Sunday, May 10, 2009

Girls square off on chess board

Girls square off on chess board at tournament
By Jessica Goodman
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.

There’s the quiet scrap of pieces against cardboard playing boards, black versus white and the familiar plastic pieces.

Seventeen girls focus in on the moves of their opponent, carefully gauging the distance to the king and checkmate, considering each move before confidently choosing a pawn, rook or knight of their own to move against the others.

This is the fifth year for the Girls Just Want to Play Chess tournament, a girls-only chess tournament organized by Neal Harris, a chess professional and National Life Master in the game. The tournament was held Saturday at Hendersonville Elementary School.

“Either smart kids play chess, or chess makes smart kids,” said Harris.

Harris teaches classes at several local schools. He is one of six people in the North Carolina Chess Hall of Fame, and his patience for the game reflects in his ability to teach the young minds eager to pick up the game. There are several chess clubs at the schools to help support the young players.

“Every kid is looking for their niche,” said Harris.

The girls come from all sorts of backgrounds and have different extracurricular activities. A few play sports like soccer, softball and basketball. There’s a cheerleader. At the moment, their minds are all occupied with a different type of game.

“I think it’s a great way to challenge their minds,” said Vicki Hughes, the mother of Lettie and Mazie, both 9. “Girls got to stick together.”

Here is the full article.
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