Chess Star Introduces Chess Foundation for Girls

Ashley Tapp and Jill DingAshley Tapp strategically plans next move


By: Sucheta Shankar, Staff Writer

13-year-old Ashley Tapp, Canadian chess star, is quickly changing how chess is viewed in Canada. People don’t find many 13-year-olds playing this sport, much less taking it very seriously. However, Tapp just attended her first World Youth Chess Championship 2012 tournament (WYCC12) at Maribor, Slovenia in November. Not only that, she single-handedly fundraised $6,000 by playing chess on the streets of Vancouver.

“It seemed impossible as we needed to raise so much money, more than $6,000, but when people began to invite me to play my chess fundraisers, I just couldn’t stop,” Tapp said. “WYCC12 showed me I can compete at this level and do well. I really surprised myself with my results with five draws and two wins against my competitors who were all FIDE rated and experienced international chess players.”

WYCC12 is merely the tip of the iceberg of her chess-focused ambitions. Along with chess friend, Jill Ding, Tapp is starting a BC Girls Chess Foundation in order to “introduce chess education to more girls” and use it as a platform to “support girl chess players.”

[pullquote]…anything is possible if you are determined to work hard to make your dream come true.[/pullquote]

Tapp’s main goal behind BC Girls Chess Foundation is to encourage more girls to play chess and to be able to “support all children who have the ambition to want to take the sport to a higher level.” Since chess coaching and tournament travels are quite expensive, she hopes her foundation will be able to alleviate these worries for chess hopefuls.

“There are many studies that show how chess supports academics such as strategic and logical thinking, math and the sciences. I think many boys in the past have excelled in these areas over girls but it is different today as girls are also equally able,” said Tapp.

She explains that “from [her] experience most boys tend to take it far too seriously, after all it is a game and learning to lose is as important as winning.” Amidst all her foundation goals, though, lies a simple wish. “The second important reason I want to see more girls play chess is because I would like to make more friends with chess players that are girls,” said Tapp.

There is no question that this story is one to be remembered and she hopes people learn that “anything is possible if you are determined to work hard to make your dream come true.”

If anyone is interested in donating Ashley’s trip costs for chess tournaments, please check out www.ashleychessgirl.com. The current tournament Ashley is looking to fundraise for is Ottawa CYCC World Qualifier on July 10 2013.

Six months after 48 hours of intensive labour, I (@suchetashankar) started to communicate and haven’t stopped since. I enjoy channelling that passion towards writing, whether it’s the creative or journalistic kind. If I’ve got you curious, feel free to check me out at www.suchetashankar.com.

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