Chess is king for girls at Saint Mark’s School
Jennifer Upshaw
Article Launched: 02/02/2008 11:36:01 PM PST

For 6-year-old Julia Schulman, it was a comeback year.

“Last year I got fifth place,” said the Saint Mark’s School first-grader, one of 72 players at the CalChess Girls’ Chess Championship, who placed fourth in her age group at the tournament Saturday hosted by the San Rafael school.

“I’m really excited, yeah, because there’s lots of people and I haven’t played chess with timers,” she said of her lack of experience against the clock. “I thought I’d get lower but actually I got higher.”

The second annual event, spearheaded by the school’s chess coach, Ray Orwig, is a rare tournament exclusively for girls. Students from across the Bay Area participate.

Open to girls from kindergarten through 12th grade, the tournament is a qualifying event for high schoolers for a national contest and, for the younger kids, “just another opportunity to play,” said Orwig, who handed out trophies Saturday. Play continues Sunday for middle and high school competitors.

“It’s just a great opportunity to promote the game for girls,” said Orwig, who estimated that about half of the school’s students play chess.
“I always joke that in order to graduate you have to know how to play chess,” he said.

Here is the full story.

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