Play like a Girl – new book by Jen Shahade

by ChessBase
2/18/2011 – She has a knack for catchy titles: after her first book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport, two-time US Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade has written a prequel which is a showcase of puzzles by top women players in history. Jen cleverly reverses the insulting connotation of the title phrase. She has also provided us with a stylish video trailer.

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New book: Play like a Girl: Tactics by 9 Queens

Two-time U.S. Women's Chess Champion Jennifer Shahade edits a first-of-its-kind book to encourage women and girls to join the male-dominated field of chess.

Chess books have been around for centuries, but until now they have contained predominantly chess strategies and tactics by male players. Play Like a Girl! Tactics by 9 Queens is the first book of its kind, a showcase of puzzles by top women players in history. The book is published by Mongoose Press and edited by two-time U.S. Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade.

In her new book, Shahade reverses the insulting connotation of the title phrase, showing how "to ‘play like a girl’ should really be considered a compliment in light of the aggressive and innovative style of female chess champions."

Featured players in Play Like a Girl! include 16-year-old World Women's Champion Hou Yifan, the youngest player ever to claim the world championship title; and Judit Polgar, the strongest woman chess player in history, who at the age of 15 broke Bobby Fischer's record when she became the youngest grandmaster of all time. There is also a special focus on American players including reigning U.S. Women's Champion Irina Krush and Barnard College freshman Abby Marshall, the first female to win the Denker Tournament of High School Champions.

Jennifer Shahade with Abby Marshall – the two appear in the video below

Despite these fantastic role models, chess is still severely male-dominated. Less than ten percent of tournament players, both internationally and nationally, are female. In the United States this is beginning to change, especially at the scholastic level. Play Like a Girl! was written with the goal of encouraging even more girls and women to learn and excel at chess.

Shahade is the co-founder of 9 Queens with Jean Hoffman, a non-profit organization that aims to bring chess to those most in need of its benefits, especially girls and at-risk youth. All author royalties for Play Like a Girl! will go back to 9 Queens initiatives.

Shahade, the author of Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport (Siles Press, 2005), considers Play Like a Girl! to be a prequel to that book, her first. Jennifer, who lives in Philadelphia, is also the editor of the official website of the U.S. Chess Federation, and has a personal website.

Lipstick Checkmate: The Play Like a Girl trailer

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