Chess girls rock – and rook!
Sutton Middle and North Atlanta High schools’ chess teams recently hosted the inaugural session of Chess Girls Rook! Female Empowerment Tournament at Sutton’s sixth-grade campus. The tournament is named after the rook, a chess piece that moves any number of unoccupied squares in a straight line, horizontally or vertically.
Chess expert Bella Belegradek directed the all-girls tournament, which was held Sept. 17, while Disney representatives distributed free passes of the film, “Queen of Katwe,” to players and their families.
“It was a pleasure to see all those girls competing in a traditionally male-dominated game,” Belegradek said. “Chess, like math and science, is a great tool to foster independent thinking and decision making. I hope more girls will join competitive chess and the Georgia Chess Association through this tournament.”
Twenty-one girls across metro Atlanta competed. Sutton seventh grader Maya Dickson played in the top section (U1000) and won the tournament with 3.0 points after four rounds. Sutton seventh grader Nneka Otuonye tied for second place in the next section (U600).
“Sutton Middle School Chess was honored to offer this opportunity,” said Vernetta Head, parent liaison to the school’s chess teams. “With the support of the school and the community, we were able to offer a first-class event. We look forward to doing it again next year.”
Sutton Middle School will host the Georgia Chess Association’s 2016 Georgia K-12 Grade Level Championships on Saturday, Nov. 5, followed by the David J. Winter Invitational Scholastic Tournament in April 2017.