Queens Gambit welcomes young players back to the board for Pittsburgh Chess Week tournament | Arts + Entertainment | Pittsburgh

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Photo: Courtesy of Queens Gambit

Young players with Queens Gambit

Chess has recently seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Netflix show The Queen’s Bet, about an orphan who demonstrates a talent for strategic play. Now, a local organization is preparing to invite young players to in-person tournaments again, just in time to capitalize on the streaming service’s unlikely success.

Queens Gambit, a non-profit organization that uses chess to empower youth and families, announced it will host its first speedboat chess tournament in over a year and a half to celebrate Pittsburgh Chess Week. . The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 2 at Winchester Thurston School.

“Over the board” refers to chess played in person on a physical chessboard as opposed to online or correspondence chess, which are also popular among players.

“Queens Gambit is so thrilled to be hosting an in-person chess tournament again,” said Queens Gambit Founder, President and CEO Ashley Lynn Priore.

The event comes just in time for the fifth annual Chess Week, which Queens Gambit launched in partnership with former Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gillman and the support of its former chief of staff and current board member. of District 8, Erika Strassburger.

In 2017, Gillman declared the first week of October Chess Week in Pittsburgh, and in 2018 County Council Member Tom Baker hosted Chess Week October 1–8 in Pittsburgh County. Allegheny.

“The City of Pittsburgh, especially Erika and her team, have always been so supportive of chess and the impact it can have on the community,” Priore says.

Priore says she started Queens Gambit in 2014 during her junior year of high school, after years of playing competitive chess. She says that after growing up in what she calls the ‘male-dominated chess scene’ she originally wanted to start an organization where ‘young women and girls could feel empowered through play’ .

“We think life is a series of decisions, and how you make them decides everything,” Priore says. “Queens Gambit uses education and extracurricular enrichment as a catalyst for change and social force for good in Pittsburgh. Chess teaches critical thinking and strategic skills necessary for all aspects of life. We believe that through chess, anyone can learn the tools to succeed.

While the organization still primarily focuses on girls and young women, Queens Gambit has expanded to include any young person interested in chess, regardless of gender identity, race or economic status.

Priore says Queens Gambit is the only chess organization in the region to offer consistent virtual youth programs since March 2020. However, she says the pandemic has still limited the organization’s access to many young players. .

“It’s also important to note that many young people don’t have access to technology, and if they have access, they use that Wi-Fi and battery life for school,” says Priore. “Now that we are back in person, we can reach students who have not had the opportunity to participate in virtual extracurricular activities.

She adds that she hopes the pandemic has “shed a spotlight on the digital divide and the need for access to technology and digital literacy classes.”

The Winchester Thurston School tournament has sections for ranked and unranked players and includes prizes for those who finish in the top three. Priore says they will also host a team event this year, adding that Marshall Elementary leads with the number of individual participants and will compete against Franklin Elementary, Environmental Charter School and Hampton Middle School for first place.

In addition to the tournament, Queens Gambit will also host two virtual events:
Representation in Chess: Women’s Leadership Panel and Chess in Action: Pittsburgh Leaders Discussion on Strategy, a panel discussion on “the power and role of strategic thinking techniques on important leadership decisions.” Both events will take place on Wednesday, October 6.

Priore says Queens Gambit is “watching closely” the pandemic and hopes to continue offering monthly in-person chess tournaments. The organization is also hosting its Fall 2021 in-person classes, as well as virtual opportunities.


Queens Gambit Chess Week School Tournament. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, October 2. Winchester Thurston School. 555 Morewood Ave, Shadyside. tqgchess.institute

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