Searching for the future chess queen

6/20/2004 – Last month at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium the National All-Girls Chess Championship took place, with 200 participants aged five to eighteen. The tournament starred former world champion Susan Polgar, who is probably doing more for women's chess than all her predecessors put together. Pictorial report...

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Searching For The Future Chess Queen
At The First Annual All-Girls National Chess Championships

Everyone who participated was a winner at the inaugural National All-Girls Chess Championships, which took place at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, May 15 – 16, 2004. The tournament, established and sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation, featured competition among nearly 200 girls, ages 5 through 18 from public, private and home schools throughout the United States.


The openings ceremony


Michael Khodarkovsky, Vice President of Kasparov Chess Foundation


Round one begins

Although girls from the New York Metro area were considered favorites and did prove their chess prowess across all age groups, other participants from Florida, Texas, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky finished strong. Their success demonstrates the increase in popularity of the sport of chess throughout the United States.


Under 12 individual winner Alisa Melekhina, PA


The representative from Hawaii


First prize winner of the under eight section Anna Matlin, NJ


Former women's world champion Susan Polgar with Julie Flammang


Susan with the Olsen group


Susan Polgar and Michael Khodarkovsky with a girls team


Susan Polgar with the Lane Tech College HS team


Susan giving the girls some pointers


And afterwards a spectacular panorama simultaneous exhibition with Susan Polgar

According to Michael Khodarkovsky, Vice President of Kasparov Chess Foundation, the tournament was a tremendous success and there are already plans underway for next year’s event. “This was a great showing for an inaugural tournament with players representing nearly every corner of the country and as far away as Hawaii,” said Mr. Khodarkovsky.

“It is so important to get young girls involved in the sport of chess. It has shown to improve all aspects of critical thinking, as well as build self-esteem. They will carry the lessons they learn in chess with them in all of their future endeavors,” he added.

The tournament was also sponsored by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chess Wizards, and sanctioned by United States Chess Federation (USCF).


Founded by World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children throughout the United States by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs. The Foundation promotes the study of chess as a cognitive learning tool in curricular classes and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high schools, both in the public and private school sectors. The not-for-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions on a local and national basis. For more information, please visit the KCF web site.


Chess Wizards is a youth chess program in Chicago and its suburbs. We offer fun and intellectually-challenging chess education and tournaments to kids between five and seventeen years old. The sessions are held at participating schools through their enrichment programs as well as at city park districts. . For more information, or to register for the All Girls National Chess Championships, please visit the Chess Wizards web site (with a cool Flash intro).


The Women's Board of the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum

Members of The Women’s Board are civic leaders who endorse the education, research and advocacy missions of the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum. Through the annual Celestial Ball and other events, The Women’s Board will support the Adler’s leading-edge science education and research programs. For more information on the Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, visit the Adler web site.


US Chess Federation

The United States Chess Federation, founded in 1939, serves as the governing body for chess in the United States and is devoted to extending the role of chess in American society. It promotes the study and knowledge of the game of chess, for its own sake as an art and enjoyment, and as a means for the improvement of society. The USCF is a not-for-profit membership organization with more than 90,000 members. For more information, please visit the USCF web site.


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