9 Queens: Empowerment through Chess

9 Queens is dedicated to empowering individuals and communities through chess by making the game fun, exciting, and accessible.

Player Spotlight


Varga Luna

(playing for 4 years)

“I became interested in chess when I was about four. I like chess bc you get to have fun and learn some things. You get to be more patient. You get to focus and concentrate. ”

About Us

About the Founders

Jennifer Shahade

Jennfer Shahade is a Women’s Grandmaster, coach, writer and two-time American Women’s Chess Champion (2002, 2004). In 2005, she published her first book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport.

She is the editor of uschess.org, the United States Chess Federation’s official website. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Games Magazine, New In Chess, and the L.A. Times.

In her coaching career, Jennifer Shahade has made a point of focusing her efforts on girls and inner-city youth. From 1998-2005, she worked with Chess-in-the-Schools, a New York City nonprofit organization that provides chess instruction to inner city youth. From 2003-4, she taught a Girls’ Academy through Chess-in-the-Schools, and started her own Girls’ Academy in New York in 2007. She has given inspirational talks and lessons all over the world, including at the 2003 Los Angeles Girls Scout convention, at the 2007 Adventures of the Mind Conference in Atlanta for exceptional high school students and at an all girls’ school in Soweto, South Africa in 2007.

Jean Hoffman

Jean Hoffman has been playing chess since first grade. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree in teacher education from Harvard University. As a former middle school teacher, tournament director and educational consultant, Jean has worked with students, teachers and administrators to promote and support chess education throughout the country.
Jean has taught thousands of individuals how to play chess and create effective and sustainable chess programming. Prior to founding 9 Queens, Jean worked in New York City for the nonprofit organization Chess-in-the-Schools for three years as a chess instructor, development associate, and teams/tournaments manager. She organized a weekly, scholastic chess tournament series with over 500 participants, and served as the chief tournament director at these events. Jean also served as the general manager for Chesspark and WuChess.com, the world’s first online chess and hip hop community.

Jean is currently the Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation!