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All Girls State Chess Championship to premiere in Madison

MADISON – Madison City Chess League has announced that the first ever All Girls State Chess Championship for Alabama Chess Federation will be held in Madison.

Bob Jones High School will host the event on April 28.

Bob Jones hosted the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship in spring 2017, so the location is familiar for many chess players throughout the state. “This is an historic event as Alabama has never conducted an All Girls Chess Championship,” MCCL Executive Director Ranae Bartlett said.

According to the U.S. Chess Federation, only 12 percent of competitive chess players in the country are female. The major drop-off occurs in middle school. “It’s imperative that those organizing chess programs and tournaments not ignore this disparity, but do something about it,” Bartlett said.

For its efforts, MCCL is seeing dividends. Girls account for 50 percent of Discovery Middle School Chess Team’s membership.

Girls starting to play competitive chess may find an all-girls tournament a more welcoming environment and realize numerous other girls like the game, Bartlett said.

Bob Jones Principal Sylvia Lambert supports the chess club’s decision to host the all-girls championship. The club received Alabama Chess Federation’s approval, and members of Bob Jones Chess Club met during winter break to start planning as event sponsors.

Chess Club President Michael Guthrie said members want “to attract more female chess players to competitive chess — some who may not consider competing in the State Scholastic Chess Championship in March. By creating an All-Girls State Championship, we hope more girls will compete in a state-wide event.”

Girls in grades K-12 are encouraged to register online for the inaugural championship, which will offer both team and individual awards to school teams. Visit madisonchess.com/events/279/all-girls-state-chess-championship-428.

One exciting aspect of hosting is that the champion in K-12 will represent Alabama in the National Girls Tournament of Champions.

In addition, Bob Jones Chess Club is accepting proposals for logo designs to promote the tournament’s spirit and celebration of girls playing chess in Alabama. Deadline is Jan. 31. Email a jpeg image to mccl.director@gmail.com.

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