I have just finished shopping online for the items to go into the gift bags for the top female finisher in each of the Open and Reserve Sections at the upcoming Hales Corners Chess Challenge XIX on April 12th. I LUV shopping online - so easy!
Received in my in-box this morning an announcement from the 9Queens organization, based in Tucson, Arizona, founded by Jean Hoffman and Jennifer Shahade. Jean is currently the Executive Director of the U.S. Chess Federation and continues her close association with 9Queens, while co-founder Jennifer Shahade, a two-time women's U.S. Chess Champion, continues to make special chess appearances and delights us all with her savvy and salient commentary at various U.S. chess events, often paired with GM Ben Feingold and GM Maurice Ashley, in addition to her work for the U.S. Chess Federation -- see her latest there, by the way:
|Jennifer on Ted X, Toys and Chess Networks|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
| March 2, 2014 |
...and she plays high stakes poker, too. Oh, did I mention she has also written a couple of best-selling chess books? And is on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chess Museum and Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Missouri, which is located across the street from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. It's a beautiful area and the museum, it's fabulous! Go visit -- but not in August -- too damn hot and humid.
Back to that email announcement from 9Queens! Here are some of the particulars, and it looks like it is stacking up to be the biggest and bestest yet:
On April 26, 2014 from 12-3 pm, Hotel Congress will play host to 9 Queens 7th Annual Chess Fest, a community wide celebration, with special guest 19 year old Rochelle Ballantyne. Featured in the inspirational documentary Brooklyn Castle, Rochelle sits on the verge of history as she becomes the first African-American female chess Master.
"Rochelle is the perfect embodiment of what the 9 Queens Player of the Year Award is about. She represents an individual with incredible passion for the game and someone who has shared her talents with youth in her community. She serves as a fantastic role model for how hard work and dedication pay off, and can ultimately lead someone to achieving their dreams.
- Amanda Mateer Women's Fide Master and recipient of the 2013 9 Queens Player of the Year Award
Goddesschess fans, if you have not yet seen the remarkable documentary Brooklyn Castle, which has aired on PBS, please find it and watch it. I cannot say enough about the people behind the making of this documentary and the dedicated people who work with the young people at IS 318 in Brooklyn, day in and day out. It is one of the most incredibly successful chess programs in the United States and PROVES that just because a child comes from a disadvantaged background doesn't mean that child is stupid or lazy and cannot excel. I am a big Rochelle Ballantyne fan. Ms. Ballantyne, now 19 (I believe) currently attends Stanford University. Dedicated, resourceful, talented, powerfully driven -- all of these things are Rochelle Ballantyne:
The 9Queens 7th Annual Chess Fest is doing a fundraiser right now. 9Queens' goal is to raise $5,000 toward the costs of holding the 9Queens 7th Annual Chess Fest in Tucson by April 19, 2014. So far, $2,066 has been raised, so they're nearly half way to their goal! I hope you will consider making a donation to 9Queens for this event. Any donation, no matter how small you may think it, add up to making this Festival possible for the women and kids of Tucson. For U.S. citizens, donating to this U.S. approved charitable/educational institution, your contribution is tax-deductible if you itemize your deductions on Schedule A.