By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – More than 100 second through 12th graders competed in a girls-only chess tournament at Drexel University.
“There’s this idea that chess is a male-dominated sport,” says Justin Ennis, who is trying to change that idea.
Ennis is the executive director of the After School Activities Partnership, which sponsors chess teams for some 4,000 Philadelphia students; but only 1,000 of them are girls.
“What we see is that, at the high school level, girls stop playing chess and we want to let the girls in the city know that there is this thriving female chess playing population,” says Ennis.
Indeed, Philadelphia produced one of the top female chess players in the country, Jen Shahade, who was there giving tips to the players.
“I think it’s great for young girls to play chess. It’s really good for their confidence, and they know they can compete on an intellectual level with anyone, any age, any gender,” says Shahade.
The girls were more likely to cite the fun and social opportunities of the game but they seemed to be getting the message.
“I think I’m going to stick with it,” says one participant.
“I think I’m going to stick with it too,” says another.