Stuyvesant Chess Team members freshman Sophie Morris-Suzuki and juniors Charlie Reeder and Shaina Peters attended the All-Girls National Chess Championship from Friday, April 7 to Sunday, April 9. They were among over 400 national competitors at the tournament, which was held in Chicago, Illinois. The competitors came from all across the U.S.
The tournament consisted of six rounds, with each one lasting up to four hours. In the 18-and-under division, Morris-Suzuki won five rounds and only lost one, while Reeder won three, tied two, and lost one.
Stuyvesant ranked first place in the 18-and-under team competition and in the 18-and-under individual category. Morris-Suzuki placed first, Reeder placed sixth, and Peters placed 24th.
All three of the competitors began playing chess before high school. Reeder and Peters learned how to play chess in kindergarten, and continued to play throughout the subsequent years. “The entire game is like a puzzle with millions of different types of combinations and possibilities. It’s very captivating,” Reeder said.
Morris-Suzuki started playing chess the latest, during her sixth grade, and found that she enjoyed the game’s competitiveness. “Besides the competitive aspect of the game, chess is also a huge part of my social life. Chess gave me the opportunity to meet other people who I fit in well with, and I made many friends from chess,” Morris-Suzuki said.
The three competitors feel as though their hard work paid off at the tournament. “I was really proud of myself as I was a bit of an underdog in the section,” Reeder said. “For me, it was a really big deal to do well because I was a lot lower rated than the people I had to play [against].”
Morris-Suzuki’s stellar performance has made her hopeful for the future. “It feels great because I wasn’t expecting to do as well as I did going into the tournament. I guess I kind of just knew what I was doing in my games,” Morris-Suzuki said.
However, they felt that participating in this event was important because of the huge male to female ratio in the chess circuit. “The ratio of boys to girls who play chess is 20 to one,” Reeder said. “This is the first all-girls [national] team that there has ever been at Stuy.”
In previous years, Stuyvesant did not meet the minimum requirement of three girls to create a team that could compete at the All-Girls National Chess Championship.
All three women are looking forward to attending SuperNationals VI, which will be held in Tennessee, from Friday, May 12 to Sunday, May 14. Hosted every four years, SuperNationals, unlike other chess competitions, is a combination of the elementary, middle, and high school national tournaments.
Reeder and Peters hope that this recent accomplishment at the All-Girls National Chess Championships will pave the way for more funding and interest in the girls’ chess team. “I’m really hoping [this causes the] girls’ nationals [team] to get funding next year,” Peters said. “We really only get funding for two events [currently]: the regular and nationals [tournaments]. We haven’t gotten funding for girls nationals, so far.”