Phiona Mutesi To Speak at Philly All-Girls Chess Workshop
November 29, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            

Contact:   Justin Ennis, ASAP Executive Director       
215-545-2727 x15; cell 215-266-5870
jennis@phillyasap.org       

Dyresha Harris, ASAP Chess Coordinator    
215-545-2727 x 18; cell 267-997-0814       
dharris@phillyasap.org

November2012cover.JPGINSPIRATIONAL CHESS QUEEN OF UGANDA TO SPEAK TO ASPIRING PHILLY CHESS-PLAYING GIRLS

On Saturday, December 1, Phiona Mutesi, 3-time Women's Junior Chess Champion of Uganda, will speak to young female chess players about her incredible journey from the slums of Katwe, Uganda, to international chess fame. The event will be held from 10:30am-12:30pm in the Children's Story Room at the Central Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine Street, and will launch the year's first 9Queens Academy, a free girls-only chess academy led by Philly native and 2-time U.S. Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade. On Saturday, Phiona and her Coach Robert Katende will lead a question and answer session and participate in tactical exercises with the 9Queens girls. 9Queens is part of Philly Girls Play Chess, a citywide initiative fostering a community of highly skilled and competitive young female chess players, sponsored by ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships.

Growing up in abject poverty in Katwe, Uganda, Phiona first learned to play through the Sports Outreach Institute, a Christian mission that works to provide relief and religion through sports in the world's most economically depressed regions. Phiona quickly distinguished herself in the male-dominated sport through her aggressive and instinctive style of play. Her burgeoning prowess caught the attention of the Ugandan National team, which she joined as their youngest player at the 39th and 40th World Chess Olympiads. This year, Ms. Phiona became the youngest person to ever win the African Chess Championship. Her remarkable story is captured in a new book by Tim Crothers: "The Queen of Katwe: A Story of Life, Chess, and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of Becoming a Grandmaster."

ASAP is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping kids safe and stimulated after school. ASAP's center piece initiative is the Philadelphia Youth Chess Challenge, a community of more than 3,000 youth chess players playing weekly in 227 chess clubs in schools, libraries and rec centers throughout the city.  Research has shown that chess is an effective academic tool that enhances students' ability to focus and develops strategic thinking and problem-solving skills.

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