What Chess Means To Me
By Katherine Du, Greenwich Academy ’17

I was eight years old and scared out of my wits when I picked up my first chess piece whilst attending primary school in England. At the school chess club, our coach, an intimidating Russian with a long name I could hardly pronounce, would tower over me and snap whenever I forgot how a piece was supposed to move. “Bishop—diagonal!” he puffed, his face etched with a scowl: “Right now!”

As the pieces clicked between my fingers, I asked myself what I was doing in the club at all. I could never have imagined at the time of my first encounter with chess that it would later have as big of an impact as it did on my life. On the contrary, I was absolutely convinced that the world itself was some kind of psychopath toying with me and seeing what would happen if it sat me down at a 64-square checkered board against an intensely passionate chess enthusiast.

I could easily make the boastful claim that it was my childhood tenacity that motivated me to persevere with the game, but in reality the reason was my unashamed determination to prove someone wrong. A couple of weeks after joining the chess club, I noticed a boy in my form had started giving me special attention. At first I thought he had just taken a naïve interest in me, which is the sort of thing you get at primary school. But I realized just how wrong I was when one day I heard him joking to his friends about the girl who was stupid enough to come to the chess club, thinking she might actually stand a chance against the boys.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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