Brooklyn Teenager on Track to Become First African-American Female Chess Master


In the whole damn world, people. THE WHOLE GODDAMNED WORLD.

Brooklyn’s Rochelle Ballantyne, 17, is poised to become the first African-American female chess master in the world. So, so awesome. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly love this genius girl anymore, I find out that her chess-playing prowess and inspiration comes from her grandmother. My heart.

She says:

When I first started playing, she introduced to me the idea of being the first African-American female chess master. I didn’t think about it much because for me it seemed like an impossible feat, and I didn’t think it could happen. I wasn’t as focused and dedicated as I am now. I didn’t think I was a good chess player-people told me I was, but it wasn’t my mentality at that moment. But then after she died, that really affected me, because she was the one person that always had confidence in me. She never pushed me, and she always respected me for who I was. I have to reach that goal for her.

Let’s just blame Sandy for spilling all this water on our faces, okay? (I’m in California) (Shut up)

As chronicled in the documentary Brooklyn Castle, the chess program at her former middle school is under threat because of budget cuts. “It’s so sad that you can take out money from schools because education is what allows you to succeed in life,” Ballantyne said. If we can’t pull together to save a program that produces adorable geniuses then what fucking good are we as people? I’m gonna have to go with: NO FUCKING GOOD.

In November, she travels to Slovenia for the 2012 World Youth Chess Championships. Let’s all send her off with a series of chess related pawns, er puns. Rochelle, you don’t have many knights left before you become the queen of my board. I don’t know, that wasn’t very good, perhaps you have better?

Rochelle Ballantyne Conquering The World Of Chess [Clutch Magazine]

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