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Girls, Santigold and Chess

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Watch closely in this new video from Santigold for the HBO series GIRLS,  and you can see real girls playing chess on the streets of New York City.  So important to see this type of girl power in action!

2012 National Chess Day

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We had a blast celebrating National Chess Day with Bookmans! National Master Amanda Mateer took on 25 people in the simultaneous exhibition- winning 22 games and drawing 3. We also had free chess lessons, face painting and cupcakes for all the participants. Thanks to Jeff Smith for the beautiful photos!


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Cool Kids Chess Night at Ina Bookmans

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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!

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

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!

Third Annual Rodeo Daze Tournament

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Join us for the Third Annual Rodeo Daze Chess Tournament at Valencia Library on February 24, 2012 at the Valencia Pima County Public Library.

February Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s–Women’s World Chess Champions

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Can you solve the puzzle for February? White 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, February 1–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn to play chess.

Women’s World Chess Champions represent the world’s largest and fastest developing countries

The New York Times recently reported that if you want to understand the world in 2012, you need to go to China and India. Not only do these countries “account for one-third of humanity and much of the world’s recent growth. They reflect some of our oldest and richest civilizations. . .” and the invention of chess. The area is the birthplace of chess and home of the current finalists of the Women’s World Chess Championship recently concluded in Albania.

Hou Yifan of China

Hou Yifan of China defeated Humpy Koneru of India (5.5 to 2.5), retaining the women’s world title. Hou Yifan, now 18, was the youngest to win the women’s championship (at age 16) and the youngest female player to qualify for the title of Grandmaster. Humpy Koneru holds a 2011 FIDE Elo rating of 2614, placing her as the number two ranked woman player, behind number one, Judit Polgar, who has never played in a Women’s World Championship. She prefers not to compete in women only events.

Humpy Koneru of India

Northwestern India (in the 6th century) is generally attributed with the birthplace of chess, although China is suggested as an alternate point of origin. That these top women chess players come from the world’s largest and fastest developing countries and where the game originated is appropriate for the emerging world order.

You can read about Hou Yifan and Humpy Koneru in the 9Queens publication Play Like a Girl, authored by 9Queens co-founder Jennifer Shahade. Proceeds from sale of the book help support 9Queens.

References: Women’s World Championship 2011 China and India travel China as chess origin Hou Yifan chess games Humpy Konero chess games


Solution to January’s puzzle by Vladimir Nabokov from his book, Poems and Problems (1970):

“Key: Q-h5
1 . . .  B-e8    2 QxB mate
The best tries are b5-b6, B-c7, and Kt-e6″

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. ”