A local youth has reached out to schools in hopes of encouraging new chess players.
Hannah Tori Whatley, a 13-year-old Merriwether Middle School student, recently represented the South Carolina Chess Association at the Susan Polgar National Invitational, a chess tournament for girls held in Lubbock, Texas.
Whatley was provided money for expenses incurred for representing the state and has decided to donate the money to local schools.
It is her desire to increase interest among her peers in the game of chess in hopes of ramping up competition. She has set her goal at donating three chess sets to each of five schools, including Mossy Creek Elementary, Hammond Hills Elementary, North Augusta Elementary, Paul Knox Middle School and North Augusta Middle School, to help start chess programs.
Whatley earned her spot in the national invitational by being the highest-finishing female in the South Carolina Scholastic Chess Championships in March of 2008. In April, she flew to Dallas to participate in the fifth annual All-Girl Nationals, where she played the U.S. Women’s Champion, International Master Irina Krush, in an exhibition match.
In July, she flew to Lubbock, Texas, to face the female state champions from all over the country. Competing against mostly high school aged girls, Whatley scored in three of her six matches to finish 38th in the competition.
Whatley said even for schools not listed, free sets are available for starting chess clubs by visiting the state’s scholastic website at http://scscholasticchess.pbwiki.com/FrontPage. Click on the link located on the right-hand side of the page, “Resources For School and Chess Club Organizers.”