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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

15-year-old African-American girl wins US chess championship, earns $40,000 scholarship to university

15-year-old Jessica Hyatt who achieved victory as a chess champion in the United States has been awarded a 40,000 dollars worth of scholarship to the university.

Jessica Hyatt is a Brooklyn teen who attends Success Academy, a high school that offers a chess program in the United States. She was recently honored as one of the top Black female chess players in the United States.

Jessica was awarded the Daniel Feinberg Success in Chess Award which came with a 40,000 dollars college scholarship to any school of choice. She recently took the top place in the New York State Scholastic Championship High School U1800 Division. 

She said she has a genuine love for chess and plays the game whenever she can or is given a chance to.“I play whenever I get the chance, like in my free time, like during my classes, like sometimes during classes,” Jessica said in an interview with CBS New York.

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Jessica mentioned that she spends five to seven hours on average every day practicing chess as she hopes to become the first African-American female chess master. According to Chess.com, for a woman to become a grandmaster they need a rating of 2,300 and right now, Jessica rates at 1,950.

Tyrell Harriott and David Mbonu who are both national chess masters and the coaches responsible for training Jessica mentioned that she had a natural talent right from the beginning when she achieved such a high rating at an early age.

“The first thing she did right around when class was over is she walked up to me, and she was like, ‘Can I play you?’ and I remember, I was like, ‘oh,” David Mbonu said.

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“There has never been a Black woman player to break the master ranking and that’s what Jessica is going for,” he added. Tyrell Harriott said he started coaching Jessica five years ago and he is amazed at her abilities.

“I learned the game when I was 15, so for Jessica to be at 1,950, that’s a huge edge,” Tyrell said.

Along with becoming a chess master, Jessica said she would like to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She also plans on teaching chess to children in her community.

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