US Chess Women’s Program Grant Recipients Announced

US Chess is delighted to announce the recipients of the US Chess Women’s Program Grant, funded by a generous gift in partnership with the Saint Louis Chess Club. The extremely competitive selection process attracted 40 applicants from across the United States. Ultimately, 11 programs have been granted funds by a committee that included US Chess Women’s Program Director Jennifer Shahade, who said: “I was blown away by the quality of the applications. There are so many incredible organizers and affiliates across the country who are hungry to do more to bring girls and women into the game, and the dollars donated will have a multiplying effect when accounting for the passion and drive behind the projects.” Rex Sinquefield, who founded the Saint Louis Chess Club with Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, told US Chess, “It's great to see the commitment and passion organizers all over the country have for female empowerment through chess. Jeanne and I are proud to be a part of a movement toward a more balanced gender ratio in chess and expect many of the girls who benefit from this grant program to be watching, and one day playing in a top event like the Cairns’ Cup.” Award recipients are listed below. Look for updates as projects kick off on
  • Girls to Grandmasters (G2GM), a New York non-profit founded by Kastern McVay and Nicole Maffeo, will host a series of workshops in Central Park Chess & Checkers House designed to both teach chess skills and intentionally build girls' self-esteem via a confidence coach.
  • Ranae Bartlett, the Executive Director of the Madison City Chess League, will further her efforts to bring more girls into the game in Madison, Alabama, culminating with a trip to the 2020 KCF All-Girls Nationals in Chicago.
  • Elizabeth Shaughnessy, the director of the Berkeley Chess School, received a grant for “Queens Rule!” a pilot program funding afterschool chess clubs for girls in three poorly resourced Title I schools in the Bay Area.
  • Latasha Taste-Walker, the director of Development at Communities in Schools of the Midlands in South Carolina, will use the funds to bring more girls to after-school chess clubs for at-risk-youth.
  • The Chess and Science Festival and All Female tournament, an event that showcases the links between chess and STEM, is organized by three-time US Women’s Champ WGM Anjelina Belakovskaia and will be held in Tucson, Arizona on Nov 24, 2019.
  • The Chess Moms Can Play Chess, Too workshop in Raleigh, North Carolina (October 9th) will coach moms to play competitive chess and will include a US Chess tournament game requirement.
  • The Florida State Chess Championship (date TBD) will host a girls’ and women’s event organized by Krista Alton and Kevin Pryor on behalf of the Florida Chess Association.
  • The Chess-in-the-Schools All-Girls Tournament will host a free girls’ event on March 7, 2020 that has attracted hundreds of girls in previous editions.
  • Jay Stallings of the California Chess Youth League received a grant for a quartet of festive educational events centering on female empowerment and mentorship.
  • Robin Ramson, director of the non-profit “Chess Girls DC” earned a grant that will help girls with limited resources to attend and play in her popular event, the third annual Girls and Women Regional Chess Tournament (October 19, 2019).
  • The Philadelphia Chess Society will organize local Girls Club Rooms similar to our National Event rooms, as well as send a bus full of girls to the 2020 KCF All-Girls nationals, under the banner of the “Philadelphia Girls Chess Society.”

Jay Stallings told CLO, that " This grant will definitely elevate the chess culture for female players in Southern California. We have seen the Sinquefields' affect on top level chess, and on chess in Saint Louis, so this new national initiative seems destined for greatness! Thank you to US Chess and the STL Chess Club for this amazing opportunity!" Students from the Philadelphia Chess Society were prominently featured in the "Girls in Chess" video that premiered in the New Yorker Magazine online platform last year. Gabrielle Moshier, co-founder, told CLO: "Philadelphia Chess Society (PCS) is honored and excited to receive the US Chess Women's grant. Increasing girls’ participation in chess isn’t just about getting girls to play the game, it’s about keeping them playing in an environment that is not currently designed for them. It’s about retaining girls as life long chess players so that as they become women in this world, they will foster a new chess environment, one that is inclusive and representative. This grant will allow PCS to continue and to expand upon the work we do."