9 Queens: Empowerment through Chess

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


Cool Kids Chess Night at Ina Bookmans

April 19, 2012

Magnus Carlsen with Liv Tyler and Garry KasparovIt is a good time to be a chess player. Yesterday the New York Times featured a front page story about IS 318K- a Brooklyn middle school where the cool kids play chess so well that they recently won the High School National Chess Championship (think about it- one journalist compared this feat to a college basketball team defeating a team from the NBA). Next week, chess fans from around the world can watch world chess champion and male supermodel Magnus Carlsen on the Colbert Report.

Clearly, chess isn’t for nerds anymore; it’s for everyone. With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce that 9 Queens and Bookmans are joining forces to offer another monthly Chess Night for all of Tucson’s cool chess players and wannabe chess players. Starting April 19, 2012, this monthly event will be held the 3rd Thursday of every month from 6:30-8:30 pm at the Bookmans on Ina. Come by for a pick up game and fun!

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May Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s on Speedway celebrates May 5 Chess Fest with Alexandra Kosteniuk

April 18, 2012

Can you solve the puzzle for May? The puzzle comes from a winning game by Alexandra Kosteniuk. Black to move and mate in three.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, May 2–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn chess.

Join us for a Tucson afternoon of chess fun May 5 at 9 Queen’s 5th Annual ChessFest featuring former Women’s World Chess Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk.

This year’s Readymade Chess Fest draws inspiration and it’s name from the chess player and artist Marcel Duchamp. Here’s some background on this notorious chess master.

Marcel Duchamp. . .”all chess players are artists”

Marcel Duchamp was an artist who loved to play chess. He was born in France in 1887, became a U.S. citizen in 1955 and died in 1968. Some consider him one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

Many of his artworks were about chess. He believed both chess and art were made by head and by hand. During his career he increasingly became more interested in art that was mostly created by head rather than by hand. He described chess as “kinetic sculpture”–changing, in motion sculpture.

He invented an art form that he called “readymades”. He took everyday objects, such as a snow shovel, a comb, or a bicycle wheel mounted on a wooden stool, and changed them into art just by thinking of them as art and putting them in an art gallery. This was an important step in the history of art–it made art an idea rather than a traditionally artist made object, such as a drawing or a painting. He could be called the father of conceptual art.

He made many chess related art works. He designed rubber stamps to be able to make chess games that he could play through the mail (called correspondence chess). He designed a beautiful wooden chess set and later created a colored chess set. He invented a pocket sized, leather, traveling chess set.

Some of his most famous works included chess as a theme. In a series of earlier paintings–he started out as a traditional artist making paintings and drawings–he used chess players and the chess king and queen as topics. These works were titled, The Chess Players (1911), Portrait of Chess Players (1911), The King and Queen Surrounded by Swift Nudes (1912). These paintings led up to the creation of one of his most famous paintings, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2, which shocked the New York art scene in the 1913 “Armory Show” with its radical expression of motion. Not long after this show he turned to more experimental forms of art than oil painting.

Throughout his life he was an avid chess player. He earned the title of chess master and played in the French Championships and Chess Olympiads from 1928-1933. Duchamp said, “I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art–and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.”

Learn more about Marcel Duchamp:

Tomkins, Calvin: Duchamp: A Biography, Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996

Naumann, Fancis M.; Bailey, Bradley; Shahade, Jennifer: Marcel Duchamp, The Art of Chess, Readymade Press, 2009

See you at Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday May 5, 2-5pm for 9 Queen’s Readymade Chess Fest–the most fun you’ve had at chess all year!

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April Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s on Speedway–Dress for Chess

March 20, 2012

Can you solve the puzzle for April? Black to move and mate in three.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, April 4–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn chess.

Dress for chess minding the rules

Maybe the biggest story coming out of the recent European Women’s Individual Chess Championship in Gaziantep,Turkey–other than winner Valentina Gunina also placing first in the blitz–was the announcement of a new dress code.

Internet alerts for women’s chess were blazing with news of the dress code released by the European Chess Union. The story got much media exposure–Time, New York Times, USA Today and the Tucson Citizen among others.

A photo of 9Queen’s co-founder Jennifer Shahade playing chess with a tattooed male opponent (an homage to artist Marcel Duchamp’s famous game), illustrated a number of the news releases.

The irony of the sexually assertive championship’s masthead–a red lipstick with black rook base–and the concurrent dress restrictions, highlights confusions female players face in a game dominated by men and conservative views of current fashion.

Though guidelines for both sexes are described, the news buzz focused on keeping women’s blouses buttoned up and skirts long. Rules describing clothes “coordinated to the outfit” and “a pulled-together, harmonious, complete look with colors, fabrics, shoes and accessories” makes fashion concerns imperative in an otherwise geeky domain. What to wear supersedes which opening to play.

ChessBase News (making the initial report) presented an interview with the ECU general secretary Sava Stoisavljevic about the new rules. Surprisingly, Stoisavljevic described men’s appearance as being more of a problem than women’s. ChessBase followed up the media flurry by interviewing players about the dress code and photographing tournament attire.

9 Queens 5th Annual Chess Fest set for Saturday, May 5

9 Queen’s 5th annual Chess Fest is just around the corner. This year’s free family chess celebration is featuring former World Women’s Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk. Congratulations go to Grandmaster Kosteniuk for winning silver in the Rapid Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey.

See you May 5 at the Hotel Congress for 9 Queen’s Readymade Chess Fest!


2012 European Individual Women’s Chess Championship

Gaziantep: Gunina overtakes Pähtz, wins European Women’s Blitz–ChessBase News

Interview with Sava Stoisavljevic on the dress code–ChessBase News

Chess and cleavage: dress code story in the media–ChessBase News


March’s puzzle solution:
1.  . . .      Qxf2+
2.  Rxf2   Re1+
3. Rf1      Rxf1#

Categories: Chess Event / Events / Women in chess

5th Annual Chess Fest!!!

March 14, 2012

Join 9 Queens and former Women’s World Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk for the 5th Annual “Chess Fiesta” on Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 2012) from 2-5 pm at the Hotel Congress (311 E Congress St, Tucson, Arizona). This year’s Chess Fest will feature a simultaneous chess exhibition where Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk will play multiple games at a time against Tucsonans interested in challenging the Grandmaster. Grandmaster Kosteniuk will also be the recipient of the 9 Queens Award given to a player who embodies the mission of 9 Queens and our commitment to empowering under-served and under-represented populations.

This year’s “Readymade” Chess Fest will have something for everyone, regardless of age or chess experience. For those more artistically inclined, Chess Fest will pay homage to Marcel Duchamp an artist and avid chess player known for selecting ordinary manufactured objects and using them to create “readymade” pieces of art. Participants can visit the arts and crafts station to create their own “readymade” chess sets and crowns. Other activities include: beginner chess lessons, pick-up chess games, face painting, chess simultaneous exhibits.

Categories: Chess Event / Events / Lead Story / News / Women in chess

March Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s on Speedway–Deviant Chess

February 15, 2012

Can you solve March’s puzzle? Black to move and mate in three moves.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, March 7–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn chess.

Deviant Chess: Fischerandom –Why not shuffle the pieces?

If you are tired of memorizing openings you may want to give Fischerandom a try. You can generate random starting positions by using the Fischerandom chess generator found at chessgames.com.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1996, Bobby Fischer proposed a variant of chess that starts with randomly positioned pieces. Called Fischerandom or Chess960 (because there are 960 initial positions)–the new game would maintain the basic structure of chess but revitalize the game which Fischer thought was dead. Fischerandom would increase creativity and negate chess that used computer databases and memorization of opening lines. Players would be focused more on understanding than playing by rote.

Fischer said: “I love chess, and I didn’t invent Fischerandom chess to destroy chess. I invented Fischerandom chess to keep chess going. Because I consider the old chess is dying, or really it’s dead. A lot of people have come up with other rules of chess-type games, with 10×8 boards, new pieces, and all kinds of things. I’m really not interested in that. I want to keep the old chess flavour. I want to keep the old chess game. But just making a change so the starting positions are mixed, so it’s not degenerated down to memorization and prearrangement like it is today.”

Rules are simple. Listen to Bobby himself briefly state the rules:







February’s puzzle solution:
1. Qxh7+ Ke6
2. Qg6+  Bxg6
3. Rf6#

Categories: Chess Event / Events

Philadelphia 9 Queens Academy features X Chess & Blitz

February 14, 2012

For the last four years, 9 Queens has partnered with Philadelphia non-profit ASAP (After Schools Actvities Partnerships) to host 9 Queens all girls chess academies led by co-founder Jennifer Shahade. The latest edition on February 11th featured a lecture by Jennifer on openings, a blitz tournament and a screening of the second episode of the Extreme “X Chess” Championships. Zayonna Brown won the blitz tournament with a perfect 3-0 score and won the first place medal and a copy of Play Like a Girl!

The Extreme Chess Championships is a made for TV single-elimination knockout that showcases the drama of chess competition and the diversity of its top practitioners. Watch the “Battle of the Sexes” episode below, which features Philly based law student and chess master Alisa Melekhina, who also teaches at 9 Queens academies.

9 Queens is the fiscal sponsor of X Chess.

Categories: Chess Event / Lead Story / video / Women in chess