Ashley Tapp: better opportunities for all

by ChessBase
7/16/2013 – What do you do if you are a young chess player, a girl, living in Canada, talented enought to qualify for national and international events, but not really able to afford the trips and the training? Be undaunted and start fundraising for the means. That is what 13-year-old Ashley Tapp is doing, successfully enough to extend the fundraising for general causes. An inspiration for all chess kids.

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Ashley Tapp: a dream of better opportunities for all

Ashley Tapp, now thirteen, first began playing chess when she was eight, at a drop in library in her city of Vancouver BC, Canada, where she was born. It was clear from the start that she had the ability to understand the game and desire to take it further. Without many opportunities to play chess in her city she enjoyed games with her mom and dad, until getting a chess coach when she was eleven.

Ashley teacher and mentor, Canadian National Master and FIDE Arbiter Stephen Wright, edits the B.C. Chess Federation's Bulletin and recently wrote about women's chess.

Ashley Tapp became known around Canada and the world after qualifying to participate in the World Youth Chess Championship, Slovenia 2012. She began fundraising to get there, and ChessBase reported on her efforts. Support came in from around the world and Ashley made it to her first World Youth Chess tournament.

Can you spot Ashley in the middle of the tournament hall ...

... or here, with other participans in the World Youth Championship, Slovenia 2012?

Known as the Chess Girl, Ashley has always asked the media to portray a positive image of chess, showing how the game supports academic achievements, how it is a great social activity that girls can play well and have fun, with many valuable life lessons. “I have seen many girls wanting to join me to play chess at my fundraisers’, Ashley said. "This years' experience has taught me to keep on looking for ways to win, and keep on even when it is tough, and if you lose you try again to win”. She has also made it clear that she wants to find more ways for girls to play chess, and wants to find corporate sponsors that can make this happen. With this winning attitude Ashley has something else to share with us all.

Early this year Ashley came first in the U14 Girls in BC and had an opportunity to attend the Canadian Youth Chess Championship in Ottawa this year, from July 10-13, 2013, which was the world youth qualifier. Again costs were a problem, but in a Go-fund-me action she was able to raise $670 (of the required $1,100) from ten doners in two months.

In addition Ashley played chess at $5 a game to raise funds for the Ottawa U14 trip

You can learn more about Ashley's fundraising activities on her web site, including "Chess for a Cause", when she played chess for the charity Because I am a Girl at a Chapters book store in Vancouver, to raise money to help disadvantaged girls around the world.

Here are some charming video impressions of the bookstore event.

After only one year of chess promoting and many hours of working toward her goal Ashley has successfully incorporated the first in Canada BC Girls Chess Foundation. "I want to help other girls like myself, who want to play chess and attend national and international tournaments and can’t afford the expensive fees," she says. Even paying for chess lessons in her city is too expensive, and there are not enough opportunities. Ashley hopes to make this easier for everyone.

This year Ashley also started a company named "Chess Girl Smart Moves". In time when it takes off she hopes that Chess Girl products can support the BC Girls Chess Foundation.

Selling merchandise for stores and events, where others can sell them (no cost up front)

Chess Girl ear huggers are quite unique and selling like crazy to all ages

The Centre for Epilepsy Education is talking about having them in purple for Purple Day.

We wish Ashley Tapp good luck in their future chess promotion, providing chess opportunities to children and adults in Canada and business initiatives that support the community!

Ashley is currently playing at the Canadian Open 2013 in Ottawa,
where she poses with tournament leader Nigel Short

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