US Chess Queen

There is an article, “The Queen Within Opens in Saint Louis,” by Jennifer Shahade on the USCF website. http://www.uschess.org/content/view/12393/343/
I began the third sentence, “As I wrote in the Beacon…,” and stopped to click on the link in order to read the earlier published article in the St. Louis newspaper. The Beacon article, “On Chess: Hall of Fame exhibit focuses on the power of the queen,” begins, “You may want to try a more subdued red,” the hairstylist told me. “It will work better for the office.” Obviously I never went to that salon again. Luckily I don’t need toned down style to edit articles for uschess.org/clo, arrange wacky photo and video shoots, play poker tournaments, or do commentary for the Sinquefield Cup. To the contrary, fire engine red pops very well on camera. As my brother IM Greg Shahade wrote recently in his blog, the life of a chess player affords an unusual degree of freedom.” https://www.stlbeacon.org/#!/content/33286/on_chess_fashion_101713?coverpage=4159
I focused on the words, “…the life of a chess player…” She is obviously a busy woman judging from the list of things she does, but I see nothing about actually playing the game of chess in the list. I clicked on the “players & ratings” section of the USCF website and typed in her name. Jennifer has played in only one real tournament since 2004! She participated in the St. John’s Masters at the Marshall Chess Club in 2008. The next year her page shows she played in a ten minute tournament that was quick rated and that is all, folks. For all intents and purposes, the lady has retired from playing chess. Yet we learn in the penultimate sentence that, “When I begin my stint as GM-in-residence on Oct. 20, I signed on to also lead “Queen Power” workshops and Thursday night Ladies Chess classes at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.” Jennifer is not a Grandmaster. She is a Life Master with a USCF rating floor of 2200. She is though, according to FIDE, a “Woman Grandmaster.” For a male to earn a GM title his rating must be at least 2500. Why are women different? Helen Milligan of New Zealand, in an email exchange, mentioned she was opposed to separate titles for women.
Getting back to the aforementioned sentence, it continues after, “As I wrote in the Beacon, a major point of the show is to attract more girls to our game, through “Queen Power” initiatives.”
There have been many “initiatives” recently trying to attract more girls, and more boys, for that matter, but what about the segment that has turned its back on chess, the adults? After what has become known as the “Fischer boom” the number of members stabilized at around 70,000, the vast majority of whom were adults. Maybe 6 out of 7 were adults. It is still 6 out of 7, but those comprising the group of 60,000 are CHILDREN! Imagine for a moment if USCF had kept the 60,000 adults while attracting an additional 60,000 children. Now imagine what the number would be today if USCF had been able to add an additional ten percent to each group since the Fischer boom. The number boggles the mind. I am like Robert F. Kennedy who said, “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why..I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” I make absolutely no apology for being the same way. USCF would be a much larger, and stronger, organization if there had only been one driving force with the vision of a RFK in lieu of the visionless leaders with which USCF has been saddled.

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