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Friday, June 21, 2024

8-year-old African-American girl emerges winner of US chess competition, sets outstanding record

An exceptional 8-year-old girl named Diamond Shakoor has set an outstanding record by becoming the youngest African-American female to go undefeated in a Chess National competition in the United States.

Diamond, from Columbus, Ohio became the youngest African-American female to go undefeated in the United States Chess Federation competition (USCF) that took place in Florida in 2009.

Diamond’s father, Abdul Shakoor was an AmeriCorps Vista volunteer, who taught chess to 150 children when Diamond approached him with an interest in the sport. She was then taught by her father and she entered her first tournament in April 2008.

In the tournament, she achieved 42nd place out of 97 participants. In her second tournament, the Ohio All Girls Championship, Diamond secured 4th place throughout the state for the K-2nd grade age group.

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Following that, Diamond participated in the Ohio Grade Level State Championships and earned the 2nd place position among 2nd graders in the state. From there she went to the USCF National competition in Florida, where she earned her first national title.

Diamond said she likes playing chess because it is a strategy game, one that you can get better at the more you try and it gives you the chance to travel around the world. “I love to play chess, it’s like life basically. It’s like a battle. Half of it is natural talent, but I’m starting to study now,” she said.

Abdul said he believes that chess helps children perform better academically, increases self-esteem, and improves critical thinking skills. In agreement with this and encouraged by Diamond’s success, Lou Seipel, Director of Supportive Services at CPO, worked with Abdul to get Diamond to Florida for the competition.


Abdul added that Diamond can now consistently beat him.  “When she’s focused, it’s incredibly tough to beat her. I have a feeling she is going to be a female world champion,” he said.

Ever since then, Diamond has earned seven trophies and fifteen medals for her skills in chess. She was also officially recognized by the Columbus City School Board of Education for her outstanding chess skill.


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