Save the date! Chess Week in Pittsburgh!

Hello Chessburgers,

Save the date for the 2nd Annual Chess Week in Pittsburgh hosted by The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute October 1st-8th! We are so excited to host events during chess week for the second year in a row. A special thank you to Chief of Staff Dan Gilman for making chess week possible during his final year on council.

Stay tuned for details on events and how to get involved with #chessweekpgh!



Thank you – Pittsburgh Chess Conference Recap!

2018 Pittsburgh Chess Conference


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 8thgrade 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.”

1st Annual Pittsburgh Chess Conference

Have you ever wanted to meet Garry Kasparov? Yes, the greatest chess player to ever live? Well, now is your chance!

Dear Community,

The 1st Annual Pittsburgh Chess Conference, hosted by The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute, is a milestone for the city of Pittsburgh. There has never been an event of this topic and scale in Pittsburgh to date. With special guests including international grandmasters, government representatives, and city leaders, the Conference chose the theme of Connecting Communities, One Move at a Time to show how chess to building bridges to create an even more inclusive city.

I ask you to consider attending yourself or bringing your child to this event for three main reasons.

1. I founded The Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute, a registered 501 (C) (3) at the age of 14. I’m so thankful the amount of support we have received over the years. As I graduate Ellis and begin my journey as a Freshman at the University of Pittsburgh, I decided to host the Pittsburgh Chess Conference for my senior project and Queen’s Gambit initiatives. For this event to be successful and to represent the hard work of this organization, we want community attendance.

2. If your child plays chess, they should attend this event because it is a collection of all the great chess players in the city. I’m working to ensure every child can attend on Friday, June 1st because this is an educational field trip. I am currently working with Pittsburgh Public Schools and Pittsburgh Private Schools to get permission for students to attend. Thus far, the results have been very positive, and I hope you stand by us to make the event the best it can be.

3. Chess is an educational tool. Students who play chess excel in the fields of math, science, and the humanities. Students who play chess score higher on standardized testing and can use strategy, forward thinking, and other tools to enhance their communication skills. When students play chess, they are working their brains. If your child attends this event, not only would they meet Pittsburgh’s most cherished leaders and grandmasters, but they would interact with other students from various schools and be apart of the movement to further appreciate the game and make it an active sport in the city.

Thank you very much for your dedication to chess, and I hope you consider these points as the event draws near.

Yours in service,

Ashley Lynn Priore
Founder, President, CEO