Girls and young women played a female chess champion in a rapid ‘simul’ tournament held this summer

Girls and young women from across England played 2004 Global Chess Champion Antoaneta Stefanova in a rapid ‘simul’ tournament earlier this summer – the first time since 1979 that a chess champion has visited the UK to play this style of match.

Play lasted for over four hours and Stefanova beat 28 out of 29 players, drawing with Emily, 14, from St Albans. The tournament was organised by charity She Plays to Win, which provides free training, support and encouragement to get girls into chess.  

A Girls' Gambit
Young talent had the opportunity to take on a champ at She Plays to Win’s tournament

Antoaneta Stefanova is a Bulgarian chess grandmaster and was Women’s World Champion from 2004-06. Following the simul, Stefanova said: “It was great to be here, and a rare opportunity to play with each of these talented young women and girls. I loved every moment of it, and it’s great to see the support given specifically to girls”.

“Chess brings so many benefits to those who play, from strategy and planning, to social skills and finding your lifelong friends. Not enough girls have that opportunity compared to boys, and She Plays to Win aims to right that balance,” said its founder Lorin D’Costa, who organised the event.

She plays to win

Further reading: The King’s School Canterbury’s star author Annabel Steadman