Alabama Girls State Chess Tournament


Joshua Lin, Writer

Bob Jones dominated the Alabama All Girls State Chess Tournament, taking top individual and team honors. A remarkable 52 girls competed at Liberty Middle School on February 22, setting a state record. In the tournament’s third year, the strength of girls’ chess in Alabama was on full display. Bob Jones’s 9th grader, Constance Wang, went undefeated to win 1st place in the championship section. She will be representing Alabama at the Ruth Haring National Girls Tournament of Champions this summer. Bob Jones players Kennedy Gore (4th place), Puja Chopade (5th place), Neha Chopade, Maanasi Limaye, along with Constance won 1st place team in the championship section to bring home Bob Jones’ first State Championship.

“The Madison City Chess League has taken a real initiative to encourage girls to play chess. MCCL provides scholarships for girls to go to summer chess camps and award top females at tournaments,” said Constance. Bob Jones is known across the nation for its chess prowess among many other activities, and it has been the leading force behind girls’ chess in Alabama. In 2018, the Bob Jones Chess Club initiated and hosted the first All Girls State Chess Tournament as its club service project. Members of the club coach at the annual tournament, developing the skills of the elementary and middle school girls who will eventually join the Bob Jones team.  

The majority of chess players are male, with only 12% of the chess players nationwide being female. Madison City has made tremendous strides in promoting girls’ chess, and the All Girls State Tournament serves as a potent representation of its efforts.

“Recognizing the disparity in the number of girls playing chess, the Madison City Chess League started the Girls Chess Initiative to support girls and increase their participation. MCCL does this by adding a “top female” award for every local tournament, sponsoring a girls scholarship to send girls to Mid-South Summer Chess Camp, hosting girls chess club events, and seeking funding to pay travel expenses for girls to compete at tournaments like the upcoming All Girls Nationals in April,” said Mrs. Bartlett, President of the Madison City Board of Education.

It only makes sense that the title is brought back to Bob Jones, a trailblazer in girls’ chess and the school where the All Girls State Chess Tournament began.