CHESS GIRL, Ashley Tapp from Team Canada hopes ‘more girls will play chess’ is at the “World Youth Chess Championships Festival Alain” on 17th December


Dubai: December 5th, 2013 By: Zulfiqar Shah
The Founder of CHESS GIRL Smart moves 13 years old Ashley Tapp from Canada is contesting the World Championships Festival Alain on 17th December, mean while Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Shakhboot Al Nahyan, Chairman of Al Ain Culture and Chess Club (ACCC) has issued resolutions to assign Mohammed Amin bin Abdullah Ahmed Al Zarouni as Executive Director of the Club and to assign Nasser Al-Amri, as Executive Director of the Global Peace Festival and the World Youth Chess Championships. The Global Peace and World Championships Festival are being organised by the club in collaboration with the Emirates University from 17th – 29th December, 2013. Nasser Al-Amri began to review arrangements for the Al Ain World Youth Chess Championships in December, especially now that the World Championships will be held for the first time under the title “Global Peace Festival”.


My name is Ashley Tapp. I’m 13 and I play chess. The first day I played chess was on a small, wooden chessboard. It was beautifully hand-carved and had the sweet smell of cedar; a souvenir my mother picked out from Morocco on one of her many travels. She is from London, England, and my father is from St Catharines, Ontario. I was born in Vancouver in January 2000.
It was after visiting a drop-in chess club in downtown Vancouver when I was 8 that I quickly realized how much I enjoyed playing chess. The game had endless possibilities to find a winning position, and posed challenges unlike any board game I’d encountered before. The games I liked mainly had a strategic element, such as toys you build and take apart, mazes, etc., and chess certainly had plenty of strategy.

I have had a local chess coach for the last two years – Stephen Wright (Canadian National Master and FIDE Arbiter) – and a structured training schedule. I was happy to place 2nd in the U12 Girls at the CYCC in Surrey, BC, which meant that I qualified to play in the World Youth Chess Championship in Slovenia in November 2012.
Although some funds were available for those who placed 1st in their age group, my only option was to fund raise through the summer in order to be able to pay my own way. What followed was a remarkable journey for me, consisting of being invited to events around my city to engage in fundraising. I was supported by international social media, and began to share a very important message that remains a core focus of my journey: “girls play chess and we want more opportunities to compete at the highest level.” 3
Starting out on the qualifying path for a chance to attend the WYCC 2013, I came in 1st place in the U14 Girls at the BCCYC run by Ken Jensen (BC Junior Coordinator), and qualified to play in the CYCC in Ottawa. Once again I faced the hard work of fundraising through the summer so that my mother and I could attend. I had a great time in Ottawa, and my top 4 finish in the U14 Girls won me a place in the Canadian team, which was a dream come true!
Social media has been a wonderful way of sharing my story, and has provided a platform for fundraising. Both faithful followers and occasional visitors to my facebook page have donated to support me, and their moral support has been priceless. The biggest surprise came when, with only one day left for my fundraising page to reach its target, David from the Netherlands stepped in and sponsored the full amount. I also learned that David had helped in a big way for me go to Ottawa. We will always be grateful for his tremendous generosity.

5David had first read about my story in Chessbase News. Here is the chessbase article for the link to go in.

Another great story arose after Alex Robinovich (founder of IChessU, International Chess University) contacted me with an offer to sponsor my online chess training. What an opportunity when Alex introduced me to Tibor Karolyi, in September who has since been coaching me online. preparing me for the WYCC in Al Ain, U.A.E.. Coach Tibor is a Hungarian International Chess Master, arbiter, theoretician and author, and his students have included Peter Leko and Judit Polgar. Karolyi’s many books include Karpov’s Strategic Wins (vols. 1 & 2), and he co-authored with Nick Aplin Endgame Virtuoso Anatoly Karpov, which won the first Guardian Chess Book of the Year (2007). I can’t believe this is happening to me! I’m so thankful to everyone!
On December 9, I’ll fly to Vienna, and then head for Budapest, Hungary where I will meet Coach Karolyi and spend six days preparing for the World Youth Chess Championship, December 17-29, 2013. While visiting the city in which the legendary Polgar sisters were born – Susan, Judit and Sofia – I hope to visit some of the places where they played chess. For sure, Hungary will be a cultural inspiration, with its music, art galleries and chess.
Al Ain UAE is going to further inspire and I’m looking forward to meeting the girls who play chess at the Alain Chess Club. Also learn more about the Global Peace Festival initiative organised by the club.
My ambition is to study chess at a high level, and continue playing nationally and internationally. I’ve been working hard to promote chess education for girls and to increase opportunities for girls to compete, and recently incorporated the BC GIRLS CHESS FOUNDATION. If you support these goals, please let me know if you’d like to sponsor this endeavour, it has many benefits for you.
To further help toward these goals, I founded a company named CHESS GIRL Smart moves which is designed to support charities with their fundraising. It provide charities with a product to sell – now I make a unique “ear hugger” piece of jewelry – and the great news is that The Centre for Epilepsy Seizure and Education – at – is now selling them to support their foundation. Other charities are interested too, and a store in Vancouver called Just Imagine at – – is also going to sell them to support chess education for girls.

Ashley's logo

Ashley’s logo

Some ways chess improves your brain and teaches life lessons:
It helps prevent Alzheimer’s
It exercises both sides of the brain
It increases your creativity
It improves your memory
It increases problem-solving skills
It improves reading skills
It improves concentration
It grows dendrites
It teaches planning and foresight
Chess promotes the types of thinking that can enable girls to excel in science, technology and engineering, so that they can go on to play leading roles in these fields! So come on girls, play chess!
Catch Ashley Tapp (13):

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