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Checkmates Chess Tournament to Challenge 100 Girls Whove Beaten the Odds Just by Playing the Game

June 5, 2008

What: More than 100 Philadelphia elementary, middle and high school girls will compete in a chess tournament — the last in a series of tournaments held this year to increase the number of female chess players.

The Philadelphia Youth Chess Challenge, featuring beginner, intermediate and advanced tournaments, is sponsored by After School Activities Partnerships and Women’s Way, both of Philadelphia, and hosted by Drexel University College of Medicine’s (DUCoM) Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership.

The United States Chess Federation has reported it loses female players at an “alarming rate” after they complete third or fourth grade. Ironically, some histories say chess was invented 4,000 to 5,000 years ago by a woman — the wife of King Ravana of Ceylon. Chess promotes problem-solving, critical-thinking and decision-making skills, according to Chess for Education.

Remarks: • Jennifer Shahade, Philadelphia-born winner of the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in 2002 and 2004 • Dr. Sandra Urdaneta-Hartmann, research assistant professor in Drexel’s Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, who finished fourth in the 1984 Venezuela Chess Championship’s children’s category • Dr. Lynn Yeakel, director of DUCoM’s Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership

Visuals: • Wearing blue “Philly Girls Play Chess” T-shirts, students competing in the chess tournament, with three matches playing simultaneously • Presentation of trophies

When: Thursday, June 5, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Where: Ground floor of Drexel’s Edmund D. Bossone Research Enterprise Center, Market Street between 31st and 32nd streets

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News media contact: Brian Rossiter, Drexel News Bureau 215-895-2705, 267-228-5599 (cell) or brian.rossiter@drexel.edu

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