Local chess champ triumps over adversities
Saturday, June 18, 2011
WEST PHILADELPHIA – June 17, 2011 (WPVI) — It is a story of triumph over adversity. A Philadelphia teenage girl has overcome several big obstacles in her young life, and finds herself about to play in a chess championship.
But it is how she got there that makes her story so interesting. The chess term is called “End Game”.
17 year old Vanita Young of West Philadelphia is seen as a rising star in the world of Chess after she beat out 600 girls at the Pennsylvania State Scholastic Chess Championships last March.
But her path to victory has also been filled with much sadness.
“My dad passed away when I was 13, he had diabetes, and I was abandoned by my mom when I was two,” said Vanita.
While trying to deal with her sorrow and turmoil at a young age, a man attempted to assault her one day while walking home to her grandparent’s house. Vanita managed to get away.
The bright spot in her life came when she was in 6th grade, and a middle school teacher saw her sitting outside alone and invited her to learn the game of chess.
“She brought me in there and taught me how to move the pieces and from that day on, I went to every practice,” Vanita said.
She became so good at chess, the Walter Palmer Charter School junior has been invited to the Susan Polgar Girl’s Invitational in Lubbock, Texas in July to compete for $120,000 in scholarships and prizes.
“It was exciting, I was like speechless. I went up there for my award; I was so red I couldn’t even talk,” said Vanita.
But there was only one hitch, Vanita needed $2,000 to attend; money that she and her retired grandparents did not have.
“It was sad, but I couldn’t do much at that point, since I didn’t have enough money for it,” Vanita said.
Congressman Bob Brady came to the rescue after reading about Vanita’s story Friday morning.
“We contacted one of my guys, Kenny Smuckler, contacted the charter school people that we know, Students First, and we told them to read the story. And they told us that they would help us raise the money to send this young lady to Lubbock, Texas,” said Congressman Bob Brady.
“I was so excited, I was running through the living room,” said Vanita. “It makes me feel that there are good people out there and that people care and want to see my dreams come true and that made me happy on the inside.”
Vanita has seen a lot of adversity in her young life, but she continues to push for her goals. And with the help and generousity of Congressman Brady and the community, she is being blessed by the kindness of others.