Esperanza Academy Girls Check Mate the Competition

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On June 7th, the Esperanza Chess Team brought eight girls from the middle school to complete in ASAP’s Philly Girls Play Chess Tournament at Drexel University. For all but two of the students, it was their first ever tournament. Daiana Espindola (7th grade) and Chasity Lugo (6th grade) represented the school’s experienced players in the k-8 rated division. Newcomers Gianaelys Torres (7th), Lilianni Villa (7th), Nataly Torres (7th), Avarielys DeJesus (6th), and Tiana Mason (6th) competed in the k-8 unrated division.

This event hosted over 100 girls from across Philadelphia ranging in age from kindergarten to 12th grade. Three rounds were held to determine the champions. Before the start of the final round, a two time chess world champion Phiona Mutesi, Uganda’s National Junior Chess Champion and the youngest African Chess Champion, shared her story with the students, “I started playing chess when I was five and there were no other girls to play with. I played with my father, my uncles, and other boys. I started this tournament because more girls need to play the sport. Chess is a great game for the STEM fields that more girls need to be in. In this room are future doctors, engineers, and scientists. Here at Drexel, they value the skills that come with learning to play chess.”

Inspired by her words, the Esperanza girls finished strong and their efforts paid off. We took home two individual trophies (Giana Torres and Jennifer Reyes) and the First Place Top Middle School Team trophy!

“As a woman who has played in the male-dominated chess world for decades, I could not be more proud of these girls,” said Gabrielle Moshier, Esperanza Academy Teacher and Chess Team Coach, “It was a tremendous pleasure to spend the day with them exploring Drexel’s campus and playing chess. They are a credit to themselves and the school.”

Check out the awesome coverage from ABC 6!