US Woman Grand Master, Jennifer Shahade, continues to wow South Africans with her passion for Chess.
Earlier this week, she visited the Letsbogo Girls High School in Soweto to talk to them about chess and promote her book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport and was welcomed with open arms.
“I loved going to Soweto, and wished I had more time to explore there and spend (time) with the girls and at other schools in Soweto. Although they were not chess players, they were really intrigued by my message about how playing chess is important, because it is a passion that can get you ahead in life and give you confidence.
“They asked some of the best questions I’ve ever had… My proudest moment was that, at the beginning of the class about a third of the students said they wanted to learn to play chess, by the end almost all the girls raised their hands when the principal asked how many wanted to learn chess.”
Having tasted success with chess, Jennifer left them with the message that it is important to follow your passion, whether it is chess, writing or anything else, and work hard without worrying about what others think.
“I explained to them that many people can be jealous of success, even friends, so women must just look straight ahead and go for their dreams.”
Jennifer told gsport that she is really enjoying her stay in South Africa, although it is not long enough.
“I went to Sun City, and the game park near there. I got a chance to see Nelson Mandela’s old house, and the Apartheid Museum in Soweto. I also am going to Cape Town for two days at the end of my trip.
“I am impressed beyond my expectations by how beautiful the landscape is, and how friendly the people are. On the other hand, I was a little surprised at how intense the security, is and how spread out Joburg seems to be. I wonder how anyone can get around, if they don’t have a car.”
Jennifer is in South Africa as a special guest at the South African Women’s Open Chess Championship, currently on at Cresta Shopping Centre, until tomorrow afternoon.