Richards High School all-girl chess lineup to tournament

November 16, 2012

Angelica Robinson

Chess is usually thought of as a male-dominated game, but one high school chess team is changing that.

For the first time, Richards High school has an all girls line-up to play in the tournament at West Chicago High School.

Of the 25 players at the south suburban school nearly half are girls. The team’s coach Manuel Montes said it’s rare to see girls participate, especially at the high school level.

“At chess tournaments, for every hundred chess players you are lucky if you can count three female players on your hand,” said Montes.

Montes said he decided to submit the lineup with the encouragement of the team’s top player and president Aminah Garcia. When Garcia joined, she was the only girl on the team.

“This Saturday we are going to have an all eight board lineup team that we are going to try out for the first time,” Garcia explained. “If it turns out well we are going to try and and do it more.”

Montes said Garcia’s leadership played a big role in bringing more girls to the team. Garcia said once she became the President, more girls joined.

“My junior year it was like this big explosion,” Garcia explained. “They heard that a girl was president so I think they felt a little more encouraged to come.”

Kristina Huggins, a member of the team, said Garcia is the reason that she joined the team.

“I thought girls couldn’t join at first,”said Huggins. “I thought it was just a guy’s game.”

Montes said he’s excited that women are in the spotlight for this tournament. He is glad to see the number of girls coming out to break the that myth of chess being a male dominated activity.

As for the tournament, he said he’s got his money on the girls team.

“My favorite part is watching the girls on my team beat up on the boys,” said Montes.