, celebrating female accomplishment in the game in our print and digital publications, and setting up networks for girls and women. We urge members to teach a girl or woman chess on National Chess Day, October 13th, 2018 to help us reach our ultimate goal of parity.
As Chelsea Clinton tweeted, “We must continue to encourage girls of all ages to pursue their passions, including chess.”