The atmosphere in the boardroom of the Chess Club was inviting and exciting as nearly a dozen women took their seats in front of chess boards, snacks and drinks in hand, waiting for the first of the weekly Ladies’ Knight classes to begin. Taught this week by IM Irene Sukandar, the goal of this new weekly class was apparent from the beginning: to make chess both accessible and approachable for women interested in learning the basics of the game.
Before the class began, some prominent women from the chess community, including Jean Hoffman, USCF Executive Director and co-founder of nonprofit organization 9 Queens, said a few words about how important it is to give women a stronger presence in chess. The Chief Curator of the World Chess Hall of Fame, Shannon Bailey, went over some of the events and exhibits scheduled at the Chess Club and the World Chess Hall of Fame as well.
This week’s lesson started with the essentials, including setting up the pieces and identifying how specific pieces move and capture. Sukandar went through a prepared presentation and answered individual questions, helping all the women to be on the same page by the end of the class. More advanced concepts such as en passant, doubled pawns, and stalemates were also covered in this inaugural class.
At the conclusion of the class, Sukandar answered questions about herself as well as any chess questions not covered already. Not only was the class a success, it was also a friendly and refreshing look at the basics of chess, and a great way to bond with other women over a shared hobby.
Ladies’ Knight classes are every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 pm; women of all ages are welcome. Next week’s instructor will be WGM Katerina Nemcova.