MS 104 packed for citywide girls’ chess tournament

Over 400 players were in attendance. (Photo by Maya Rader)

By Maya Rader

On Saturday, March 4, students all over the city from Kindergarten to 12th grade faced off at MS 104 in the All Girls NYC Chess Challenge. The tournament was held in honor of Women’s History Month and run by Chess in the Schools, a nonprofit organization that brings chess to New York City students.

The tournament, held in the school cafeteria, was separated into four rounds spanning most of the morning and afternoon, with a break for lunch.

Nine-year-old Peter Cooper Village resident Abigail Yang won a first place trophy for the Kindergarten-5th grade Championship section. Her school PS33 also won first place in both K-5 championship team NYC All Girls and K-2 championship team trophy. The PS33 Chelsea Prep team started in 2016 with five girls and now has 16.

Peter Cooper Village chess champ Abigail Yang (Photo by Jenny Yang)

Her mother, Jenny, said, “We’re very proud of her. She was diligent and worked hard for the win.” She added that she found herself cheering on Saturday “for many inner city kids who played chess for the first time in a tournament. I wish I had permission to film their excitement, jumping up and down, for parents and kids.”

Shreya, a seventh grade competitor from MS 104, said she participated in the tournament because, “I wanted to represent my school and I like chess.”

She was the only competitor from MS 104 at the tournament, despite the games being held in her school. She explained that there weren’t many female students in her chess club.

According to Shaun Smith, director of programs at Chess in the Schools, over 400 kids attended the tournament. Smith said it was one of the largest tournaments in the nation. One of the reasons for this may have been because there was no entry free for participants.

Smith said there were students from “all different walks of life, all different backgrounds, from all five boroughs.”

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