Ashley Lynn Priore is a rated and awarded chess player under the US Chess Federation. She has played in various chess competitions around the Pittsburgh area and is on lists for the top players in the city and state. Her mission is to seek equality in a male dominated sport and teach chess to the community, so every student has the knowledge and tools to triumph.
Message from Ashley Lynn Priore
Chess has a rich history in the city of Pittsburgh. This year marked the 45th Annual Library Chess Tournament, administered by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This is one of the numerous chess opportunities (spanning from tournaments to classes and clubs to private instructors and coaching) within the city of Pittsburgh. These opportunities take place in schools, colleges, universities or by a person to person basis.
The Pittsburgh Chess Club, Pittsburgh Scholastic Chess League, and Pittsburgh Youth Chess are the three famous chess organizations in the city. The Pittsburgh Chess Club is one of the oldest clubs in America, starting in the early 1900s. Over the years, the club has developed one of the largest chess libraries in the world. Andrew Carnegie’s steelworkers started the club as a fun activity after the long work day. Chess in the Pittsburgh area has grown extensively since its beginnings with Carnegie Steel and the Pittsburgh Chess Club. In January of 2017, Pittsburgh Steeler running back Le’veon Bell visited the Pittsburgh Chess Club, undercover, and demonstrated his level of play. With some continued success, one element has stayed the same, however: Chess is a male-dominated sport with little praise for the few female grandmasters who have climbed bridges to get where they are today. In the US and beyond, chess has different histories, data points, and opportunities, but I want to share Pittsburgh’s chess story, and my goal of a chess city that will spread this game further.
I started playing chess at the age of four. I grew up in a chess dedicated family with three siblings. While our friends played basketball and soccer, we went to chess tournaments on Saturdays from 9-4, welcomed home trophies, and watched our US Chess Federation ratings go up if it was a successful day or go down if failure got the best of us. I learned through observation, long hours of continuous play, and competition. I won, I lost, I stopped playing, and I came back. I studied at the Pittsburgh Chess Club, took classes under Pittsburgh Youth Chess, received a letter from Pittsburgh Scholastic Chess League regarding my newly founded Ellis School Chess Club, and grew up with Andrew Carnegie’s legacy as my parents work at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. This year was my tenth year teaching chess and conducting tournaments at the Main Library in Oakland, but the fifth year as the primary director. Offers to teach chess have spread across the city during my second year of programming including the Carnegie Library, St. Edmund’s Academy, and the Ellis School. Along with success, this is the thirteenth year of facing criticism, opposition, sexism, and laughs because I am a female who plays and teaches chess. A woman who is starting a chess business that centers around spreading and promoting the 21st-century approach to learning chess, its educational benefits, and the spike in female youth playing in the area. I remember being the only female chess player competing in a chess class when I was about six. All the boys made fun of me and asked if I was a cheerleader for my brothers. At the time, I concentrated on winning, but when I saw the same behavior happy to my female chess students, I knew changed needed to occur. I have been developing the Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute for five years in 2018.