A team of Black youth won the 13th Annual KCF All-Girls National Chess Championship on April 24.
According to The Detroit News, Jada Hamilton, an eighth-grader from Detroit, competed in the final round of the competition and led her team to victory in the “Under 14” category.
Five students from University Prep Science & Math Elementary and Middle Schools in Michigan competed: Jaidyn Hamilton and twin sister Jada; Lauren Bradford; Sa’Nya Burton; and Gisele Motley. Charisse Wood was also on the team. She is a fifth grader who played at another level.
All six girls are active in the Detroit City Chess Club, which is composed of elementary, middle and high school chess teams, according to the website. To prepare for the tournament, assistant coach Kwabena Shabu said the girls were tutored by a chess master.
“I was pretty amazed,” 13-year-old Jada told the newspaper. “It’s hard to describe how I felt that day because I was really happy.”
The championship – which is open to members of the U.S. Chess Federation – took place at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel April 22 to 24. It was sponsored by Kasparov Chess Foundation, U.S. Chess Federation and Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation. Players need to be made up of teams from the same school, according to the competition website. Event organizers said more than 440 players competed this year.
It wasn’t the first time the chess club has competed in the event, but head coach Kevin Fite said placing first “was a significant win.”
“We’ve won a lot of other national tournaments, but we’ve never won this one. … We were considerably the underdog in that section,” Fite added.
Lauren Bradford, also an eighth-grader, said the game allows for improvement in other areas.
“I have an A in math. It helps with calculation and patience.”
In addition to winning trophies, the event website says top finishers in the under 18, 16 and 14 groups also received designer bags by Hipster For Sister.