Pittsburgh Chess Conference

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Pittsburgh Chess Conference, Hosted by QGCI

changing lives, one move at a time

The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute is thrilled to be hosting the Annual Pittsburgh Chess Conference! Read below to learn about the 1st Pittsburgh Chess Conference and updates on next year’s!


2018 Pittsburgh Chess Conference

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Creating Communities, One Move at a Time 

The two-day event featured an international chess tournament, an all-female chess tournament, and an anniversary to celebrate chess initiatives and improvements in the city of Pittsburgh.

Thank you to County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Councilwoman for District 8 Erika Strassburger, and Community Forge Executive Director Mike Skirpan for speaking at the event! Special appreciation to the William Pitt Union, Schenley Plaza, and the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Hotel for hosting our events.

Thank you to our keynote speaker, the Blindfold King, Timur Gareyev for teaching scholastic chess players in the Pittsburgh region and for participating in the simul hosted by the Pittsburgh Chess Club. Image result for timur gareyev

Congratulations to the following award winners:

1.) Sarina Pretter, 2018 Most Valuable Player

Most Valuable Player of the Year Award recognizes a scholastic chess player in the Pittsburgh region whose dedication and commitment to scholarship to the game stand out amongst their peers. The individual is a part of Queen’s Gambit and is rated under the United States Chess Federation.

“I could not be prouder to announce Sarina Pretter as the 2018 MVP. Sarina, a sixth grader at the Ellis School for girls, is currently rated 963. Sarina is a leader in the chess field for young women interested in the game, and her dedication and scholarship to chess shines through in every tournament and class she participates in. At her age, she has already participated in 22 chess tournaments (both regional and national). That is incredible!”

2.) Erika Strassburger, 2018 Community Player of the Year

Community Player of the Year is given to an outstanding individual who has supported chess initiatives and causes in their area. This individual has greatly impacted the chess community through various incredible support.

“I’m so honored to give this award to Councilwoman Erika Strassburger. I can honestly say none of this would be possible without her unwavering dedication to the game. I first met with Erika in the summer of 2017. The amount of respect and attention she gave to our organization will never be forgotten. Because of her, Chess Week in Pittsburgh became official, we were able to work with various districts to provide chess programming, and I even got the taste of what the day in the life of a councilmember is like by shadowing Erika, and I have to say that she is an outstanding role-model for young women.”

3.) St. Edmund’s Academy, 2018 Community Partner of the Year

Last but certainly not least, the Community Partner of the Year award is giving to an outstanding organization, school or institution dedicated to providing their community with chess programming.

“Before planning this Conference, I knew this institution needed to see how grateful I am for their support over the last seven years. I attended this institution in 7th and 8th grade and was welcomed with open arms as an alumnus who was interested in teaching chess. One chess class with two students expanded to two chess classes with over thirty students. This institution is where I began to develop my chess skills further, and it is where I will forever be grateful for.”