Chess Champion

27 February 2023

She Plays To Win

After weeks of practice, student Riya travelled to Edinburgh during the half-term break to compete in the ‘She Plays to Win’ International Chess Competition.

The setting was the historic Edinburgh Chess Club, who have recently celebrated their bicentenary. They are one of the oldest chess clubs in the world.

Riya rose to the challenge, competing against 9 other players to win the event with 7.5/9. This is an outstanding achievement.

“I was delighted to take part in the 2nd She Plays To Win (SPTW) International tournament in Edinburgh from 15th-19th February 2023.  The tournament was held at the awe-inspiring Edinburgh Chess Club, which is over 200 years old and is the second oldest chess club in the world (after Zurich).

The event was a combination of two women’s chess tournaments.  The main event was a Woman International Master (WIM) Norm event (a WIM norm event is an event which gives World Female Masters the opportunity to score “norms” on their path to hopefully becoming Women International Masters (WIMs).  This main event was attended by 10 major international women players, including a Grand Master, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant.

I was invited to participate in the second event, a Challengers tournament (the first SPTW international challenger event), where I competed against nine other players from across the UK.  Players from both tournaments played alongside in the same historic room of the Edinburgh Chess Club.  Each tournament involved nine games over 5 days.  Each game would take 3 to 4 hours—which gave me some opportunity to follow the games in the other tournament!

It was particularly exciting for me to travel to Edinburgh for the event, and to play alongside such talented international players.  I first started playing chess in year 2, when I was enticed to attend a session of my school’s chess club by a friend—and I have never looked back. 

I was very pleased to win the Challengers event in Edinburgh, with 7.5 out of 9 points (games), after a number of very tense games—particularly the very last—when I secured a draw to win the tournament!

Chess is a highly cerebral game, requiring preparation and hard work, but also patience, stamina and psychology.  I enjoy working my way through openings and variations, getting to know these in detail, and researching opponents to prepare for games.  I have been very lucky to have been supported by Mr D’Costa in my chess over the years (all the way from year 2), and lucky with many other women players that he has given us so many opportunities, through SPTW, to challenge ourselves and improve our chess.”

She Plays To Win (SPTW) is a non-profit organisation whose aim is to encourage more girls to learn, play and benefit from chess. SPTW is run by the current England International Women’s Chess Coach Lorin D’Costa who has successfully been coaching girls’ chess nationally and internationally for over 11 years in addition to teaching students at NLCS. We look forward to watching the development of our students in this exciting game.